Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

This time of year, always brings my thoughts closer to home...

May all those you love, share in the Joy and Bounty this season of harvest represents.

Mill Creek Falls, West Virginia

Monday, September 3, 2012

CORE MAGICK -- an introduction

featuring Leslie McQuade Griffin
"I'm not a McGregor - I'm a McQuade!"

Hi! It is nice to meet you. I am Leslie. I think most of you are familiar with my husband, David Griffin (Imperator of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Alpha et Omega Temple), who has been encouraging me to share with you some of the magickal gems I picked up my adventures as an archeologiogist and anthropologist. 

As an archeologist, I have had the great fortune to work in some pretty amazing places, from the English Heritage, Eartham Pit dig in West Sussex where Homo heidelbergensis was discovered, to the Botai dig in Kazakhstan for the Carnegie Mellon Museum of Natural History, where I was told to cover up the discovery of artifacts made of bone which bore a striking resemblance to screw drivers, which would be astonishing for the time period - to the Chatan-cho dig Okinawa where we were ordered to conceal our discoveries by the Japanese government since they didn't like that we found Korean burials rather than Japanese cremation jars.

I left archeology when the sanctity of scientific data was was repeatedly sacrificed for political expedience. As a scientist, I wanted no part in such hypocricy.

"Take your falsified data and..."

Subsequently, as an anthropologist, I have been more fortunate. I am also an initiated witch of the Sacred Forest of Nemi (del Bosco Sacro) ancient Pagan tradition in Italy, which gives me access to the sort of informants and data of which other anthropologists can only dream. Being married to David Griffin doesn't hurt either, as this gives me access to the Secret Chiefs of the of the Golden Dawn's Third Order.

But let me tell you why I am here today ...

As you likely know the Alpha Omega and the Sacred Forest Shamanic Pagan Tradition are initiatic, oath-bound traditions, which limits what I can share with you about them. I have, however, managed to amass a great deal of magickal knowledge from other traditions around the world I am completely free to share with you.

You may have heard of the work in the field of Shamanism of anthropologist, Michael J. Harner, who studied many different Shamanic traditions around the world, then attempted to distill the common core underlying all of them. Harner's groundbreaking work has resulted in a growing Neo-Shamanic tradition around the world. He calls this tradition Core Shamanism.

Inspired by Harner's work, I have been gathering magical techniques from many different traditions around the world, some of which I will be sharing with you here in this series on The Golden Dawn Blog. In recognition of my deep and abiding respect for Dr. Harner's work, I call this tradition I am about to share with you, Core Magick.

Core Magick and Core Magickal techniques, as we know them today, represent a huge tool kit; a vast collection of practices, beliefs, spells, deities, experiments, tools, rituals, ideas and ideals.  The material I am presenting to you spans both time and space, so don’t be surprised to see eastern practices beside western practices, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming inside Shamanic rituals presented in a Neo-Pagan format.  
I have collected, tested and used each and every one of the practices and techniques I share. I give you only the best of the best.  The years of scientific experimentation and ethnographic research have resulted in the simplest and most effective way to alter physical reality in ways that match your desires. There are no initiations, no fees, and no “busy work”.  This is the cream of what our planet has to offer.
These practices are stripped of all the cultural baggage that prevents many people from considering magic at all. Core Magick represents the synthesis of practices I learned during my travels and research as an anthropologist.  Because I worked as an experimental and ethnographic archaeologist, I had numerous opportunities to study the esoteric traditions of the various geographic regions in which I found myself.  This is the Core Magickal practice I myself use on a daily basis.  Because this information is available for the non-initiate, I have been careful to build in some safety nets to insure that as you work your way through the lessons and experiments, you don’t accidentally “blow up your lab”. 
I have taken great pains to remember the source of the things I use. This is perhaps the most interesting part of Core Magick, and one of its greatest strengths.  As we move closer and closer to a truly global culture, Core Magick represents a way to tap into the power of the magickal traditions of the planet as a whole.  Unlike other traditions that take their authority from the geographic region in which their methodology is culturally cloaked. Core Magick removes the cultural assumptions, contstraints and expectations from these powerful magickal practices and puts their methods in plain language, so that it may be grasped easily, understood accurately and practiced effortlessly.  Begin living the life you have always wanted.  It is time for you to claim your birthright and become a co-creator with DEITY.

