Pathworking Thoughts

I have been thinking about this topic for some time now.  It is one of those things where the definition is a little elusive.  So many things could be called “pathworking” in magick.  Someone does meditation a few nights and voila it’s pathworking.  But the word and the ideal of pathworking is so much deeper than that.  It is a part of the Great Work.  Knowing and discovering oneself.  Ultimately that is what pathworking leads to for the serious magician.  Getting to know and being able to discover oneself is not an easy task.  When real life learning takes place it usually comes at a cost.  A tragedy happens and we learn to carry on in the aftermath.  We discover things about ourselves we never would have without that tragedy.  This is how I see pathworking, to a point.  Let me explain.  In pathworking we take the energy of that ritual and we extend it to it’s and ours breaking point.  We  push ourselves further and further unlocking the secrets of the ritual and along with that ourselves.   It is not for the faint of heart.  At times, it can be painful and uncomfortable.  But it can also be a catalyst to a great change and a greater understanding of ourselves as well as the world around us.  The same type of change and understanding that can be brought on by a tragedy.  But at the end of all that work and all that sweat and energy, you are futher along the path to getting to know what you are capable of and what futher discovery may be possible.  On the other side of a tragedy or the other side of pathworking there is greater understanding and greater knowledge about oneself.

So in observing all that, comparing pathworking to a tragedy, recognizing the pain and hard work that goes along with discovery, I would be inclined to ask, “Why the hell would I want to put myself through that?”  A fair question.  This is why I believe that the Demonic has a lot to do with us choosing this type of discovery.  This is the level of communication that is necessary with the Demonic.  We stare into their eyes and then find out we are looking at ourselves.  I do believe that we are influenced by the Demonic to push ourselves to greater heights.  Pathworking, the act of performing a ritual or a group of rituals until anything that can be drawn from the act, is drawn.  I have to be honest, when I have anything that could be defined as “pathworking” it has come upon me by accident.  And many times I have not recognized it until it was over.  This is where I think the Demonic is communicating with me.  Driving me to continue the ritual work until some unseen lever clicks and I am satisfied.  And in turn they are satisfied that I have taken from the ritual or rituals that which was necessary.  I don’t believe pathworking can be done without the influence or the assistance of the Demonic.  Rituals can be done over and over and yes different things can be learned from each working, but unless it is in conjunction with the Demonic, I am not sure it could be called “pathworking”.


Pathworking is not an Enigma

Not too long ago I was talking to a young man about training for the priesthood.  He told me about how he’d gone through the training for priesthood in several other traditions and he was always left feeling like the training had no substance.  This left him jumping from tradition to tradition, looking for “the one” that gave him the challenge, depth and structure he so desperately sought.

I wasn’t surprised. I see it all the time; students looking down their nose at a curriculum that appears far too simple to be training for an office, role or title.

Now admittedly I can understand this frustration. A lot of traditions simply expect you to perform rituals X, Y, and Z, where you memorize lines and regurgitate them when asked to. It ends up looking and sounding like a bad High School production of Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus. They may even make you wait a year in between each of these scripted rituals, too, just to make the title at the end of the “training” a little more difficult to get.

Of course we get out of an education what we put into it. So perhaps the fault isn’t in the traditions or their training or their rituals. Perhaps the fault is in the student and their expectations of training for a “higher office”.

That’s the point in the conversation when I pointed out to this young man that all rituals and courses of study, especially the important ones leading you to a specific office or title, were all about the path-working.

Sure, you could do any ritual in an hour (or less) and walk away, calling it done. But when you really work a ritual by giving more than a mere two hours of your time, and really commit to working it by pondering and repeating it for months, working it backward and forward, you are path-working.

When you study a book and experiment with the material six ways to Sunday, that’s path-working.

That’s the difference between just reading a book or doing a ritual, and doing actual path-work.

The old traditions are full of path-work rituals and courses for study cleverly disguised as simple rituals meant to be worked in under and hour and lists of books to be read. But sadly the modern phenomena of the absence of teachers  combined with the instant gratification culture we live in doesn’t do a lot to facilitate path-work. Students don’t understand it because they don’t have a teacher to knowingly shake their head at them, give them a forlorn sigh, and say, “You’ve missed the point. Go back and do it over and this time, slow down and pay attention.”

