Leslie McQuade Griffin
Core magick represents the intersection between science and spirituality. Core Magick removes the cultural assumptions, constraints and expectations from magical practices and puts their methods in plain language, so that it may be grasped easily, understood accurately and practiced effortlessly.
I have written these lessons in as simple a way as I possibly can. The primary reason is because I am reaching out to people who may be considering Magick for the first time and especially to young people who may for the first time be seeing alternative ideas which are significantly different from the way in which they were raised.
Part of the purpose of meditation is to train yourself to fully relax into your natural center. In this way, you have a consistent point from which to more accurately judge the effects of the various exercises, experiments and practices that will be introduced in these lessons. It is also important to understand the cumulative nature of many of the lessons. Much like the electronic dance music so popular today, layers of practices performed simultaneously have a cumulative effect that is usually greater than if the practices were performed separately or in sequence.
I start with meditation because it is through meditation that a person comes to center. Not just mental center, but also physical, emotional and energetic center. I tend to think of this as “tareing the scale of the body”. During my time in a testing laboratory, I spent a great amount of time measuring powdered coal. The amounts I used for the tests were so small, even a random bit of dust or writing on the measuring dish would change the results. In order for me to make accurate measurements, it was necessary to “tare”, or re-set the scale to zero before every measurement.
Press the TARE button to re-set the balance to zero before each measurement.
During my training as an anthropologist, I was taught that I AM the instrument, and that through data collection (note-taking) and paradigm assessment/comparison (journaling), I would create a record that could be used as scientific data by me and those who would follow. In anthropology, we “tare” by knowing who we are, warts and all. Many anthropologists, like the late, great Bronislaw Malinowski, show the depth of this through the two journals all anthropologists keep. One is for DATA and the other is for SELF. Anthropologists too, have cultural baggage that is so deeply ingrained, only careful and fearless internal examination can drag it out into the light. I’ll talk more about this in just a moment.
Core Magick also deals with knowing who you are, and tareing your instrument before beginning the experiment. Meditation is how you tare your spiritual self. The physical exercise prior is to make your body tired enough to want to sit still for a while. In the silence of a still mind, a still body, and an emotionally still heart, you find your personal the TARE button.
Once you have found your personal equilibrium point, you can begin experiments. Having the body, mind, emotions and spirit all balanced, EVERY TIME before you start the experiment, you will quickly be able to ascertain what is working and what is not. For women, this is even more important because of the reproductive cleansing cycle hardwired into our Meatsuits.
After one month of consistent practice on meditation, on bringing yourself to tare, you are ready to begin some other experiments. The next series of experiments will deal with collecting energy.
This particular method was taught to me to teach my students my Kundalini Yoga teacher, Guru Paranjothiar. He is a truly amazing human being. His gentle teachings and profound insights continue to bring peace and tranquility in my life.
Jagathguru Guru Mahan Paranjothiar
Before you begin, there is some preparation you might want to consider. First, the following work should be done when it is bright and sunny outside. You will also need a candle, a way to light it and your journal. Prior to discussing and using phosphenes, I want to take a moment to talk a little bit more about cultural baggage. If we were in a face-to-face classroom right now, I would do this demonstration for you. This demonstration is to help you see your paradigm of the physical world, so that you may move beyond into a new paradigm.
Demonstration: “Seeing the Invisible”
Find a window in your house that gets lots of sunshine, and from which you can easily and comfortably see the sky, or simply go outside.
Light a candle of any color and position it so that you can see the flame against the bright blue of the sky. What do you see? Concentrate on the space above the candle flame.
You should be able to see the Heat Shimmer, distorting the air and giving off infra-red light in the form of heat. In this way, you can see what is usually invisible to the human eye, but easily tangible to the skin.
Look for the place where the Heat Shimmer diffuses and becomes nearly indistinguishable. Put your hand there. How hot does it feel? Move your hand down. Can you see the Heat Shimmer washing out and moving around your palm? Move the Heat Shimmer around. You will find it behaves in much the same way as smoke. In fact, it is this heat that gives the tiny incinerated particles that make up smoke their movement.
Visible light waves vs. Infrared waves
Whether it is to send prayers to heaven, activate spells, or give devotional gifts to Deities and ancestors, most of the world’s cultures use smoke and fire. Having seen Heat Shimmer coming off the fire on your candle, or if that was not possible, seeing if come off the fire in this photograph, clearly demonstrates the way in which fire “releases” the spirit of that which is burning. The spirit in this case is the energy produced (heat and light) when matter moves from a solid state to an energetic one.