In my experience, Core Magick is in many ways most similar to chemistry.  In chemistry, you must be exact in your measurements, your timing, in every detail of how the experiment is performed.  Core Magick is much the same.  In order to have repeatable results, you must have repeatable actions.  Be attentive to what you are THINKING most of all as you begin working Core Magick. 
I will be teaching you the same way I learned, although you won’t have the same opportunities I had, simply as a function of time and location.  If you don’t already, I advise you to, take a moment now and find a new notebook or journal.  It is important that you keep a journal of not only your daily Core Magickal practices and results, but also what you read, odd things you notice, inexplicable feelings that may bubble to the surface.  This is a watershed moment.  You are moving from a life in which things happen to you, to one in which you make things happen.  Through careful study of your Core Magickal journal, your research notes as it were, you can easily see what works for you and what does not.  You will also be able to track the success or failure of your spells/experiments.
Everything you will learn, you learn in layers, like an onion.  Just like you first learned in kindegarten that Columbus discovered America, only to be told it was Vespucci in high school, so will you learn Core Magick.  Skipping steps will lead to an incomplete understanding of the material.  You must you take the time to fully digest and understand the “vocabulary” and methodology of Core Magick in order to do it well, so remember the age-old saying:

”The ox is slow, but the Earth is patient.”


The first thing I want you write in your Core Magickal Journal is an essay. In the essay, include answers to the following questions, in whatever order feels most natural to you.
1.   Why do you want to learn Core Magick?  What will you see in your life that will show you your Magick is working?
2.     What things are you already doing that you consider to be magickal?
3.     Do you believe in God/dess?  How does this belief effect your decisions?
4.   What are your favorite subjects or activities? What types of things are you not good at or interested in?
5.     Are you right or left handed?
6.     What is your birth information?  [Date, time, location]  Ask your mother to tell you the story of the day you were born.  Be sure to write down what she says, and ask her to clarify any details.
Write as much as you think is necessary to answer the questions.  Include extra information if it seemsrelevant.  You may even want to break up these six questions into separate, shorter essays.
I am, with these questions, asking you teach yourself who you ARE.  No one will see these essays.  Your Core Magickal Journal is solely for your use.  In order for you to make this world what you want it to be, you must understand who you are. My perspective as an archaeologist has taught me that it is only through a thourough understanding of who you ARE that you can become the best of who you want to be.

We will begin with meditation.  Whether you meditate now or not, I want you to use the following method.  This is not simply capriciousness on my part.  If a meditation is successful, there should be PHYSICAL sensations, and real, tangible, repeatable results.  The following is what I have found to be the simplest, fastest and most effective way to reach very deep states of meditation in a short amount of time.
1.   Do some sort of physical exercise immediately before you begin.  It can be anything from Yoga to Boxing.  You want your heart to be beating fast, to be breathing hard, and just a little sweaty when you sit down to meditate.  The pace of your breathing is VERY important.
2.     Sit COMFORTABLY facing a clean, empty, undecorated, white (or other pale color) wall.
3.     Sit with the base of your spine supported on a cushion to help keep your spine straight.
4.     Stick out your chest, and tuck in your chin just a bit.  This will take the last remaining curves out of your spine. It is important to keep your spine STRAIGHT.
5.     You can look either at the floor in front of you, or at the wall.  The important thing here is to keep your eyes open, and that they are slightly crossed (like when you try to look at the end of your nose).
6.   Other than blinking your eyes, and the paced rise and fall of your chest and stomach, you should endeavor to remain motionless.  If your leg falls asleep, ignore it.  If you itch, put your attention back on your glabella or your breathing.  Your body intends to work against you, so ignore it as if it were just another street vendor, barking for your attention.
7.    Put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, and no matter how badly you may itch, DO NOT SCRATCH.  Do not scratch, do not move.  Be VERY strict with youself on this one.  The itching sensation is a chakra point opening.  Most people are familiar with the seven basic chakra points. These points are the same in every culture.  When the point is open, it feels like a tingling, or an itching, coolness or tickling.  To induce this feeling, take a single hair and gently draw a circle in the center of your forehead, on the glabella, or a little above it.

