Alchemical Processing of our own Souls involve deeply journeying into our own Inner Realms of Being. This is to identify what needs to be balanced, what needs to be burned off as the dross and what needs to be polished to perfection….just as a rough stone of alabaster may become a polished diamond!
There are many practices and rituals to hasten Alchemical processing so that we may become what we are destined to become, but that is certainly not all we need to do.
Magicians work with the Cosmos and the forces of Nature in some ways, yet against it in others, by not letting Nature just take its course, while we sit and wait, anticipating change. As Magicians, we instead take full control of our own destinies and are responsible for our outcomes. This takes fortitude.
Only those of us with fearless hearts will succeed in the Transmutation of the Elements and Cosmic Forces within ourselves. Those that walk the Hermetic Path, deliberately invoke forces ( Elemental, Zodiacal, Planetary, Stellar & Sephirotic) that align with the Primordial Collective to bring these psychological constructs to the surface to be worked out in a very structured way, as well as undergo initiations which also energetically attune us more.
By these methods, we speed up our Karma in an Alchemical way, just as a hot-house can speed up the growth of plants. However, many on the Path tend to drop out early in the process since confronting one’s Shadow and Ego complexes are intense when done in such a manner. It is paramount to persevere no matter what we confront.
Sacred Alchemy of the Soul is not trivial. It is not for the light-weight dabbler, nor not for the faint of heart. This is more intense than even visiting our Shadows though random thought-form processing and analysis. It is deep and thorough Transformation.
Although if one is introspective enough, it can certainly be done through any number of ways, but typically takes longer to shift through them and identify the gold from the dross. When you have an actual initiatory “program” it seems to be a good way of validating the real from the illusions. And, we have the benefit of being able to consult those Adepts that have walked the same twists and turns in the Path before. Yes, it is very important to persevere…
For we must balance that which is imbalanced. It is fearless and thankless Work. Even that which we do to help our Brothers and Sisters. It is The Great Work!
In order to fulfill the areas of our lives, both conscious and unconscious parts of our psyches that are unbalanced in order to fulfill the Great Work, we also need to do the following: Consciously adjust our filters of perception, adopt new ways of thinking, assimilating experiences and new approaches to being. This needs to be done as well as doing a bunch of rituals and practices. A True Magician’s Great Work does not stop in a Temple. It permeates his or her being fully. Life experiences are the greatest reflection of successes and failures, where we need to grow.
Sometimes this can mean embarking on such journeys that we may be uncomfortable with, but in the end, will be beneficial. The rituals, the meditation practices and other gifts such as the keys of the Tarot and Astrology are available to help guide us. They are roadmaps and tools to help facilitate the Hieros Gamos of the Self.
So what does it mean to “Integrate the Shadow Self”?
This means to be able to first fully identify the hidden subconscious drives and complexes we have ( called the Qlippoth in Western Ceremonial Magick) and to heal the broken parts of ourselves, get rid of the unnecessary and “train” what is necessary to serve the Will of the Higher Self . This can be accomplished using multiple methods in conjunction with each other. Taking daily inventory of events and emotions is key no matter what combination of methods are being used.
Our subconscious comes to the surface while we sleep. The astral plane is our night-time playground and a well of thought forms, beings, dreams, complexes and constructs. All with energy lent to them via our subconscious.
Digging deep into the psyche prior to sleep and then dreaming to receive answers is called Oneiromancy. The answers are recorded in a dream journal and recalled later for analysis and reflection. Oneiromantic technique can be used effectively for other many things as well. Also, lucid dreaming, the practice of being able to enter a dream as a conscious participant is also helpful to unlocking the keys to the Shadow Self gently.
Some work extensively with trance induction with mirrors. This is a technique whereby the practitioner unflinchingly gazes into a mirror. After a while, the image may appear to shift and certain sensory input can be experienced as well as thoughts. The image may shift to something even quite nasty. The practitioner should make every attempt to not look away. After the session, results are recorded and subject to recall and analysis. There is nothing to fear. Mirrors can, after all, only reflect what is inside the Magician.
There is also the practice of Demonic Evocation. This is considered the most dangerous of all and is a critical part of very advanced magickal Work of healing and integrating one’s Shadow Self. I cannot emphasize this enough as only too many of the curious have ventured into this without doing the preparatory Work of purification of the Soul via working with the Elements, zodiacal, Planets and Sephiroth on the Path of the Serpent.
This Path is on the Tree of Life going up from the Sphere of Malkuth towards Kether. All preparatory Work is done from prior to entering the Tree of Life as beginner not yet on the tree of Life. Then onto the Sephiroth of Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, Netzach, the Work of the “Portal of the Adepts” in the Lesser Abyss. Each Sphere is attributed to an Element and a Planet, with many other correspondences therein.
As Magicians, we are basically separating parts of our own psyche, working on them, purifying & consecrating them via rigorous practices and then in the Lesser Abyss putting ourselves back together in a more polished form psychologically so that we can enter the Sephiroth of Tiphareth to start to experience the Greater Mysteries and be of service. It corresponds to both the Esoteric Christian version of the Crucifixion of Christ as well as the Pagan Death and Dismemberment of the Ancient Egyptian God of Osiris. It corresponds to the giving of the Self and the subjugation of the Ego.
It takes many years to get through all that Work and is recommended to complete in full before even touching Demonic Evocation. In the well-known Western Ceremonial system of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, this type of work is well known to be only recommended once the Adept has completed the Work in the sphere of Tiphareth and had made full contact with his/her Holy Guardian Angel or Daemon in the “First Knowledge and Conversation” This is an event that happens once the Angel or Daemon deems the Adept ready and is not predictable.
However, in order to get to that point, working with the Elements, Zodiac and Planets is required on this Path. Certain operations such as the Rite of Abramelin or the Bornless Ritual devised by Aleister Crowley to help in the preparation. Variations of these can work just fine, so long as the basic premises are intact. These are not just rituals, these are a corpus of intense daily practices and processes done over an extended period of time, usually a number of months, to help the Adept in being able to attune to the subtle energies of his or her Guardian to the point they can “see” it astrally as a being outside themselves so very clearly, at which point a very conscious relationship is established henceforth and integration of one’s Angel or Daemon can ensue. This is necessary to aid the practitioner in the Work involving Demonic Evocation.
As Demonic Evocation corresponds to Severity and Power, it is typically assigned in the grade/degree corresponding to Gevurah. This is the Tree of Life Sphere attributed to Severity and Power under the governance of the planet Mars that comes after the sephiroth of Tiphareth on the Tree of Life on the pillar of Severity. There really is no skipping steps on the Hermetic Path.
Certain intense and traumatic life experiences can also attune us to our Shadows via instant triggering so we can process faster. One does not need to be a Magician to do this. We all experience these events by just being in our human meat-suits and experiencing Life. But, regardless we can use these experiences to an Alchemical Processing advantage. Especially those experiences that put us into a mode of survival, since our very base instincts tend to surface then. But, if one can step back and be one’s own best observer, being honest about the True Self, then much work can be accomplished to integrate our Shadow Selves in the Great Work. That which is unnecessary to our growth gets stripped away. Structured alchemical Work is for those who are interested in expediting the process of Karma. Working through the labyrinth of the Soul to find the jewel of one’s own Divinity…
The Work is perilous. It is precious. It is indeed the Great Work!
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