Humans are in many ways incredibly myopic. I mean this both literally and figuratively. Take for example, our visible spectrum. Compared with game animals like deer and elk, our range of perception is clearly different. The ability of deer to see in the ultraviolet range is the reason why my dad insisted we not wash our hunting camouflage. The phosphates and phosphate analogs used in laundry detergent leave residues that glow white in the ultraviolet range. He explained that we look like we are wearing white suits under a black light.
My father, like all other good hunters, was very aware of the differences between the sensory capabilities of his prey versus his own. Weeks before we were to go hunting, we began a special diet to make us smell less human, and an exercise program targeting squeaky or crunchy joints. We abstained from meat, coffee, potatoes, onions and garlic. Four days before, we began washing with only water and Scotch-Brite pads to keep our skin from glowing or smelling like perfumes. And we would leave all our clothes outside doused with doe sent to allow them to loose whatever human smells might be left. We used banana scented gun oil to hide the smell of metal and gunpowder. And EVERYTHING was covered in camouflage.
Leslie McQuade Griffin in the Field
Take as another example, the visual capabilities of insects. If we had the same visual acuity as the humble honey-bee, think of the many ways in which human culture (i.e. advertising, entertainment) and science (i.e. telescopes, computer monitors) might be different if we saw more on the purple end of the color spectrum than the red one. I make this point to emphasize the importance we as humans place on visual data.
There is an interesting story told in “What the Bleep do we know anyway” that, although it is probably a folktale, serves to illustrate a point (like most folktales). The story goes something like
”One-day, an Incan shaman was standing on the beach, as he did every morning, looking out past the waves to the horizon. He noticed that the waves were moving strangely. He looked at the waves by his feet, and saw that they too were not behaving as usual. He slowly looked out again towards the horizon, looking for the cause of the strange waves. And then, on the horizon, they appeared; ships of the conquistadors. Recognizing the importance of this, he went back to the city to get the chief and his other aids to look at this strange phenomenon. Of course, word quickly spread, and soon everyone was on the beach, looking at the strange waves, but they could not see the ships. It wasn’t until the shaman described what the ships looked like that people could see them, and then it was as they appeared out of nowhere. Once the people knew what they were looking for, they were able to see it”.
The almost sacred importance we place on personal visual experience is one of the most difficult of the inherent biases of the human sensory condition.
|Look at this block of text – Do you understand?|
The answer is at the end of this post.
If you do, it is only because someone, through written text or vocal instructions, taught you how to see it. Phosphenes are exactly the same. Once you see them, you see them, but if you can’t, it is difficult to find a trigger to help jolt you into the new way of seeing. Please be aware that sometimes, like the Inca discovered on that beach long ago, you must believe it to see it.
Now the western model of science we are taught as children would have a tough time explaining this. Science says (in essence) if it cannot be seen, it does not exist. And that if you only see it when you believe in it or know what you are looking for, it similarly does not exist. And yet, on a daily basis, we are asked to believe in things we cannot see (atoms, photons, bacteria, viruses, etc.) simply by the fact that others who “know” have seen these things. Why then do we use such a different yardstick to measure those things science consistently labels magick? Why do we not, as we do in science, simply believe the reports of the experts? THIS is the cultural bias I endeavor to show you. Let us move forward with the demonstration and discussion of phosphenes, and unlearn some things our culture taught us.
Practice: Seeing Phosphenes
Repeat the steps for Meditation i.e. exercise, sit down, concentrate on your breathing, lift off, get into space.
Now that you are in space, maintain this clarity, get up and walk outside into the sunshine. Look up into the sky, and what do you see? Give yourself some time to really look into the sky. Allow your focus to relax and shift.
Some people find it helpful to relax the focus of your eyes, like when you look for the three dimensional image hidden in “magic eye” artwork. When I do this, I see a number of things. I see the parasitic worms I picked up by swimming in a river in Kazakhstan (perfectly harmless and, in Kazakhstan, a rite of passage), I see the occasional bit of fuzz on my contacts, but most importantly, I see something that as a child I simply called “glitter”.
