Skip to main content

If your personal practice doesn't include energy work, it is bullshit.


Just a quick note for anyone who thinks ritual and initiation alone are the key to power. It is not. It's very easy in the Western work to fall into the trap of learning myriad arts--and spending the majority of your time doing so--and treating meditative energetic work as the second priority. It should be your first. It is more important than all of the GIRP's, GIRH's, sigil work, God-worship.....yes, even more important than you're work with your Gods. Without the energy work, we'll never be like them. Please consider reversing the order of importance if it is possible for you. Instead of an hour of practical work and ten minutes of middle pillar stuck in there somewhere, reverse it. Streamline your intent-based work, incorporate mudras and incantations that can do lengthy things for you faster. Spend as much time immersed in the Sea of Mind as possible.Quit making excuses and putting things off. Every moment spent outside of meditation is a moment wasted, if you wish to become one of the Immortals. Our St.Germain, our Nicholas Flamel--our Eastern brothers' Liao Tsiu and He Xiangu....invested decades of lifetime spent in deep daily practice to raise themselves. Not a paltry--and it is paltry!--hour a day, which is the best-case scenario for many of the modern Adepti. An hour a day would be a beautiful dream for me, I'm lucky to get a half-hour in. Which is bullshit. My own practice, in comparison to the greats, has paled in comparison.

This is fine. We all have different goals with our work, and if a slower rate of development is what works for us, than that's good.

It is only an issue if I wish to become an Immortal. I do. So, I need to make some life-changes. These changes mostly revolve around not being a lazy bastard.

If you are dreaming that you will attain the Stone with part-time practice, you will continue dreaming through your death and start again in the next life. Attaining the Stone is a lifestyle. You can work toward it, and gain many things of beauty, including refining yourself and the Metals within. But without accumulating the raw power of LVX within your bodies, you will accomplish little.

Problem with clairvoyance? Can't see very well? You need more energy work. Problems with Evocation? Energy work. Poor manifestation of your results from telesmata? Energy work. Feel stuck, in a rutt? Energy work. Difficulty making progress escaping bad habits? Energy work. Not an Immortal yet? No Lunar Body? No Solar Body to jump into when you pass on? Energy work. It always comes back to meditation. It is the heart of spiritual practice.

In the olden days, energy work was simply "prayer". Our fathers in Alchemy extort us over and over, without prayer our vessels are empty.

It must be understood that ritual is meant to be an aid to meditation. Yes it is a powerful tool. Understand that it is a tool for the Magician, that it is not what you are, simply a tool that helps you do what you do. Which is Meditate!Active Prayer! A mechanic doesn't look at his wrench and say, "this is what makes me what I am." Don't wed yourself to ritual and define yourself by their operation. Meditation is where all the real work is done. Ritual without meditation is like a car with no gas. You aren't getting anywhere.

Something else to be worked on is pride. I personally have not been a huge fan of adopting Eastern meditative practices...because I'm a Westerner. Damn it, our Alchemy is just as good as that of the Chinese, or of the Tibetans! Unfortunately, the fact is that until very recently, the deep practices of our tradition have only been available to a very few. The Eastern brothers have long since given enough of the keys for powerful practice to all. GH Fra LES has said previously that they still guard they're most secret keys, and I imagine they do. But they've released enough. Enough to get you pretty damn close, assuming my understanding of Alchemy is solid. It is.  If you've had no luck penetrating the Western Alchemical tracts, and are unable to undergo initiation in an Order with this knowledge, then read our texts side-by-side with the Eastern texts. Think of them as a Rosetta stone. Read this, and these. Then read Taoist Yoga by Lu K'uan Yu/Charles Luk. Also read Taoist Cosmic Healing by Mantak Chia. Now, WORK. Meditate, meditate, meditate.  You'll learn enough of the Language of the Birds (should you meditate upon the emblems as well!) to suss out the root and heart of Alchemical practice. It will be harder without the helpful push of Initiation (ye olde shaktipat), but even the basics done consistently will move you forward. Just do it. Quit bullshittin'. Aim for four hours a day, and cut back from there. Spot where you're making excuses. They don't have to be consecutive hours. Wake up one hour early and meditate for an hour. Put in a half hour at your lunchbreak. Go to sleep an hour later, and use that hour to meditate. Give up an hour of facebook time, and meditate. The time is there. I'm blessed with a 7 year old and twin three year olds, one of whom is severely disabled...and I know I can find this time. So can you.

