The Invisible Temple

Contributed by Wayfinder

A new Associate asked a question in the Forum, and I think I have the answer:

“My family is super-religious, but not in a good way. They found and threw away my books on witchcraft… How can I have rituals or practice my powers in spite of all that?”

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I replied: “Snagglepuss, I’m truly sorry to hear about your situation and I’m sure many others are in the same predicament. My suggestion is instead to create an “Invisible Temple” for your work:  one to which only you have the key; one your family can never find. I’ve been writing up a how-to guide, based on my own knowledge gained while living in a college dorm one year with a MOST unsympathetic roommate, and I plan to post it in “Practical Magic” in the next week or so. I’ll also ask Jack to feature it in the upcoming Newsletter. Watch for it!”

This is it.

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While it’s best to have a physical place in which to practice your magic, if you’re still deep in the “broom closet” or just have limited space in a college dorm or the like, you may not be able to have one.

But fear not. Those who’ve read my post “Mini-BRP” in the “Practical Magic” section have probably taken their first steps in this direction already:

“But wait! People are watching!”

Okay. Are they people likely to freak out if they see you drawing signs in the air? No problem. You can do the Mini-BRP entirely in your imagination while sitting still and quiet. In fact, I’d make an educated guess you JUST DID, while you were reading the paragraphs above!

So practice it both ways: out in the “real world” with signs and turns and gestures and spoken words, and also just in your imagination. It works either way.

What would be a perfect place to practice your magic? It could be a place you already know, from life or a book or a movie or even a dream, or one built completely in your imagination. The only requirement is that it be private, safe from any intrusion: not that place in the book or the movie or real life, but an imaginary copy of it, an invisible temple made for your use alone.

Think about different possibilities.

Would your perfect place be indoors or out? If indoors, in what sort of room? How large? What shape? Round? Square? Some other shape? Would there be windows? Doors? Arches? And if so, what would you see outside?

Or it might be outdoors instead. If so, where? In a forest? Next to a lake, a river, or the sea? Among the mountains?

Would your invisible temple have an altar, or maybe more than one; maybe at each compass point, east, south, west and north? What else would be there? Would the place be brightly lit, or almost dark? Where would the light be coming from?

And what about yourself? What – if anything! – would you be wearing there? What would help make your magic stronger? Would your body look the same as it does in “real” life, or would it be different? If so, what would be the differences?

You may want to take several days or more to decide just what you want, and get as many of the details as firm in your mind as you can. When you can find the time and the quiet, sit with your eyes closed and picture it for yourself. Focus in on each part of it, deciding what should be there. Get familiar with it. Each time you do, it should come a little clearer.

You may find it helps, if you can do it safely, to write out your descriptions on paper or type them on a computer. Put in as much detail as you can. Revise them as new ideas come to you. Then keep them hidden between the pages of some boring old textbook or nested deep in a stack of computer folders with misleading names.

When you feel you’ve done enough of that, tell anybody who might disturb you that you’re off for a long nap or to bed for the night. Go somewhere quiet and dark. Lie down and close your eyes, but instead of going to sleep just relax your body as much as you can. You may find this easiest lying flat on your back, but if you find some other position more comfortable, by all means use that. Start at your toes and work your way upward, first tensing the muscles and then relaxing them. Continue, body part by body part, until you reach your face. Tense, then relax. Imagine your body is melting into the bed. Let every bit of tension drain away.

Then, without moving your body at all, imagine you’re standing up instead, standing in a safe, warm, dark place. There’s solid footing under you, but nothing else around. Know that this place you are creating in your imagination will always be safe for you. No one, and no Thing, can come here unless you invite them in.

Imagine now touching yourself with your hands, there in the safe warm dark. As you do you may find a dim light starts coming from nowhere in particular, letting you see yourself, but nothing around you yet. If the light doesn’t come, though, that’s all right. You can do this part by touch alone.

