Shining Lakes Grove Magician's Guild Ritual Structure
© 1999 Rodney Cox
Herein, we shall learn the basic ritual structure of SLG's Magicians' Guild. The rituals discussed here are expressly concerned with the working of magick, rather than religious devotion. The purpose of magickal ritual is aimed at achieving a desired end, while theological rituals work to bring about a connection with Deities in a more general way. Thus the magickal rituals of this Guild will differ greatly from the devotional rituals of Shining Lakes Grove and ADF, respectively.
Described here is a ritual structure, a framework, not a strict word for word (for the most part) script set in stone. Much like creating a work of art, self expression is important in magick, for to be effective any ritual must have resonance on a personal level. However, as magick is both a science as well as an art, formal rules must be laid out to ensure that the practitioner is not wasting time nor energy. This ritual structure, while providing an ordered sequence of steps, allows for a great deal of individual tailoring.
Formal ritual is a great aid to the magician. It is a declarative statement that the mundane is being left behind for the time being. The magician knows to redirect his or her inner focus away from the everyday. This change of inner perspective is crucial to the working of magick. It helps the magician to tap into the required forces, powers and resources necessary to make magick work. Over time, with practice, the need for such formal statements becomes less, as the magician can shift back and forth from mundane to magickal with greater ease. But for now it is best to take the formal approach. As it is said, one must learn the rules before breaking them.
Magick is the art and science of raising and directing magickal energy to bring about the manifestation of a desired goal or event. The Magician's Guild ritual structure is broken up into three parts. The first is the opening, which prepares the magician and the space he or she is using for the working of magick. The second is the actual magickal working. This is the heart of the ritual. Lastly, there is the closing which safely brings the magician back to the mundane here and now. Each of these sections is further broken down into smaller steps. First the outline, then each item will be discussed in detail.
1. Macha's Fence
2. Opening the Gates of Power
Actual Magickal Working
1. Establishment of focus
2. Invoking of the God Form
3. Gathering of the energy
1. Shedding the God form and giving thanks
2. Closing the Gates
The opening is always an important part of any ritual. It prepares the magician and the space they are working in for the working of magick.
1. Macha's Fence
This is a technique developed based on the etymology of the name of the Goddess Macha, who is not only a war goddess, but a goddess of Sovereignty as well. The root of Her name means, field, plain, an enclosure for milking cows, pasturage for beasts, closed field, or corral. Thus the root of this goddess' name means a safe and nurturing enclosure. This is sacred space, the innangardhr, where peace and harmony dwell. The idea of sacred space or a circle is not a new idea and can be found throughout Ceremonial Magick as well as Wicca. By calling upon Macha, you can establish a sacred space or enclosure. First you would visualize a golden wall surrounding the working area. Start a one point, and pivot counter-clockwise forming the wall as you spin (More on the value of counter-clockwise later). When you are completely surrounded by the wall, next form a roof and then have the golden light travel below so that you and your working space is surrounded by a globe.
Then say the prayer as follows: "We call upon Macha, whose name is the closed field, the fence, the milking yard, the pasturage for beasts. We ask, Holy Macha that a sacred space be established here, by and in thy name. Let a magickal enclosure surround us as a corral encloses our cattle, insuring safety and succor, that we may work our magick free from harmful outside influence and the forces of destructive chaos. Macha... Macha... Macha."
The last three intoning of Her name should be vibrated so that the force of Her name fills not only yourself, but the entire working area as well. Vibrating a word or name is used to create resonance between it and you, much like how one tuning fork, when struck, can cause a second fork to resonate and make sound even though they are not touching. Macha's name should be vibrated to create resonance, and to gain access to Her authority. (part of associating one's self with a higher power). To vibrate, the name to be used is chanted, usually in a deeper voice than usual. One tries to produce more resonance in their voice. Imagine that the sound reverberates throughout the room and within oneself, that everything is affected by the sound.
Once the sacred space is created, it must be cleansed. First, visualize a brilliant white light above you, near the top of the enclosed area. Now see light stream out of this to completely fill your sacred space. Know that as the light fills your area, it cleanses everything, on all levels, and that no negative energies can remain. The energy should swirl in a counter-clockwise direciton.
When this idea of cleansing can be fully felt, say: "Peace up to heaven, heaven down to earth, earth beneath heaven, strength in each, a cup very full, full of honey; mead in abundance. Summer in winter, peace to all."
Now, you have a safe, working area. This enclosure also acts to contain magickal energy as it is raised so as to concentrate it in one spot.
2. Opening the Gates of Power
This is accomplished in much the same manner as Macha's Fence. But for this the God Manannan Mac Lir is called upon to aid the magician. The main sources of power will be The Two Powers and the energies of Land, Sea and Sky. The Two Powers represent Earth and Sky, Underworld and Upperworld. Land, Sea and Sky represent the three elements found in Celtic thought. Any altar used should be in the center of the working area and represent the Bilé, or the World Tree, which is the center of all things and touches all realms. As you open each gate, know that it will remain open and that its energies will be available during the entire ritual.
The prayer is: "We call upon Manannan Mac Lir, Keeper of the Gates. Aid us in opening the gates to the realms of power. Keep us safe from harmful influences and let the energies summoned be balanced and potent. Manannan... Manannan... Manannan."
As with Macha's fence, the last three intonations of Manannan's name are vibrated.
Then, face the altar, using your power hand, make a clockwise spiral motion, saying: "Let this gate be opened. This altar is the Bilé, the sacred Worldtree, the center about which all else revolves. Let this gate be opened." See that the altar is actually the Bilé, and feel its energy.
Next look up and raise your hands. Make a clockwise spiral towards the ceiling, while saying: "Let this gate be opened. Power of the Upperworld descends down to Middle. Let this gate be opened." See energy descending down to fill the ritual area.
Next look down and lower your hands. Make a clockwise spiral towards the floor, while saying: "Let this gate be opened. Power of the Underworld rises to Middle. Let this gate be opened." See energy rising up to fill the ritual area.
Next, move counter-clockwise to the stone representing the Land. With your power hand, make a clockwise spiral over it while saying: "Let this gate be opened. This is the Land upon which we stand. Let this gate be opened." See yourself standing on firm, stable land. Feel its power.
Next, continue to move counter-clockwise to the bowl or cauldron of water which represents the Sea. Make a spiral motion over it, clockwise, saying: "Let this gate be opened. This is the Sea that surrounds us. Let this gate be opened." See yourself in a great sea, feel its power.
Now move counter-clockwise to the incense representing the Sky. Light it and make a clockwise spiral over it saying: "Let this gate be opened. This is the Sky that stretches over us. Let this gate be opened. " See the great expanse of the sky surrounding you, and feel it's power.
The gates are now opened, and your energy sources are ready to be utilized in your magick. Alternatively, or additionally, you could have opened gates of the fire and well, as in ADF liturgy.
This concludes the Opening of the Ritual.
Actual Magickal Working
This is the reason for doing the ritual, and it is here that the actual magick will be worked in order to bring about a desired goal.
1. Establishment of Focus
This is the goal of the ritual, the thing you want to make happen. You can use a physical focus or merely have the goal fixed firmly in the mind. Intentions are very important in this type or work. Vague goals are rewarded with vague results. What you want is a very clear mental image because we will later be gathering energy to put into this goal in order for it to be made manifest.
Almost anything can be used, a stone, a feather, a piece of paper with the goal written out along with the name of the recipient. A container of liquid could be used, and then ingested, which would be ideal for any sort of healing, or personal transformation goal that is desired. In fact, this might be good for any other goals that would specifically affect a particular recipient. A new job, protection, or finding romance, for example, where the results would work through and target a specific person. Liquid would also be great for a group work where each person would take a sip, thus distributing the energy to all involved. If the focus is physical, you would carry it in your power hand during the gathering of energy, and completion phases of the ritual. The object would then be stored away in a safe place until the goal is realized. Or the magician would drink the charged liquid. If the focus is non- physical, then the magician would visualize a ball of energy in the palm of the power hand during the gathering of energy and completion phases. This ball of energy would then be placed inside the recipient, whether the magician or someone else.
2. Invoking of the God Form
This is the core of the ritual. By invoking a God Form you are taking on the role and identity of a Deity in order to gain authority and potency for your working. The Deity chosen for the magickal rite should reflect the intended goal, or have aspects sympathetic to the goal. For example, you would not invoke a god of healing if you want success in battle, or with gaining money. Nor would you invoke a god of war to gain healing. Research should be done in order to find the right God Form to assume. This research would include finding out as much about the particular Deity as possible; Their favorite things, exploits they have done, names They go by, animals, colors, or places They are associated with, etc.
Start by calling out to the Deity, such as: "I call out to (name of Deity) and invoke You within me. Let me be a vessel of Your might so that I may gain that which I desire. (Name of Deity), I invoke You."
Then, you would visualize the Deity in front of you in all Their glory, larger than life, and full of divine power and grace. Picture Them stepping up to you and merging with you, leaving only Them in your place. Feel this merging and that you are in fact this Deity. Know that the two of you are one.
Once you have a firm feeling of this, speak as the Deity, and make this declaration: "I am (name of Deity), known also by (give any other names for the Deity). I am the God/Goddess of (name Their sphere of influence). I am He/She that (name an exploit, or two). I am here, now, in this place, to bring about the manifestation of (name your focus or goal). Let it be so!"
Some words of note. Remember the idea here is to assume, or to pretend to assume, the identity of a Deity. During the rest of the Actual Magickal Working, you must maintain this role. Also, there are those who have a greater degree of mediumship than others. For them, there runs the risk of actual possession of the Deity, and a loss of control of the process. One does not want to reach this stage of identification with the Deity of choice, because you would no longer be in control of the operation. You want to retain enough of yourself to work towards the focus you have chosen rather than have that focus dictated by the Deity you have contacted. They may follow your ritual, or They may do something else entirely, something you may not desire. If you are the type that would lose control, you must find means to limit the contact with the Deity, so that you stay aware and in control of your actions.
3. Gathering of the Energy
This is another key element of this ritual structure. Now that you have assumed the identity of the specific Deity to be called upon, we gather energy together by this newly gained authority. Remember to act as if you were the Deity during this and the next part. This is done by the magician (as Deity) moving to each opened gate and bring energy from that realm, or source into the focus, with the command that the energy brought in will manifest the chosen goal. You would visualize and feel, as much as possible, the energy flowing from the gate into the focus, enlivening it. When appropriate, move on to the next gate. If more than one Deity's energy is desired, then the magician, acting as the main Deity of choice, would respectfully "invite" in the presence of these Deities. The god or goddess would then be visualized as standing within the working area, as completely as possible, along with a sense of majesty associated with Them. The magician would then politely ask Them to give energy towards the completion of the magickal goal. All energy brought into the focus, or ball of energy, will be seen to spin in a counter-clockwise direction. The reasons for this will be discussed later.
Now comes the sealing of the energies into the focus. This involves a final act of blessing and a transference of energy into the focus. This can be done rather easily using saliva or breath. Blood could also be used, but this method is not as easy to do.
The magician would touch a finger to his/her tongue and the touches the focus, as an act of command and sealing. The saliva would represent the active and divine part of the Deity which is transferred to the focus. The magician could also blow a breath over the focus, thus bestowing a "breath of life". Smearing blood on the focus would have the same effect, perhaps stronger, than using saliva. The magician, still acting as Deity, makes a final blessing over the focus, commanding that the goal come to pass for the recipient. Here a physical focus would be wrapped up to be put away (given to the recipient), any liquid would be drunk, or the ball of energy would be placed inside the recipient.
An example of this blessing would be: I, (name of Deity), bless this focus, that will concentrate and quicken the energies needed to make (name of recipient)'s goal a physical reality. Let (name of recipient)'s goal be made manifest quickly and without harm to any. I command that this be so!
Once the magickal work is complete, it is time to wrap up and close down the working area. Thus everything is returned to normal.
1. Shedding the God Form and Giving Thanks
When the magickal work is over, the magician will return to his or her normal consciousness and identity. This is very important, and should not be rushed through. Begin be seeing the form of the Deity overlaid with your own body. Then separate the two, seeing the form of the Deity move away from you until you are quite separate and distinct from each other. Be aware that you are you and that the Deity is who They are, and that you are no longer joined.
You might even make the statement, "I am (state your name)" out loud. Respectfully thank the Deity. "Thank you, (name of Deity) for allowing me to adopt your Form for this ritual." Allow the image of the Deity to fade.
2. Closing the Gates
This is another very important part of the closing the ritual. When you are finished with the gates, you need to close them down so that energies or entities do not inadvertently come through. You would again call upon the aid of Manannan MacLir to aid you in closing and sealing the magickal gates.
"We call upon you Manannan MacLir. We thank you for your aid in opening the Gates of Power and in safeguarding them during this ritual. We now ask for your aid in closing these gates now that the rite is at its end. Let them be closed and sealed, safely and completely. Manannan... Manannan... Manannan."
The last three intonations of Manannan's name are vibrated. You will now reverse the order you used when you opened the gates. You will also move clockwise between each gate.
Move clockwise to the incense representing the Sky. Make a counter-clockwise spiral over it saying: "Let this gate be closed. This is but a stick of incense. Let this gate be closed." See the great expanse of the sky withdraw away from you and feel the energy leave.
Next, continue to move clockwise to the bowl or cauldron of water which represents the Sea. Make a spiral motion over it, counter-clockwise, saying: "Let this gate be closed. This is but a bowl of water. Let this gate be closed." See and feel the power of the Sea retreat and disappear.
Next, move clockwise to the stone representing the Land. With your power hand, make a counter-clockwise spiral over it while saying: "Let this gate be closed. This is but a stone. Let this gate be closed." See and feel the power of the Land retreat.
Next look down and lower your hands. Make a counter-clockwise spiral towards the floor, while saying: "Let the Gate to the Underworld be closed and sealed." See energy descending down into the earth.
Next look up and raise your hands. Make a counter-clockwise spiral towards the ceiling, while saying: "Let this Gate to the Upperworld be closed and sealed." See energy rising up into the sky, out of your working area.
Then, face the altar, using your power hand, make a counter-clockwise spiral motion, saying: "Let this gate be closed. This is but a mundane altar. Let this gate be closed." See that the altar is just an altar again, and feel energy of the Bilé retreat.
The gates are now closed, and all magickal energy is safely put away. Take the time to thank Manannan MacLir for his aid in your ritual.
Finally give thanks to Macha for keeping the working area safe, and ask that it be cleansed once more of any outside influence. Picture again the brilliant light descending from above, cleansing the entire area, and all within it.
No ritual is complete without proper grounding to make sure you and any others involved are fully back to a mundane state of consciousness and awareness. There are many techniques and methods of grounding, so I won't go into any one specifically.
Now state firmly, "I declare that this rite is at an end."
This concludes the Shining Lakes Grove Magician's Guild Ritual Structure. Although the main cultural focus of this structure is Celtic, this outline can be adapted to different IE cultures as the magician sees fit. It is also consistant with the ADF liturgical standards. It is suitable for either solo or group work. I would like to thank Odin for its inspiration and development. Hail to the Allfather.
Notes on the Magickal Working
Clockwise and Counter-clockwise
It will be noted that directions used will be different from what is normally done in either Western Ceremonial Magick or Wicca. There are specific reasons, and they deal with the functions of each direction. Traditionally in Wicca or Ceremonial Magick, clockwise is seen as increasing, or concentrating, and counter-clockwise as decreasing, or dispersing. The Magician's Guild feels that this is in error. It is felt that the direction of counter-clockwise (widdershins) acts to condense and concentrate energy. Thus it would be appropriate to use in the establishment of magickal space, or to gather energy into a specific place. This is why when energy is gathered for the working it is seen to spin widdershins, in order to concentrate the energy in the focus. The more condensed the energy is, the easier it is for it to manifest. This direction is also used to close the gates of power, collapsing the energy of each gate to a closed position.
Clockwise is seen to disperse energy or to move it away from a central point. Thus this direction would be used open up fields of energy such as opening the gates of power, or to disperse built up energy. Thus when we close the gates, we move clockwise around the working area, because we are dispersing any energy that may have been built up to that point.