Path-work actually requires you actually work it. You have to think about the rituals or the material you’re studying.  You have to follow where your questions, curiosity, and answers lead. This also means you have to question the very core of your beliefs and understand every aspect of every ritual and understand the intent behind every incantation uttered.

Path-work is not this enigma we are lead to believe it is and if you are the spiritual or magickal student you think you are, you’ll relish in the path-work and find depth for yourself by understanding that training for an office like the priesthood isn’t about just completing a ritual or reading (I’ve learned the bulk of students merely skim) through a bunch of books.

Instead, it’s about actually finding that one thing you missed and focusing on it for awhile. Then realizing the next thing and focusing on that until you feel you have mastered the lesson.

Several years ago I embarked on my Path of Ptah. When I initially started the ritual I was viewing it as a “becoming as the creator” or a creative force. It took me a year of doing the ritual over and over again, experimenting with it in different ways, thinking about it, studying it, and living the lessons it was teaching me before I discovered that I had missed the most important lesson of all. I was so busy focusing on the end result that I’d missed the lesson in process. So I took another year and focused on the process.

For those of you who don’t know, Ptah isn’t a long ritual. It takes about one hour each time it’s performed. So sure — I could have done my Path of Ptah in an hour and moved on to my next initiatory rite. But I didn’t. Having had the benefit of a teacher who taught me never to do anything in magick half-assed, I worked the ritual until I understood every crack and crevice and element of its design, not to mention all that it could potentially manifest. That little one hour initiatory rite took me two years to complete because I didn’t just do a ritual. I did path-work. I’ve just now moved on to my next “ritual” which I have no doubt I’ll path-work that one, too. That is how I do my magickal and self-work because that’s how I was taught to do it. Not to mention I feel a deeper connection to my magick through path-work.

So next time you find yourself rolling your eyes at some seemingly simple ritual  or course of study, take a step forward and look a little deeper. Chances are you need to slow down and pay attention because you’ve probably missed the point.

Pathworking to Empowerment

To be honest, I was nervous about this month’s writing topic. I was having a hard time nailing down the practice of pathworking, but after sitting down with my copy of The Complete Book of Demonolatry and searching for the area on pathworking that I remembered seeing, I had soon re-acquainted myself with it’s particulars. The passage isn’t very large, but it speaks of exploration and self-discovery. Growth through the exploration of what is new, interesting, and challenging to those on the path. Much like Bluemidknight, this is something I had been doing for some time as well, though perhaps under a different name. It even parallels a topic that I explore in my current book project, and so I would like to share an excerpt from that project for this month’s post. Here it is, I hope you all enjoy!


Often times there is a very negative stigma associated with indulgence, but Satanists view it as an important and vital part of spiritual life. To indulge, is simply to partake in that which makes one happy, nothing more. The negative stigma comes from numerous sources, such as the long-held christian belief that taking too much pleasure in something, is a sin. Satanists however, are expected to indulge and enjoy life as much as possible, for when sadness and sorrow are confronted, they too must be accepted and experienced to the fullest. Both sides of the spectrum, both halves of the whole, must always be respected and allowed to run their course. To not do so, would create an imbalance that would be just as unhealthy as a denial of both experiences completely.

Indulgence fuels and empowers the human spirit, and leads down a path of self-discovery and exploration. For one cannot indulge without knowing what it is that truly brings joy and fulfillment. Unhindered by dogma, Satanists are free to delve deeply within themselves to find what truly brings them joy and satisfaction in life. And once discovered, it is their duty to indulge and pursue that fulfillment and satisfaction whenever prudent. Because again, when sorrow or pain are encountered, there is no flight. A Satanist stands in the face of tribulation, and through the fortitude brought about by emotional balance and strength, weathers the encounter and becomes even more empowered than before. That which does not kill us, truly does make us stronger.

Pathworking mystery

It took me the longest time to figure out what Pathworking is.. I feel dumb now, since someone just explained to me what it was..   I’ve been doing that since I was young in the occult, it was called “ground and center time” or “meditation guidance”.  The rhythmic drum beat, ta ta ta ta ta ta    ta    ta   ta   ta   ta  ta  , the soothing voice of the high priestess and priest  telling us certain things, and the visual effects that our mind’s eye creates.  Felt like I was in occult kindergarden and it was nap time, it was incredible.  For a youth occult practitioner it helped me able to understand visualization with my mind’s eye, to connect, to feel, to sense what it was.. To understand how magick linked between the physical, mental, and spiritual planes.   I highly recommend it  if you have someone in your group that can do it, that understands the speed of drum beats and “key words”  ( rhythmic chanting, visual describing.)  I wish I was skilled in this area, but sadly I rely on a recordings..   Candle light, mysterious darkness, and the sound of a drum… ancient words spoken… images conjured in the mind..  wow really reminiscing a time period so long ago..

Pathworking February

This month the bloggers post about Pathworking. It does appear as two of our early month bloggers were unable to write for this month so please bear with us and hopefully some of our later month bloggers will come up with something nice for you.

Also, this month you’ll be able to get the Official Melissa Press debut title Infernal Colopatiron by S. Connolly.  I am anxiously awaiting my own copy. I’ve heard great things.  Watch tomorrow for the PayPal buttons on the Infernal Colopatiron page (for those of you who didn’t pre-order).

A relatively slow month on our path through 2012.


Bringing in the new

Each year always feels like we have a fresh slate, doesn’t it? We can start over with new routines or habits that we didn’t have before. I think once a year every magician should do a thorough cleaning of her energy and space. Some people do it in the spring time when they’re cleaning their house. Do it whenever you want and start to make it part of your yearly ritual. I think you’ll find it really works.

The first thing I do is gather up all the ritual tools, talismans, lamens and so on and take it all to the kitchen. Everything gets a thorough scrubbing. It’s dried. All stones and necklaces are put in a bowl with salt for a week.

I vacuum and dust my ritual room and I wash my altar cloths and the altar. Everything is gleaming when I’m done. I also check tools for wear and tear and replace them accordingly.

I will perform a ritual of cleansing on the entire room and fumigate it with a strong clearing incense. I reinforce all my wards.

Then I do a self purification ritual combined with an elemental balancing so I can start my year balanced and feeling new. I like to do this ritual on January first. Once all of this is done I feel better prepared to consider the magic I want to perform in the new year.

How often do you clean and clear your ritual space and what rituals do you do to start the year anew?

Setting Magical Goals

Setting goals in magic is no different to setting goals for other ordinary hobbies. For instance, this year I have set myself the task of putting on an extra couple of kilo’s of muscle and to improve my jujitsu. This is acheivable. If on the other hand I set my goal to this year I want 23 inch biceps and go from my first dan grade to my third – this is impossible. Do not set goals that you know cannot be reached – you will end up demoralised and put off improving yourself.

The same can be said when setting magical goals (apologies of the font has changed – something not quite right here, but I shall continue). My end goal is to be able to perform the classic Darth Vader “I find your lack of faith disturbing” neck pinch, but I know this will require quite a lot of work and also quite a lot of belief in myself to be able to achieve this. I have to believe myself that I am capable of doing this. If I don’t believe that I can do it, then no amount of ritual or ceremonial magick is going to help me. You have believe something is possible.

Hence, start small. Set small magical tasks such as maybe wanting an out of print book. Focus on the problem, and see what emerges. Don’t expect immediate results – things take time. I once wanted a tritium 24 hour display watch. I found one, and it was only available in the US (and it cost a lot). I could not find it in the UK at all. I contacted the supplier – no response. I so wanted this watch. About 3 months later, it appeared for sale on Amazon in the UK – for a mere £700 ! Suddenly I didn’t want as much. BUT, the watch became available. Sometimes this kind of experience teaches – did I really want the watch or not ? I have had very many experiences such as these, so I will not use coincidence to attempt to explain them. Using coincidence would weaken your self belief.

Keep your magic to yourself, even if you have great success. I believe that the ability to perform magic is not only down to self belief but it is also a gift given by the unseen. Blab about it, and the unseen may decide to take it off you.

As for ritual – that is up to you. Personally I believe that the use of magical tools are to help focus the mind to the job in hand. Elaborate ceremonial magick (Solomonic Goetia for example) is made deliberately complicated – puts off all but the very determined. You have to fish out the important parts from the unimportant.

Magic is a path that must be walked to the end, not just an afternoon stroll. Set your goals carefully and with thought.