Are you dressed (or not) just as you imagined earlier? If so, fine! But if not, no worries. Imagine touching any garments you don’t want, beginning to pull them off, and as you do, feeling each of them dissolve in your hands and vanish. Then dress yourself again in whatever helps you feel magical and powerful, calling forth each piece from your imagination. Or if you prefer, just remain skyclad. This place is yours alone, and apart from any Beings you yourself invite in, there’s no one here to see.

Now imagine the light around you is gradually growing brighter, bringing your surroundings slowly into view. It’s the same place you’ve been building up little by little over these last few days or weeks. But is it exactly the same, or are there differences? If so, would you prefer to fix them or keep things as they are? For often the deeper wisdom of your mind knows best.

Imagine walking around now in your invisible temple, looking at the things in it and touching them. They may seem unreal at first, soft or hazy or “not quite there,” but as you continue they should come clearer.

With luck and a practiced imagination, you may be able to “firm up” your invisible temple on that first visit. Often, though, like almost everything else, it takes practice. Do it over and over, letting it come clearer and more solid each time. Practice! Practice! And in time, when you’ve grown confident the place and the things in it will stay firm and solid without your constant attention, start practicing your magic…

…Oh, wait. Because in doing every bit of what’s come before, you’ve already been practicing magic and building up the muscles, your inner Working Tools, to do it more easily and effectively. WILL, to keep on and on even if you need to fight for the peace and privacy to do it. IMAGINATION, of course, to do the building. FAITH, steadily growing as what you’re building comes more easily and stays firmer. And SECRECY…well, that was the whole point of it, wasn’t it? Creating a place where you can work now in complete secrecy, nothing visible on the outside at all. Just somebody peacefully resting…

While in a secret place known only to yourself, the magic is already happening!

I’m not sure how much this will help, but back in my college years, long before I’d met Chuck or any other Associates, I created an invisible temple of my own and just a little while ago I went back and checked to see if it was still there. It was, just as solid and ready for use as ever.

If you’re interested in learning about that as an example, please read on! But if you’d rather not be influenced by my own Temple experience, I won’t be offended…

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Okay. For those still with me:

I found the place originally in my college days while hiking in the mountains with friends. Partway up a nature trail I began having vivid flashes of some other scene, not quite visible with open eyes but very clear when I closed them. A large flat-topped boulder sat on bare stone near a cliff edge in bright sunshine, with a wide mountain vista beyond.

Further up I felt silent guidance pulling me somehow off to the side, off the trail and through forest until suddenly the trees fell away, and to my astonishment there before me stood the very stone I’d seen in those flashes. As if deliberately created to be an altar it stood about waist-tall, the nearer side vertical and the top nearly flat except that hollowed into its top, whether by nature or by human hands long before, was a round shallow bowl. Beneath it the stone was bare and sloping, rounding off as weathered granite does until it fell steeply away. And beyond, yes, were the mountains I’d seen in my visions below.

The place felt thick with power, tingling on my skin – it was really the first time I’d felt it that strongly at all, though I have in other places since – and I knew I belonged there in some undefinable way. I sat down near the stone to meditate, hoping to get more information. But my friends had followed, clamoring for me to come away so we could all reach the top, so reluctantly I went.

In later years I was able to go up there a few times more, alone or with like-minded friends (some of whom are now Associates too), learn more about the place, get its image firmer in my mind, and conduct a few rituals using the built-in bowl as a receiver for libations. But time passed. I moved away and built a family, and it’s been a decade or more since I’ve been able to go back there in the flesh.

Not a problem. Because I’ve found it easy still, after all these years and from hundreds of miles away, to re-visit the place just by relaxing and closing my eyes.

And the power is still there.

Wayfinder

Wayfinder

Chuck Taylor dragged me into this! I’m a retired engineer and teacher. Chuck and I met at an IEEE conference many years ago, and we bonded instantly. Gradually earning each other’s trust, we found other common interests as well…and long story short, I’m now a frequent visitor at the Ravenstead and helped Yamaya put together the Seasons of Ceremony. Just call me a thaumaturgical engineer!