Quit bullshitting, or accept that you will not acquire the Solar body. I'm trying to myself......we'll see how it works.




  1. I just love your passion and admire your dedication here VH Frater :)

    I think you are dead on the money. I would just like to clarify a couple of things. You seem to equate ‘meditation’ and ‘energy work’. In my understanding and from my training these are interrelated, but not identical. Would you not agree?

    I think there is a difference between an hour’s neophyte meditation and an hour’s building the Tree into the Sphere of Sensation. One works more directly on the subtle selves and therefore is a two edged sword. If there is a connection to the deeper spiritual currents, direct auric manipulation is the Stone of the Wise. If however, we are simply visualising and intoning we will effect only on the astral and etheric levels. This will feel good, and ‘powerful’ but will not produce the higher transformations.

    From the traditional point of view our correct orientation and intention also play a crucial role. If we are seeking to unfold to serve the One we find it easier to contact the higher levels of consciousness, which are of course non-personal, concerned with the All. Concerns about personal power and survival can hinder the opening to the higher realms. This is why altruism is always to first quality to be developed in both traditional esoteric Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism. In Buddhism conscious death, conscious re-incarnation, as opposed to rebirth (via what we call the Solar Body) is done under the vow of ending suffering for all beings. I feel this is not stressed enough in the western traditions.

    I agree – the time is always there. When my students complain, I ask them about a few current TV shows, movie stars or sporting teams. They can always provide information on this fluff, which is when I INSIST there is time (we are SO lucky in the west). People make their choices. To quote from the Gospel of Phillip:

    “Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.”

    If we think of our beings as food being slowly prepared, then the hours of meditation, auric work and good ritual is when the heat is turned on high. But we can always leave the heat on throughout the day, with constant small reminders. I perform small practices at least every half hour at work, internal or focused on my desk altar. We can create the Tree within us as we walk, as we wait in line etc. Then there are times we can get the heat up to medium, such as when we connect or flirt with our loved ones, directing the raised energy. Of course all direct sexual activity can and should be transmuted through the appropriate techniques. So there CAN be plenty of scope throughout each day.

    Thanks again for the inspiration and admonishment :)

  2. Care VH Fra Peregrin,

    Excellent comment, as usual.=) My personal definition of meditation has come to include energy work, regardless of it's nature. Building the Tree in the body requires vibration, which stimulates the energy bodies. Even the simple Neophyte meditation, when done correctly, places the mind within the Alchemical vessel and results in energetic changes. I do agree with you that directed energy work is different from meditation, certainly, but I've come to understand that there is no meditation without energy work. It is less a matter of different things than points on the same line, knobs on the same stick. Even simple prayer has an energetic effect, tuning the energetic bodies toward the nature of what's being prayed upon.

    You're quote from the Gospel of Phillip is solid gold! Folk need to realize this isn't just going to happen, they need to Work. Your students are lucky to have a teacher that

    I think that your teachings about compassion and altruism are important; not because they are necessary to develop into a Power, but because one would become a monster without them. In the Taoist tradition, as opposed to the Buddhist, there are records of plenty of monstrous, murderous individuals who have attained through the art of Alchemy. Much like becoming a powerful martial artist, morality has little to do with the acquisition of power and development of the energetic body. It has everything to do with whether you survive this development, though. Saturn comes back around for everyone, even those who've passed beyond humanity.

    I love your recommendation about small practice throughout the day. I need to setup a little desk altar, will be appropriating that idea. =)


  3. "Lucky to have a teacher that pushes them!" is what I meant to say.

  4. What about the most basic kind of non-duality meditation, where you simply sit, breathe, and let your thoughts fall away? Or the Dzogchen notion of simply resting in the knowledge that the fundamental nature of your mind is enlightened as is? I've been doing a lot of this lately--simply watching the world and allowing my Self to be, refusing to worry about whether I'm "doing it right" or "getting anywhere". Would you consider this energy work as well?

  5. I would, yes. Even when doing these fundamental practices in Buddhist-style meditation, the energetic body becomes engaged. When I practice simple awareness meditation, my energy bodies gradually become awash in LVX, without my willing it so. I begin sitting in the darkness of my mind, and end with pulses of blue and golden light surging hither-and thither, with not a thought toward anything other than being. In my experience the act of engaging your spiritual consciousness automatically stimulates the energetic bodies, as they are it's primary vehicles.

    Every movement of the concentration when in meditation attracts LVX that empowers that movement; even simple observation.

  6. Anonymous,

    Simple resting in rigpa isonly the beginning of Dzogchen. In Thogyal you work primarily with the energy body in very specific ways. Also in the Dzogchen long-de and semsde.

    Even in Threkchod (resting in rigpa) though you need an understanding of how the energy manifests as Rolpa Tsal, and dang.

  7. Oh yeah, Frater AIT, please update your blogroll to reflect my new blog. I will make sure that I do the same

    I am responding to this post and RO's over there

  8. @ Fra Jason,

    Already done! Saw your comment, and looked at my blogroll......nothing new from Jason for a month?Unlikely. Updated.

  9. @Fra Jason,

    We're discussing over on Fra Jack's blog as well, just fyi.

  10. Care H. Frater A.I.T.,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and being such an inspiration! I agree with you in almost every word. Meditation IS "energy work", or is "energetic" in its nature. It also has the great benefit of simplicity. I often meditate on the tram to and from work, and sometimes while I walk along a street.

    My experience is that it is the words of power (or the "matram") used in meditation that does the energetic work done, triggers it, or at least the logos has some important part in all of this "raising of energy". I have found out a particular set of vowels that gets my juices flowing so to speak, even it only "said" mentally (i.e. silently without using the mouth). The simple thought on the Word triggers the energy!

    This mediation, using a power "mantram" of the Western Esoteric Tradition and no particular visualization, together with another energetic meditative excercize (using both words of power and visualization) I was taught in the Second Order, in fact "awakened" or "activated" my energetic body. Since then, also regular invocations using Supreme or Greater Invocation Rituals awakens the flow in my energetic body.

    So I must add to what you have said, that also Ceremonial Magic - the use of ritual by and of itself - constitutes energetic work. Thus I see no actual difference between them in importance, other that ritual requires much more preparation and cannot be performed everywhere as with meditation. Thus it is simpler and more practical to use meditation as the basis for one's work. But one shouldn't substitute ritual work with meditation as I believe that the former is crucial in manifesting it fully in the physical body, because of the physical movements and different postures being done. Lets not underestimate the value of movemet and posture!

    To use a comparison between the tradition of the occident and orient. While the meditative exercizes may be compared to Hindu Yoga or Tibethan Buddhism, Ceremonial Magic may be compared to Taoist energetic work such as Qi-Gong, etc. Both work splendedly and should be seamlessly integrated in the Adept's work, and also in that of the Aspirant's, constituting a work in two parts.

    So, in the final analysis I agree that meditation should be extended and used also outside of the ritual Oratory, as often as one may find moments of opportunity, because it is manageble. That this is the key to success I can attest fully with myself as example.

    I also agree with your advice to study the Western Alchemical Tradition in conjunction with the Eastern counterparts, especially the Tantric tradition, Hatha Yogic and that of the Nath and Rasa Siddhas. A very good introduction to the Eastern tradition for the western Alchemist is David Gordon White's books, such as 'The Alchemical Body' and 'Kiss of the Yogini', which gives ample of references to the original and canonic texts.

    Keep ut the good work my dear Frater!

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe,

  11. I am unconvinced. "Energy work" is a meaningless placeholder word that misleads more than it reveals. "You need more energy work" is logically equivalent to "you need more sloopydrops." Magic is not pretending that we can move electricity with our fingertips or that we "feel the energy" with our palms. It's about the mind and its use of symbols (of which, one is "energy"). Having trouble with evocation? You need to look at your ability to communicate symbolic meaning. Having trouble with healing? You need to look at your ability to communicate symbolic meaning. Any magical practice that believes that magical energy is literally real is bullshit.

  12. @ pomomagic

    Of course you are unconvinced. You've written a book about it. (Postmodern Magic, for those not in the know. A good book, with, in just my opinion, some glaring issues related to the author's attempts to square Magical practice with his modern Materialist world view. Some cool stuff in there, though. Read it and loved it back in my Chaos days.)

    No magical practice that I've encountered believes Magical energy is a purely Physical force (I'm assuming this is what you mean by "real". It says a lot about your viewpoint, if so.) Nor has anyone here but you even suggested that magic (or energy work!) is pretending to move "electricity" about. All this nonsense about "ability to communicate symbolic meaning" is pure bullshit. When you meditate, do you feel the "symbolic meaning" moving through your body? Are you filled with "symbolic meaning" when you lift yourself in prayer?


    Of course spiritual energy can be viewed as a symbol....everything can be. Where is your subtlety, or understanding of the subtle? Approaching terms used in the spiritual Arts literally--with scientific definitions in mind, at that!-- is as stupid as reading the Bible and interpreting it literally.

    Your perspective absolutely reeks of the Modern magician attempting to bring his beliefs in line with modern science. That's plain foolishness. Judging a subjective spiritual art--which can only be measured Experientially--by the standards of Science which requires objective and physical measurement is an exercise in absurdity. So is taking a phrase like "energy work", and interpreting it as being literally about physical and measurable energy... entirely devoid of context. We aren't in a laboratory here. We're talking about speaking with Angels and summoning Daemons, for Heaven's sake...leave your lab coat at the door.

    That all being said...I can completely understand why you'd come out at this harsh, since I basically called your spiritual practice bullshit. I've read your book, and I know how you feel about "energy" in Magic. That wasn't necessary, I certainly could have been more layered and subtle in my approach. It was very inconsiderate, and I apologize for that (and to any others I personally offended with the "bullshit" part). I was wrong to say it in that way; I forget sometimes that this isn't some private journal.

    Your whole comment was still bullshit, though.

  13. Care VH Fr AIT,

    this is a very interesting discussion. Your clarification to my initial comment makes it clear how you define things, thank you. Obviously from your definition I think you are right :)

    I still think though, if you and I sat down together for a long talk over drinks, you might find yourself conceptualising direct auric manipulation as one sub-class of energy work and meditation as another sub-class. :)

    The term is just too broad for me, though I see where you are coming from - if we are not consciously changing our subtle (energy) bodies, yes what we are doing is bullshit.

    However, everything we do affects our subtle energies. Is energy work then EVERYTHING we do consciously? Lol - just a little broad for me Frater :)

    Finally, I must second the sentiments about ritual and the physical plane made by GH Fr SR. Also, I have seen ritual affect people's energy bodies incredibly. The difference in flow, clarity, connection and openness of the subtle centres before and after the mystic circumambulation is often marked. I have seen this occur in Neophytes would had no clue about the inner work and were just following around. (Of course it is enhanced when combined with internal processes). My point is, ritual can also directly effect the subtle-energy bodies :)

    Thank you again, VH Frater for this interesting post and blog :)

  14. Care VH Fra SR,

    Thank you for the kind words, and solid observations dear brother SR! Ritual as moving meditation certainly affects the energy body; the lines between meditation and ritual aren't as strict as they seem at first glance. Hadn't looked at it quite that way! Fra RO has made similar comment elsewhere; if we are to have a definition of "energy work" that includes (as it should) manipulation of the energetic body, then conscious Ritual Magic certainly falls within it. Definitely worth thinking about it! Thanks for the book recommendations as well, I'll give those gents a read.

    In LVX,


  15. What an interesting discussion you have stimulated. So interesting, in fact, that I will throw my two cents into the ring as well. Those who propose that symbolic manipulation is the essence of magick, in my not so humble opinion, have been reading too much psychology.

    To those who see spirit as something other than energy, I invite them to show it to me.

    On the other hand, the next time we meet, I would be happy to show the LVX energy to you!

    We can sit here split hairs about the nuances of meaning of respective definitions, but what does this really bring us.

    Those who say that energy work is but a modern invention are simply showing their ignorance of the Hermetic Tradition.

    Sure, the alchemical texts and images have been cryptic and reserved for initiates, but the meaning is there between the lines.

    Those who think that visualizations and vibrations are the best way to do "energy work" have not experienced the practices of Hermetic Internal alchemy yet.

    Those that think that these things are beyond the grade of most have not been watching the news lately.

    Last weekend in Phoenix we were moving the energy in the physical bodies of so many people in our workshop of The Great Rite who were absolutely amazed to see that this has nothing to do with mental concepts, but rather with physical perception in the body.

    This is what distinguishes Hermetic Inner alchemy most from the rest of the Western Esoteric tradition. It is a physical discipline with physical results. And yes - this ENERGY is SPIRITUAL. If you claim there is a difference, please SHOW it to me and not just with mental concepts.

    - David

  16. Dear Frater AIT et al,

    This is a very interesting discussion. On a side note; as far as the physico-energetic-symbolic interface that occurs with certain praxis...

    I do various forms of physical manipulation ranging from manipulation of osseous (bones) tissues to muscular; and energetic work as well.

    At one point I was performing cervical manipulation (cracking the necks) of several members of esoteric groups I was involved with. Usually before and/or after Rituals/Convocations, etc. I began checking Cranial-Sacral motion on these folks and found quite dramatic changes that were palpable and measurable throughout the Physical and Energetic bodies after Ritual.

    The Cranial-Sacral Motion is often equated to the "Breath of Life". In older Osteopathic research, which is based on physical structure of the human organism, we see a development of Energetic Theory that is quite profound, scientific, and based in an entrely Western paradigm. The British School (Littlejohn) became more Physiological in approach. However, if one truly studies the older American (structural basis) and British (functional basis) Osteopathic literature... it is very interesting in its relationship to Western, Vedic, and Taoist Alchemy and many other "Occult" subjects.

    Often folks misapply the term "Energetic" to a quasi-imaginary technique(s). However, in the Western tradition much of this relates directly to Microcosmic or Human Energy patterns. An effective Spiritual exercise WILL affect Mental, Emotional, and Physical Energies of an individual whether the full range of effects is desired or not. However, these things are definitely measurable... this is the practice of the study of Human "Constitution".

    Well, that is my 2 cents for now...

    Love and Light,

  17. So many interesting points and frankly I love it. The need for discourse, debate, and all out heated conversation that leaves one frustrated and satisfied at the same time is exactly what is needed for any intellectual and spiritual discipline.

    Thanks for this post, I found it most stimulating and it is always interesting to see how another magician sees things.

    For me, I must say that energy work is a term taht we've come to use to define something that by nature cannot be defined easily by terms borrowed from physics. Despite our efforts to clarify the term, "energy" carries connotations that simply cannot be avoided.

    For example the term "energy work" seems to reduce magical work to a mechanical act in which "energy" is gathered, directed, and shaped by a series formulae. What gets implied is that things like prayer are nothing more than mechanical acts aimed at generating and directing energy.

    Yet the situation is more complicated. Such acts are ultimately spiritual in nature and involve an intricate relationship between spirit and Spirit. That isn't to say that the concept or force that term "energy" is applied to doesn't exsit, but rather it may be something beyond easy definition--something metaphysical.

  18. It is no more mechanical than a professional dance is when performed with the body and mind in total coordination.


  19. I mean, even walking is bio-mechanical and since "energy work" is performed by a body (the so called fluid one),it may seem at first as awkward and mechanical in learning stages. However in later stages, feats can be performed that are analogous to those in the physical body (for example dance).

    When the consciousness is matured and the entire body is realized permanently, it is akin to finding out that you had a limb you didn't think you had (sparing the puns ;) ), or that now you can move in an entirely different way, like discovering that your hand can move sideways or something.

    Visualization and breathwork is what seem to excite it at first, then direct it fully in later stages. It seems faked or botched in the beginning, but later along something does happen which cannot be explained entirely that it is a complete construct of the imagination.

    I guess your feet would seem fake and botched in the beginning and totally imaginary when you tried to stand up for the first time as well.

    This is what all this business seems to me anyway.


  20. But you see prayer in the context of spiritual traditions is more than your "bodies" working together. This is a reductionist view point that tries to define something that is spiritual by nature.