8.  As you breathe, breathe also through your glabella.  Understand that your glabella is very similar to the blowhole of a whale or dolphin.  To accomplish this, as you inhale, become aware of cool air rushing into and out of your glabella, just as you feel the air moving through your nose and lungs.  
9.     Make sure that when you feel your breathing start to slow, or get shallow, you pick up the pace. By now your heart rate should be slowing down, and also your breath rate.  It is important however, to keep breathing deep and full.  You are going to hyper oxygenate your blood.  This will release certain chemicals into your blood that will make it possible for you to reach deeper states of meditation. 
10. As you are concentrating on all these things, feel yourself getting lighter and lighter, floating up out of your body.  Remember, your body has an autopilot function.  It’s called sleep.  You can trust your body to take care of itself while you “go out and have a look”.
11. Pass through the roof, into the sky, through the clouds, through the atmosphere into space.  Fly past the moon, out towards the stars. 
Travel as far as you like and stay as long as you like.  Rather than set a specific amount of time for meditation, we are setting a goal.  I want you to be able to see all the stars in the blackness of the universe with your eyes open and pointed at the wall or floor. 
This method is a combination of things I learned in Kundalini Yoga, Zen Walking Meditation, Rolfing and Shamanic Journeying.
Plan on spending at least 15 minutes for exercise, and 15 minutes for meditation for your first experiment.  Gradually increase the time for both in increments of 1:1; i.e. for each minute of exercise, do a minute of meditation.  If you want to do more the first time, that is fine, but what I’m looking for in this practice exercise are the following things:
1.  Consistency – Do it EVERY DAY for one lunar cycle.  This experiment should be repeatedly tested, because science is above all else a method of predicting what comes next.  If you do the same methods twice and get the same results twice, you have shown something interesting.  Do it 20 or 30 times, and you have really learned a powerful technique for self-transformation.  You need only dedicate 28 days to this experiment after which you may choose to either continue (which I HIGHLY recommend) or not.  Remember, the benefits of meditation are cumulative, like physical exercise.
2.  Set and Setting – Where do you meditate?  Do you use incense or candles?  How do you feel? Before you begin were you distracted, tired, happy, in a hurry, etc.?
3.  Results – Can you get out of the Earth’s atmosphere into space? Can you feel your glabella?  Can you breathe with your glabella?  Do you feel like you are floating?  Are you able to ignore your Meatsuit (physical body)?  Compare this meditation to others you have had in the past.  What seems different about this method?  What happened during the meditation that could be improved upon?
4. Documentation – Each meditation is a scientific experiment.  Use the following form for Documenting the Results of your Procedure and Consistency with this Practice.

Meditation Documentation (example)
Date:  2012 Apr 20 Tue 9pm
Goal:  To be able to meditate anywhere, anytime.
Set and Setting:  Today I decided to meditate outside. I sat in a couple of spots to find the best view of the sky, with no mountains or power lines in the way.  I also looked around to be sure no one would interrupt me.  I didn’t bring any incense, because the air here smells so good.  I did bring a blanket, pillow and bug spray.  I also brought food and water for afterwards.  I had a hassle getting out of the house, because my roommate thinks it’s dangerous to meditate outside in the dark.
Procedure:  I did my usual routine, but a little faster today, since it now takes more to get my breathing faster.  I also did 25 bodyweight squats and 10 pushups.  Then, I lay down, covered up (because it’s cold), put my tongue up and started.
Results:  It was a difficult meditation.  I found my mind wandering with lots of thoughts.  So I told each thought, as it came up, “Thank you for reminding me of that.  I will get to it just as soon as I am finished.”  My Kundalini Yoga Guru Paranjothiar taught me that trick. Once each thought had been given some love and dismissed, I was able to go deeply into the stars, turn around and see the Earth.  It seemed so small and fragile.  I opened my heart and poured love over the whole planet.  Then I heard a car come up the road, and it jarred me out of meditation.  I had been there for 40 minutes already, so I packed up and walked back to the house.
Next Time:  I will go a little further away from the road.  I will leave the food, because I think it attracted bugs.  I will also bring my back-jack, because lying down made it hard to stay awake.  Also, I couldn’t find my usual internal “landing spot” at the beginning of my meditation, probably because of the new location. 
Other:  I really need to get better at letting outside distractions go.  I think a lot of that has to do with feeling slightly self-conscious about meditating outside my usual spot in the house.  It is important for me to let go both of my self-consciousness, and of my attachment to my usual place of meditation.

Suggested Documentation Format
Set and Setting:
Next Time:


In each reading list I provide you, there will be more than you can read.  Choose what looks interesting to you.  As you read, write notes in your journal. Your notes might include things like:
·      Information you think is important to remember for later
·      Quotes you want to remember
·      Your opinions about what you are reading
·      Questions you would like to ask me
I expect you to pick at least one and finish as much as you can before the next full moon.  In fact, the previous work is best completed in one lunar month.  So, have a look at what the moon phase is right now.  Repeat the meditation experiment every day for one lunar cycle.  Be consistent.  This is part of what makes meditation hard for most people. Meditation is a way of engendering the self with self-trust.  You trust in your decisions and stick by them, like your decision to meditate every day.  You trust your body to take care of itself while you while you are meditating.
All the books I recommend are available for free at the links I have provided for you.

Real Magic by Issaic Bonewits 
The Power of the Witch by Laurie Cabot 
The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner
A Dictionary of Symbols by J. E. Cirlot
The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot