I've been working feverishly on refining my personal system (based in and informed by the Golden Dawn, with tentacles wrapped about Hoodoo and Bardonian Magic, which are my roots), and in an effort to do so have taken to conducting some experimental Magic. Nothing that's going to blow any minds, just putting things in practice. I think there is a tendency among some magical writers to write about theoretical magic as if they'd put it into practice because the principals upon which their theory is based are sound. I say this because, more than a few times, my own experiences with magical work have come out somewhat different from what the Writer has written, often in subtle fashion but sometimes in a more pronounced way. I'm planning on being extremely thorough, because I'm writing for two very important reasons. One being that this is going to be the manual of instruction I use for my children, who are mostly quite young...but getting close to teaching age. A little bit here, a little bit there....I can't give the entire lot to a 7 year old, but I can start laying the groundwork. Their mother is already compiling a gorgeous and personal grimoire of her own practices that they can inherit(she is a Witch, and so has her own system of practice that is quite different from mine), so if I'm to have my mark I need to get the lead out, haha. I don't want them to have to stumble through, and make all of the same mistakes I did early on. Better they learn from their old dad's folly. So, accuracy and work that has been done is Key.
The second reason is that I want to have something to offer the Inner when it is time for my own raising into that College. It is such an honor, so meaningful to be included in that Fraternity of Adepts. I've been invited, but have a few important tasks that need to be completed before I can be initiated, which gives me time to prepare. I don't want to show up empty-handed. While it may be no huge thing, it'll be a lovingly crafted and complete system, a delightful magical curio. Art.
I think it's important for me to do now, as there is absolutely no risk of profanation. Once I enter into the Inner, I imagine the Magical practices I learn will permeate and weave into my personal system. That would mean no writing about details, no specific sharing. This way I can write about the Magical and Alchemical practices I have been blessed with to understand without any danger of profanation. A love-letter written to our community, before I move behind the veil of Hermetic silence.
I've read that a bit of important magical research is often required of applicants to the Inner. I am no researcher, but I am a Magician. So, I'll give them Magic. Which means I have to do a lot of testing and debugging, to use some dev-speak.
The rite that I use daily to gather Elemental Power uses a combination of techniques that are mostly, if not completely, portable. I use Bardonian pore-breathing and Mudra (which he calls 'rituals') in combination with Golden-dawn incantation and symbol-visualization to create a "Gate" of sorts to the Element's plane, and then use intent to focus on inhalation of the Element into my sphere or exhalation of the Element into a room or area. The ritual proper uses candles that are dressed with element-appropriate herbs that are filled with that element's virtue, and then charged using Golden-dawn techniques. I've done plenty of the inhalation, of course, because that was the whole point of the rite in the first place. I theorized about using it to impregnate a room, but hadn't actually gotten around to it until today on the train-ride in to work. The results were very interesting.
After creating the Gate (I use the Hebrew letter, tone, and Golden-Dawn color and flashing color as the Gate itself) to the Fiery elemental plane (conducting the incantation part mostly silently....yes, people were giving me the side-ways look) I began to inhale Fire into the Gate and exhale it into the train-car proper. I've done plenty of charging rooms and the like using strictly Bardonian technique in the past, and so wasn't unfamiliar with it. I was, however, unprepared for how quickly this worked and to what intensity. The room was, after about five Breaths, swimming in red and all a-tingle. My solar plexus and heart center where dancing in my chest, and I wondered at the time if I would have similar sensation in the appropriate centers when using the other Elements. I stopped for a moment to watch, feeling and witnessing some change take effect among the other passengers. People speaking a bit louder, a few new conversations struck...the place felt a bit like a coffee shop, instead of a train car. A goodly number of them (3 or 4, out of twenty or so) kept glancing in my direction, although that may have more to do with me being a large fellow mumbling to himself with contorted hands than the charging, haha.
Kidding. I stopped mumbling well before all the glances.
Then, to my surprise, what I assumed to be a Salamander formed out of the red haze. An entity with a man-ish shape, a red human core consumed in dancing flame. A fellow named "DH****". I am used to having to request that sort of appearance.... I suppose opening a gate to a plane is like throwing a block party, everyone from the neighborhood gets to make an appearance. He wandered about at first a bit manically, flitting here and there in the train car. Then he saw me, and sat across from me to speak. I strove to not look like a nut-job while speaking with the thing (in the mind, of course), but even if you don't talk aloud it's difficult to appear completely together when staring intently at what appears to be empty space. Good thing this was public transportation, and everyone assumed everyone else was crazy anyway.
The entity was beyond excited. A little too excited. It wanted to go about touching people, it was quite strange. We spoke for a moment about the train car, with it asking me if I would leave the "atmosphere" when I got off the train. He made an effort to make that happen, going so far as offering me his service if I would do so. What that service would be was unclear. It was obvious to me that he wanted to stick around, and that he required the charged environment to do so.
All around me people are fidgeting about and talking; this car has become full, while the second car remains quite.
I was still holding the Mudra, which seemed sufficient to keep the environment as it was. The Salamander-like figure (I was not entirely sure at this point, after it showed up without direct invitation and struck up a conversation that it was simply a Salamander) continued to plead for me to leave the environment as it was. It was articulate and subtle. I asked it why it wanted that, and it gave me a complicated answer involving image and word that pointed toward it wanting a foot of influence in the World. That it could project power by gently influencing the people it touched on the train-car. A little push here, a touch there.
......this wasn't sounding like a great idea. My personal Deity, with whom I have the strongest connection with, made a quick "appearance" (this was more like a mental text-message) to advice against that, with a little smirk on his face. He has a somewhat dry wit.
I asked the entity if he was a Salamander, and he gave me one of those complicated spirit-answers, that are simultaneously "yes/no/of sorts". He was an entity of the Fire realm, which made him a sort of Salamander, but he wasn't of the simpler ranks of Elementals. I thanked him for the visit, and then--much to his disappointment--performed the Mudra for dissipation of an elemental force. The red fire-haze cleared away in a couple of breaths.
It's worthwhile to have reminders that spiritual beings have their own lives and agendas, and aren't monolithic. One Salamander is not necessarily like another.
Took a couple of things away from this experience: one, (yay!) the rite works as expected. Hell, better than expected.
Two, that not every oddball you find on a train is of the human variety. Fitting that I have my strangest experience with an Elemental entity riding public transportation.