In today's post, Fr. A.I.T. brings up excellent arguments for including what he calls "energy work" in your daily practice. He makes a bold statement in the title that if your personal practice doesn't include "energy work," it's bullshit.
Since I can't comment on his post from the office, I've spent the day trying to hammer out a coherent post (in between all kinds of business responsibilities too numerous and damned boring to list) to address my issues with his statements. I'm not convinced I'm arguing with him as much as I'm arguing against my perception of what he's said, and none of this is personal or anything, I love me some AIT, yo. He's the man. I just have some shit to say about this topic.
Let's begin with a perusal of the practices we have handed down to us within the Hermetic Tradition. Take a good look at the Picatrix, or Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Practice. Examine the Greek Magical Papyri. Take some time and go through the Sefer ha Razim, or the Testament of Solomon. Wade through the dense symbolism of the alchemical texts. Check the Corpus Hermeticum. Read the grimoires from the Renaissance.
Do you see the detailed instructions on visualization techniques? Aren't the methods they provide to circulate the energies of the spheres through your own sphere fascinating? The key images they provide to incorporate into your body of light, and how to use it to travel through the spheres are so handy and useful, aren't they?
What's that you say? There's nothing there about "energy work"? No instructions, processes, methods, techniques, visualizations, or guidance in any way regarding anything about "energy work" whatsoever?
Why, you're right! There's not. Fancy that. It's almost as if it weren't even a part of the personal practice of the magicians for thousands of years, right? So their practices were apparently bullshit.
Well, no, not exactly. The whole "energy work" term is a recent addition to this thing we call magic. It's a different way of looking at what we're doing, so of course there's nothing clearly about energy work in the traditional sources. Because, get this... back in the day, it just wasn't necessary to mention it. These books focus on Rituals and Initiations as the keys to power because all that "energy work" stuff comes as a result of the rites of initiation. You can't even have the structure or the power to do any of the "energy work" without the initiations received through the rites. And if you've gotten the initiations, you'll find yourself doing the "energy work" and the meditations naturally as a result.
You know, I have several problems with what gets called "Energy Work" in the personal practices of magicians. My main issue with it is that it's mostly bullshit. 99% of the meditations, visualizations, or chakra activation/purification techniques out there are made up horse shit that exists mainly to beef up the word count of the manuscript, or to meet the publisher's requirements for the inclusion of practical exercises for the students. Or it just sounded neat to the guy writing it.
Ok, maybe not 99%, but a lot of it.
And what isn't bullshit is probably beyond your grade. By that I mean it's a specific practice native to a specific culture's belief systems with a specific intended outcome that applies to the folks in that particular path, the things that have been revealed to them in order to draw them closer to the One, the Source, God, the Monad, whatever you want to call it. They're practices designed to work with your beliefs and the general harmonies of your sphere. They came from a system, and apply primarily to that system. They prepare you for specific things that come later in the system, and they are predicated on the accomplishment of specific other practices that were supposed to come before.
For example, any "energy work" that involves chakras is lifted from spiritual practices that had a specific framework and intent behind it that you (most likely) don't have and can't hope to fully understand by reading books about it. Likewise, any "energy work" that involves building a Body of Light using techniques from the Golden Dawn are part of a specific initiatory process that shouldn't have been made public. If you're learning about it on the internet, it's a good bet that what you're learning is being passed on by someone who never received the initiations required to understand and use the practices being taught. If they were qualified to teach it, they'd be bound by oath not to.
I actually agree with AIT's exhortation to more devotional time to accomplish the Work. I just have a problem with the idea that you put "energy work" exercises first and foremost as the answer to whatever ails you. You've got to have context for the symbolism to be meaningful. You need guidance, structure, you know, a plan. AIT mentions creating the Solar Body and the Lunar Body, for example. Do you know WTF he's talking about? Probably not. It's not exactly common knowledge. He mentions it's a vehicle you jump into after death to become an Immortal. Is that an alchemical process, an interpretation of an alchemical process, or is it a specific Mystery of the Order he belongs to? Do you know? I don't. How do you build a Solar Body? Does this Solar Body he mentions require the consistent building of access points and nodes within your spiritual sphere using rituals like the LBRP or Middle Pillar rituals? I dunno.
And what the fuck is "energy work" anyway? I have these forces come out of my hands that bring relief to my spouse when she's in pain. I received them when I visited the Eighth Sphere and began learning the Hymns of Silence. They're released by tensing certain muscles, holding my hands in certain ways, while "hymning in silence," that is, holding a particular vibration in mind/body/spirit, or by holding a specific image in my mind's eye while moving my awareness through the inflamed tissues and nerves in my spouse's spine.
I'm pretty sure people who use the term would call that "energy work." I prefer to think of it as "magic."
I didn't learn that shit by meditating. I learned it by conjuring and getting initiated. I got that by Ritual and Initiation alone, brothers and sisters. They were the keys to the power. They opened the gates.
Understanding how to use it comes from practice, exercises done under the tutelage of my Supernatural Assistant, with requests for further explanation or initiation from the spheres of origin as needed. If that's what AIT means by meditation or energy work, then ok, I agree, you've got to get your ass in gear and do that shit to see any major progress in your Work. But honestly, for me at least, I didn't need any motivation to get my ass in gear. I had an appetite for that shit, a hunger to learn and integrate what I'd received in the heavens here on Earth. And it came from the rites and initiations. It didn't come from me trying to make myself want it, it came from tasting it and needing more.
And as I've gained initiations, I've found a pleroma of practices that could be called "Energy Work" listed clearly in the links provided above. As my subtle experiences have grown, I've gained the perspective that reveals what is hidden in plain sight in the Language of the Birds. It came naturally.
And it all began with Ritual and Initiation alone.