    The idea of energy work being like a dance is a lovely analogy, but my contention is that when "energy work" is applied to a concept like prayer it fails to do it justice.

    Prayer is far more than the bodies moving in accord, or the moving of a subtle force. It is a connection between spirit and Spirit, between the living spiritual forces to turn their attention to the petitioner and in turn rush to shape the cosmos according to prayerful direction.

    george you connect energy work to visualization and breath, that's great, but such concepts are not part of traditions like conjure which rely solely on the spiritual forces of nature responding to the prayer of the rootworker.

    The beautiful complexities and spiritual realties of many traditions are lost with statements that emphasize "energy" to the exclusion of all else.

    No matter which way it is spun the phrase "energy work" simply fails to do justice to those traditions that rely on something other than "energy" to get the job done.

  21. I do not personally equate prayer to the subtle movement of the fluidic body. They are two different things. Prayer does have an energetic component but it is not only that, you are right. I was mainly trying to clear up a concept.

    And pardon me if I did seem to emphasize "energy" to the exclusion of all else. To me it is just another aspect of the practice. It is something that it is *there* and you can / must certainly use it and develop it because you can do cool things with it that you can't do otherwise.

    I am very well aware of that the concept is not part of the conjure tradition, neither did I try to duct-tape them together.

    At some point I believe we are falling into semantic trap. What you describe as "prayer" closely resembles my description of Will. NOT the douchebag iron-clad Victorian image of it, but that of a central and highly flexible force that unites the magician and everything else with Love, and directs the universe to a purpose (no I'm not a Thelemite :) ).



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quick overview of Simple Spagyric Technique

The following is a simple rundown for creating Spagyric tinctures and Elixirs, from the manuscript 'Book of the Blossoming Flower." I wrote it so that there would be a baseline, unobfuscated understanding of how to make Spagyric products with extremely basic tools. I posted something similar earlier, but without explaining much as far as how the steps relate to the classic alchemical progression. So, here we are! Making a Spagyric Tincture 1.Take up your plant, and on the Day/Hour corresponding to the energy you wish to refine (Planet, Element, or Sign.) Chop the plant into fine pieces on your cutting board, beginning the Mortificatio stage. Sunrise on the Day corresponding to a planet is best-for astrological forces. I had success capturing the Astrological powers by beginning the work when the Sign is in the Ascendant, preferably during an Elemental Tide that corresponds to the Triplicity the Sign is associated with. For Elemental powers, I have found that beginning the w

Bullshit Siddhis

Nsala malongo, So.....powers. They exist. You work your alchemy, and they start popping up. It isn't what you expect. It's not like the comics. Subtle things happen. You get a little something here, a big something there. Some of them appear useless at first. Some years ago, after work in the upper cinnabar field, I gained the dubiously awesome ability to see a sort of spirit double floating around people. At first I was BEYOND stoked, and thought I was well on my way toward ascension from my normal state into a vicious and powerful spiritual overlord, as was foretold. By me. When I was like, fourteen. Then, after the wonder wore off, I realized that this was absolutely useless. The double gave me no information about the person, no power to manipulate myself or the other. It was just there. So. Countless hours of heat and concentration, and the end result was this? Of course it *was* useful in the long-run, as a mark of my developing spiritual s

Hoodoo and Palo Mayombe

This is an article I wrote for the Lemba Congo American Society for the Preservation of Palo Mayombe (or simply the Society, as we call it, because that's a whole lot of name) that addresses heating and cooling spirits, and the links of tradition and approach between Hoodoo and Palo Mayombe.    There is a way of thinking about reality--and learning to interact with it--that empowers all of the Congo-rooted magical systems currently alive here in the West. Having years of experience as a conjurer in the Hoodoo tradition here in America, and learning from an experienced Tata the methods of Palo Mayombe as an Engueyo,  I continually am finding parallels between the two. There are two ideas in particular that stand out that I wanted to discuss. Heating and Cooling Spirits In Hoodoo, we "heat" a spirit to great activity using herbs and roots and powders, and "cool" a spirit using water and herbs and roots as well. The concept of heating and cooling a spirit