The “glitter” is bright, pops in and out of view, and moves quickly in short distances. Science explains these as phosphenes. They are, according to science, a bio-constant hallucination caused by various external factors acting on the optic nerve. In fact, this glitter is none other than Prana, Mojo, Ju-Ju, Mana, Chi, LVX, “the Force”, or Yods. This is the external energy that floats all around us, and it is through collecting this and projecting this that some types of magicks are done.
Once you see these phosphenes, I want you to take a couple of quick, deep breaths, and then hold your breath. They for most people, they become brighter, and as you hold your breath longer, they get brighter still, and usually more numerous. Breathe normally for a moment.
Phosphenes are exactly the sort of thing my family told me to ignore when I discovered it as a child. I was deeply curious and precocious, and peppered my exhausted relations with my insatiable curiosity. To questions like these, I got a pat answer: “It’s not real; it’s just your imagination playing tricks on you. Just ignore it. You will grow out of it”.
I wish the caption said, “See the white dots? They’re the one’s I’m talking about!”
I refused to accept this answer. I had asked all my friends, and we could all see it. We decided it was just because they were old and couldn’t see as well as we could. In fact, at the time (I was only 3 or 4), I didn’t know a single adult that did not wear glasses of some kind.
So many times, when talking to spiritual leaders and teachers around the world, I have heard that deeply mystical experiences occur spontaneously in children. Depending on the culture, the reactions of family are different. In the case of my guru, when his out of body experience occurred, he happened to be in a culture equipped to make the most of it and train him appropriately. Not all children are so fortunate, and many of us spend the rest of our lives coming to terms with, and learning how to induce, these altered states of consciousness.
Magickal deprogramming starts with language acquisition, and as such it is extremely difficult to overcome. This is why it is necessary to, in Core Magick, strip away these cultural blinders. Like a hobbled horse, once the hobble is removed, the freedom is intoxicating. The joy of the realization of your co-Creator status with Deity can be the most deeply moving experience in a person’s life.
After decades of research into the subject, the physical reality of phosphenes is incontestable. It has also been substantiated that regular meditation can sensitize a person to this phenomenon. The following link to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphene, although not admissible as true scientific data, is important to me as an anthropologist because it represents the current state of knowledge available to the general public. For those interested in a little more detail, a good, general history of the study of phosphenes can be found at the beginning of this interesting article, as well as a more complicated discussion on Chinese usage of the phosphene phenomenon; http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/phosphenes.innerlight.pdf For those who are seeking a deeper understanding, might I recommend perusing something from the Suggested Reading List found at the end of this post.
Anthropologists who specialize in the study of archaeological and tribal art have discussed the importance of phosphenes in various motifs throughout space and time. Because phosphenes are a cross-cultural constant (i.e. something that is found amongst most every human society, like mother-in-law jokes and table manners), and phosphenes can be triggered by mechanical pressure on the eyes, deep trance states and/or the ingestion of entheogenic plants, they can also give anthropologists clues, through the artwork that looks like phosphenes, to the cognitive states of those who produced the art. Here is a chart that compares some known phosphenes with rock art found in s few different locations throughout the world.
Practice: See the Swarming Phosphenes
We are going to repeat the same experiment, i.e. Tare your instrument (once you know how Tare feels, you will be able to achieve it faster and faster, then meditation will take on a different role in your practice), look up into the sky, and look at the phosphenes. This time however, I want you to hold up your hands, palm facing palm, about 8 to 10 inches apart, at eye level, while looking up into the clear blue sky. What do you notice? Again, take a couple of quick, deep breaths and then hold your breath. What do you see now?
The first time you see the phosphenes swarming more thickly around your hands than anywhere else might be a little startling to you. It was to me. If this is “merely” a hallucination, why do they cluster around your hands? Science has shown that as bio-electric organisms, there is a measureable energy field that surrounds us. These bits of Yod, or Chi, or Prana, or Mana (in the Hawaiian system) or Juju are naturally attracted to our energy field. Now that you see them, and know they exist and can be collected, it will be easier for you to collect and condense these. Cultures that have taken the time to learn to collect and move the phosphenes describe different methods of collection and projection.
When I collect phosphenes, I make sure I see them first. Then, I open my glabella, and I consciously slide that feeling up my forehead, past my hairline and to the spot that on babies is called the fontanelle. There is a reason why the fontinelle remains an important location on the skull after the sutures close. This spot is a major energy point, also known as the crown chakra. This is an energetic porthole. When it is open, and energy is moving through it, you can easily collect energy through it. In Reiki, they speak of a glittering waterfall pouring out of the heavens, through the top of your head, down through your hands and into the patient.