There are several references that were used to achieve this concept. They come from varied sources, which are not directly linked to each other. Because of this, it is felt that they validate one another, rather than be mere copies of a central, isolated idea, existing in a vacuum.
References include, but are not necessarily limited to:
A passage in Steve Richard's book Invisibility was key in first developing this idea. The other references support. It is stated: "After you have produced the cloud successfully, you will discover that it has a natural tendency to disperse to the four corners of your room. This is according to the laws of thermodynamics. and if you allow it to happen, eventually the energy in the cloud will become evenly distributed throughout the surrounding space. This dispersing action takes the form of a spin, and must be countered by another spin of opposite type if the cloud is to be of any use to you. "The dispersing spin takes place in a clockwise direction, and you must counter it by willing that the cloud spin in an anti-clockwise direction. Once it starts to do this, rather than becoming larger and thinner, it will become smaller and more dense. Therefore, you may need to alternate this step with step five, causing a anti-clockwise spin, then building up more energy into the cloud as it shrinks. "If you persist with this, you may build a cloud that is very dense indeed. This is one of the secrets of materialization, and I have been told of an AMORC Grand Master who has completely blotted out the light of a 150 watt bulb in private demonstrations using this method. The Frenchman A. Secour has compared this process with the formation of nebulae in outer space. Astronomers contend that galaxies, including our own, are formed in this way, with gigantic clouds spinning and condensing until they gradually form suns and planets."
Looking down from the North Pole, the earth would be seen to be spinning counter-clockwise. And from this same perspective, the planets would be seen spinning around the sun in the same direction. The same can be said for our galaxy as well.
Robert Barton from the Grove of the Sacred Crows related a ritual method of sealing a temple. The main idea was using a technique of sealing, or closing down the energy of a ritual work space so as to preserve the energy for use at a later date. Thus you could perform a ritual over an extended period of time without losing energy. This method utilized a counter-clockwise direction to close down the ritual space, and a clockwise direction to open it back up. This method can be adapted to this ritual structure, and will be discussed later.
In the Sacred Path Reiki tradition, there is a symbol which is used to open up and expand the aura of patients. It utilized a clockwise spiral to do this. The reverse of this symbol uses a counter-clockwise spiral to close down or condense the aura.
There is a passage in Isaac Bonewits' book Real Magic that talks about poltergeist activity and Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis, or RSPK. Isaac mention that in poltergeist activity where objects are moved, it was noticed that they followed a definite pattern. When charted, you can see that the objects starting closest to the subject and moving outward shared several characteristics. First, they all moved away from the subject, and secondly they moved primarily in a clockwise direction. This pattern was also recognized as a Vortex Field by a physicist.
This describes a formula for the conversion of energy from one form to another. It is from these references that the Magician's Guild uses to back up it's idea that clockwise disperses, and counter-clockwise condenses.
Sealing the Temple Method adapted for the Magician's Guild Ritual Structure
The process for sealing the ritual workspace can be very easily achieved. The operation would be done while still in the God Form. You would temporarily close the Gates of Power, using a counter-clockwise spiral, stating that they will close for the time being, and open at a later time. Also stated that the level of energy in the working area will remain. Then using a larger spiral, condense the entire ritual area, and will it to condense into a point. This will keep until you wish to expand it again at a later date using a clockwise spiral. If you wish to move the ritual to another location, you can collapse the ritual workspace into an object such as a crystal, or wand. When you arrive at your new location, expand the workspace out of the object. Once the work area is collapsed, you will want to drop the God Form and reestablish your own identity. Then when you are ready to continue, take on the God Form again, and open up the ritual space. Once this is done, remember to reopen the Gates. You are then free to resume with the ritual.
* Real Magic, Isaac Bonewits. Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1989.
* Invisibility, Steve Richards. Aquarian/Thorsons. 1982.
* Sealing Sacred Space, Rob Barton, in e-mail to ADF Magician's Guild, using screen name RobtBarton@aol.com, on Friday, July 23, 1999, at 11:41am.
* Sacred Path Reiki, Initiate Manual, Rodney Cox, 1999