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Being an experienced practitioner is more than knowing rituals or having attunements and certifications. It’s about having a mind that’s in good shape for energy / magick / this-practice-has-many-names.
That energetic fitness is called inner work. It’s a combination of mental skills like focus and visualization, and energetic skills like engaging the energy-driving parts of the mind. In most people, those energy-driving parts are dormant, and they must be awakened before a person can achieve success in their practice. This happens naturally through practice, a little at a time, and after years of steady practice one may have many fully-awake energetic muscles.
(Outer work is the rituals, certifications, etc.)
This post is about speeding that process up. It covers techniques for awakening those energy-driving parts of the mind, not by using them, but by finding and energizing them directly. It also includes a technique for engaging them to your will. These techniques will help you achieve greater energetic fitness more quickly.
I’m teaching this material at the OTO temple in Oakland, CA on Tuesday Nov 1. If you can attend, please RSVP on Facebook. If not, I’ll post the video of the class when it’s up in a few weeks.
Note: These techniques are equally applicable whether you call your practice “magick,” “energy healing,” or something else. Because the OTO calls it “magick,” I’ll mostly use that term throughout this post.
Physical posture is about engaging the body’s muscles, so one’s body is in a good position for the task at hand. Mental posture is about engaging the mind’s muscles. For magick, we want to engage the parts of the mind that drive magick.
Think about doing your practice (ritual, visualizing energy, etc). You know that mental shift that happens when you feel the energy or forces you’re using? That’s the mental posture. Most practitioners can engage their mental posture with time (in a long ritual or other session), and experienced practitioners can engage their mental posture quickly. And by teaching mental posture as an explicit technique, we can help everyone learn to engage it quickly, at will, so even short sessions can be effective.
To learn mental posture:
- Do your usual practice, such as a ritual or energy work. Do a full session, until you feel the energy or forces you’re using. That’s how you’ll know you’re in the mental posture for magick.
- Notice how your mind feels. That’s your mental posture for magick. If you like visualizations, associate a visualization with this mental posture.
- End the ritual and enter a silent meditation. Maintain the mental posture for magick.
- Practice those steps until it’s comfortable. Once it is, add this one: Do a mental ritual (visualize the ritual), while maintaining the mental posture. (Or do whatever other practice you do.) If done correctly, you should feel the energy and forces immediately, because your mind is already engaged.
- Once you can sustain your mental posture easily, try engaging it just through silent meditation, without doing your normal ritual or other practice. This may be slow at first, but with practice it will become fast, and you’ll be able to quickly drop into a mental state for doing magick.
For more on mental posture, see these posts.
It’s clunky to talk about the “magick-driving parts of the mind.” We need a term, and the term I use is ethereal muscles.
Think about it this way: The difference between a daydream and a magick visualization lies in engaging your ethereal muscles, like the difference between imagining walking vs moving across the room lies in engaging your leg muscles.
Everyone has ethereal muscles. If a person doesn’t use magick or energy, their ethereal muscles are usually dormant and atrophied.
Like the rest of the mind, ethereal muscles seem to be special-purpose. Some are used for communicating with spirits and other forces, others are used for creating connections and shielding, and others for altering energy signatures like in energy healing. There are even ethereal muscles devoted to awakening other ethereal muscles.
The rest of this post focuses on awakening ethereal muscles.
We can awaken our ethereal muscles through practice. In most people who practice magick or use energy, some ethereal muscles are fully awake (the ones they use often), some are partially awake (the ones they use rarely), and others are fully asleep.
Awakening one’s ethereal muscles makes everything a little easier. When I was trying to get better at sensing ethereal structures, I awakened more ethereal muscles related to that, and I improved at that skill much more quickly than I had been through practice alone.
Realize there’s no ethereal muscle for throwing fireballs, or teleporting, or other movie special effects. Awakening ethereal muscles doesn’t instantly make one an experienced practitioner.
Awakening ethereal muscles makes everything a little easier, so you can progress more quickly. But you still need to practice.
(Awakening enough ethereal muscles also seems to open up new avenues for exploring magick. More on that later.)
Awakening New Ethereal Muscles
Different magickal practices use different parts of the mind. (So Golden Dawn rituals will use a different set of ethereal muscles than, say, energy healing.) When one learns a new practice, new ethereal muscles will awaken. This is especially true for learning one’s first practice, when all the general-purpose ethereal muscles must also awaken.
Simply practicing will awaken those ethereal muscles, but with the right techniques, we can accelerate the process. Here’s the first technique for awakening ethereal muscles more quickly:
- Find and connect to the ethereal muscles that are awakening. (Details below.)
- Build energy in your body and send it to those ethereal muscles. Not just into your head or brain, but into those ethereal muscles.
- When you build that energy, think about the energy signature of the ethereal muscles that are awakening, and try to match that signature.
- Hold the energy in your ethereal muscles for a few minutes, then exercise the muscles by doing your magickal or energetic practice.
Remember to release the energy after you’re done (ground).
Options for finding your ethereal muscles:
- As with mental posture, do your practice and notice how your mind feels. In particular, pay attention for the parts that get tired or won’t quite engage. Those are the new ethereal muscles. Learn them by feel, or create a visualization if you like.
- When I first found my ethereal muscles, I’d already learned to use sensory connections to feel and follow other ethereal structures. Here’s how I did that: I made a connection to a person or something, it’s not important where. Then I made another connection to that first connection, so I could feel it and follow where it goes. I followed it back to myself, into my mind, and found the ethereal structures that created it. Those were my ethereal muscles. I explored them for a while, and after I would practice, I could see that some were stressed, tired, under-powered, or otherwise odd.
The second method seems more reliable, but it requires sensory connections. So I offer the first method for anyone who doesn’t know sensory connections yet.
Note: When I did this in the early 2000s, I used a slightly different approach. I would practice, fatigue my ethereal muscles, then find the tired ones and bathe them in energy. But I think it will work better to bathe them in energy first, and then practice. Try both and see what works for you (and tell us in the comments).
Powering New Ethereal Muscles
As I awakened more ethereal muscles, all of my ethereal muscles became sluggish, difficult to engage and focus. I forget how long it took me to realize the problem, but they were under-powered. This is the first technique for increasing the power to one’s ethereal muscles.
(This is an intermediate techniques, and requires one to be able to sense connections and other ethereal structures.)
First, find the pathways that carry that power: Connect to one of your ethereal muscles, find the connections leading away from it, see where they go. You should find three sets of connections:
- Connections to your brain’s energy layer. Recognize these by their signature, which transitions to the signature of the brain’s energy layer.
- Connections to other ethereal muscles. These will keep the same signature, more or less.
- Connections that provide power to the ethereal muscle. These will be the same signature, but a smaller scale. (Details on signature scale.)
We’re after the third set. I call them core paths, and they provide power to our ethereal muscles. I imagine them going up from the ethereal muscles, though it’s probably more accurate to imagine them inside the muscles.
They’re laid out somewhat like the circulatory system: Near ethereal muscles, there are a great number of small capillaries carrying power to each piece of the ethereal muscles. As we go up (away from the ethereal muscles), those capillaries join into larger and larger vessels. If we turn around and go back down, those larger vessels split into many capillaries, supplying many ethereal muscles.
The core paths near your ethereal muscles will likely be under-powered. That’s OK. Follow them up, and eventually you’ll find vessels that are fully powered. Draw that power along your under-powered core paths, energizing and opening them up.
When I did this, I would be exhausted and hungry afterward, especially for protein. Be aware of this, and do it at a time when you can eat and rest.
As one goes farther into core paths, the signature of the paths gets smaller and smaller scale. When I was doing this work, I also spent a lot of time working to accurately sense smaller and smaller scale signatures.
The Four Ethereal Muscles
Until now, we’ve been practicing new techniques, seeing what ethereal muscles started to awaken, and helping them along. But we’re about to reverse that order: We’re going to explore core paths, find new ethereal muscles, awaken them and then figure out what they do. But first: What do these ethereal muscles do?
I’ve found four sets of ethereal muscles:
Communication, devoted to sending thoughts to spirits and forces, and receiving their replies. Awakening more of these ethereal muscles tends to make communication faster and clearer, which helps with channeling energy, spirits, and anything else.
Access, devoted to creating connections and sensing ethereal structures. Awakening more of these ethereal muscles leads to more accurate sensory techniques involving smaller, more precise connections and signatures.
Effects, devoted to recognizing and manipulating energy signature. I use these for energy healing, shielding, and some steps in awakening dormant ethereal muscles. Awakening more of these ethereal muscles helps shift energy signatures more precisely.
Mental activation, devoted to awakening ethereal muscles. Awakening more of these helps with all the things we’re discussing in this class.
Each of those major muscles is made of dozens or hundreds of modules. I don’t know what each module does, I just know how to engage and direct the major muscle. (Kind of like how we’re not aware of individual muscle fibers of our legs as we walk.)
I expect that these four sets of ethereal muscles are common, but not 100% universal. I expect that some people lack one or more, and some people have other ethereal muscles I haven’t encountered yet.
Awakening Fully Dormant Ethereal Muscles
As I became more comfortable exploring my ethereal muscles and the core paths that power them, I began finding fully-dormant ethereal muscles, with no power or activity. They weren’t connected to the other parts of my mind, and I couldn’t engage them by intending to or visualizing really hard because they were fully dormant, and weren’t paying attention to my intent or visualization or other practice. But I’d already had great results from awakening other ethereal muscles, so I wanted to awaken these dormant ones too.
These techniques require solid skills in sensory connections. They’re more advanced than I typically teach or write about. But I want to sketch them out, to give you some ideas if you’re ready to explore them:
Remember that core paths combine as you go higher (away from ethereal muscles), and split as you go down (toward ethereal muscles). To find new ethereal muscles, follow the core paths as far up as you can, then follow them back down, looking for under-powered or fully-dormant pathways as you go. Open power to these pathways, and awaken those ethereal muscles. Note: Finding fully-dormant pathways requires more sensitive sensory connections.
After awakening new ethereal muscles, make sure to connect them to your thinking mind (my term for the ethereal structure that sits between the brain’s energy layer and the ethereal muscles, acting as an interface). The ethereal muscle will know where it wants to connect, but it’s important to deactivate that part of thinking mind while the ethereal muscle connects, or it won’t connect properly. (Reactivate it after.) Most of my issues at this step happened when I didn’t deactivate the area of thinking mind.
As I traced further into core, I found ethereal structures that limited the amount of the power flowing through those core paths. I call them throttles. They are important for ensuring your ethereal muscles receive power in the right signature — do not open them fully, or you will get a massive headache and your ethereal muscles will become extremely difficult to use. But by carefully opening throttles, it’s possible to awaken new ethereal muscles en masse, opening up more capabilities and possibilities for exploring magick and energy.
Those techniques represents roughly a decade of work.
That work was iterative: I would awaken more ethereal muscles, which improved my ability to sense smaller signatures, which allowed me to go further into core, which allowed me to find and awaken more ethereal muscles, and so on in a spiral. It ended when I learned to open throttles, awakening all the ethereal muscles I could find.
Remember that awakening ethereal muscles doesn’t give you Hollywood-type magick. You won’t levitate or throw fireballs.
What you will find is that you’re more able to sense and manipulate ethereal structures, communicate with spirits more clearly, or do some other aspect of your practice more easily. And as more and more skills become easier, it’ll become possible to tackle projects that used to be too large, and you’ll be able to explore new aspects of magick and energy.
That’s the point of inner work.
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