Experiment: Soaking up the Phosphenes
Using the bright blue sky as a backdrop and your hands up in front of your face, concentrate on your breathing and on how your skin breathes. Your lungs are like a billow for a furnace. As you draw air in through your nose and mouth, through the top of your head and through every pore of your skin, you are also pulling phosphenes into yourself. You are soaking up the phosphenes as if they were water and you were a dry sponge. Watch carefully, and you will be able to see the glitter/phosphenes entering your body through your skin. I find it easier if I consciously soak up when I inhale. As I exhale, I consciously hold all the phosphenes/glitter in, and let only the used, empty air escape. This technique is much the same in Kundalini Yoga, Core Shamanism, Voodoo/Hoodoo, Shaking (a type of Appalachian Faith Healing I learned from my Mammaw Musick), Reiki and Hawaiian (Huna) Shamanism.
Don’t shield yourself from it – SOAK IT UP!
How does this energy make you feel? What types of changes do you notice in your physical body? In your emotional body? Your mental body? Even though I no longer need to breathe particularly hard or deep, I nearly always experience a slight dizziness or lightheadedness as the energy settles in.
Experiment: Moving the Phosphenes
With your hands up in front of your face like you are reaching out to grab someone’s head, exhale, and push the collected energy out of your body, through the inner surface of your hands, and collect it into a ball. You can watch yourself do this, if you use the backdrop of the sky, and relax your eyes a little. Those with experience in these things will probably also see the Heat Shimmer we mentioned earlier, along with the phosphenes, which is ideal.
Once you can form a ball, get it to hold together with only one hand, and then with none, just hovering in mid-air. Now, you should play with this ball of phosphenes. Try eating it. See what happens if you put it on your cat. Give it to one of your houseplants, or put it in food to see how others react. This is raw energy, with no spells or ideational attachments. This is the clay of Core Magick, and now that you can see it, and have manipulated it a little, test it out. Work on this for a lunar cycle. In the next lesson, I’ll explain a little more about what you can do with this raw energy.
This takes practice. These Phospheres, glitter-balls, Chi-balls or whatever other name you choose to give them, are a natural outgrowth of your improved knowledge of the capabilities of your Meatsuit/body. It’s just like you take driving lessons to learn to drive a racecar, except you are learning how to really use this Meatsuit/body you drive.
I recommend you repeat this experiment as often as possible for a lunar month. This exercise is like the other one. The more times you repeat it, the more consistent your results will be. Be sure to write the results of each experiment. Try fasting on just water before you do this work, then try eating a full meal. Record the differences in your experiment. Everything you eat, drink, smoke, feel, do … these are all factors that will change your results. Your body is everything you need for working Core Magick, you simply need to know how to squeeze the most from it. Your body is everything you need for these experiments. Remember, you ARE the instrument.
1. Derek Hodgson (2006). Altered States of Consciousness and Palaeoart: an Alternative Neurovisual Explanation. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 16 , pp 27-37 doi:10.1017/S0959774306000023 http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=390792
2. Suzanne Carr (1995) Chapter 2: A Cognitive Archaeological Framework in Entopic Phenomena http://www.oubliette.org.uk/Two.html
3. A. Szostek, Entopic Imagery and Altered States of Consciousness, October 6, 2011 http://entheology.com/research/entoptic-imagery-and-altered-states-of-consciousness/
4. Otto-Joachim Grusser & Michael Hagner. (1990) On the history of deformation phosphenes and the idea of internal light generated in the eye for the purpose of vision. Documenta Ophthalmologica 74: 57-84. Kluwer Academic Publishers, the Netherlands. http://www.wiss.ethz.ch/uploads/tx_jhpublications/On_the_History_of_deformation_phosphenes.pdf
5. Rudolph Phister. Phosphenes and inner light experiences in medieval Chinese psychophysical techniques – a preliminary Sondage. (no date) http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/phosphenes.innerlight.pdf
6. Thomas Blackburn. Biopsychological aspects of Chumash Rock Art The Journal of California Anthropology (1977) http://escholarship.org/uc/item/7bv6d1mf#page-3
(ANSWER: I don’t like what it says, but the image was so perfect for the discussion I decided to use it anyway. I do not intend to be offensive, and I apologize if anyone was in fact offended.)