Magickal Goals and You, and you and you and….

This is my first outing into anything even semi public for my thoughts and imagination.  So as the man said to the proctologist, “Be gentle”.

      First up is setting magickal goals.  The more I looked at this subject, the more questions I asked myself.  Which isn’t always a good idea if you are out and about and asking the questions out loud.  But I accepted the odd looks and continued to ask away.  First I wondered how is this any different then setting any old goal?  We all set goals all the time.  I set the goal two weeks ago that I would have my Christmas tree down by the beginning of the new year.  It’s still up.  I haven’t even made moves towards it in case it has the power to draw me in.  So how is a magickal goal any different from any other run of the mill day in and day out goal?  This is just my opinion, but usually magickal goals involve the Demonic Divine in some way.  Either by invoking their help or by simply asking for their presence.  Maybe asking for their advice or maybe just getting a feel for their thoughts on the matter.  The other question I asked myself was, who makes the magickal goal?  Is it just me that decides on something that I want to accomplish?  On the surface the answer to this would be yes.  I make my own decisions.  I know where I want to focus my energy.  Be it magickal or mundane.  Right?  Well not always.  Even in every day life some goals make themselves known regardless of my wants or desires.  For instance, a flat tire is discovered before work.  The goal of getting to work has now changed to first changing the tire to eventually getting new tires.  This goal imposed itself upon me.  The same can be said for magickal goals.  Most times I am in control.  I choose what my next magickal goal will be.  But sometimes circumstances dictate what the next goal will be.  Illness, for example, can bring up another magickal goal straight to the forefront.  Sometimes the choice of what goal is taken out of our hands by the Demonic.  Many of us have had the occasional nudge into a direction we weren’t expecting.  Sure, the decision is ultimately ours to make, but if there is a goal the Demonic Divine wants you to have, chances are good you will find that will eventually be your goal as well.  So is magick something that is just thrust upon us?  Something we may or may not have any control over?  Is it something special or is the same as vowing to take down a tree before the end of the new year?  Magick is something special.  That is innate in the word itself.  It is something by our will in conjunction with the Demonic.  In order to set any goals for ourselves in magick we need to listen to the Demonic.  If we don’t do that, setting goals in magick would be as random as saying random words in a different language without any knowledge of those words.  Once the goal is set to listen to the Demonic, then all other goals could be worked upon.   All of us know how to set goals, and we know to break those goals down into manageable portions.  But with magickal goals we don’t always take it to the other level.  Magickal goals are symbiotic in nature.  It is our will.  But it is also the Demonic’s will.  And we set our voices and our vibrations to harmonize with the Demonic.  Together is when we are able to set magickal goals.

A Rite of New Year Intent

I never start my year with magickal goals. I generally start my year with a new list of goals for project completion, self-work, or mundane things. This year my list looks like this:

First Quarter Goals:

  • Finish 3 projects in the first quarter
  • Clean out boxes and bookshelves in office.
  • Put together boxes for donation.
  • Taxes: Feb 15 to L.


Then I go through and break these goals down into smaller chunks in my task manager:

Project A

  • Finish writing by January 25.
  • Send to editor January 26.
  • Finish Editing by February 15.
  • Make corrections.
  • Check on page 9 artwork.
  • Galley proof due February 28.
  • Proof + Final Corrections March 15 – to print.


Once this is done I might look at my projects, compare them to the calendar, and schedule magickal work to help facilitate the project. If I’m having a rough time starting or completing, I may schedule a creative energy rite sometime during the first month. If I want prosperity for a project I might schedule a rite on a Thursday (Jupiter – prosperity and success) during the month of the book’s release. I may work an anti-theft curse on the book to deter pirating.

So in my case, the magickal goals are often secondary to the main goals.  However, sometimes magickal goals are on the yearly agenda. In previous posts people have mentioned magickal goals for learning divination or working on meditation. I don’t treat these goals any differently than I do any other project. Last year my goal was to concentrate and focus on the creative process as opposed to the end result. I accomplished that goal simply by observing and working fewer, more meaningful rites where I could concentrate on the process of creation (both magickal and with my writing).  This year my goal is to work my Lord of Khemenu Initiatory Rite (LoKIR). It’s about going back to the beginning to take a fresh look at things from a new perspective.

I also have a yearly rite for my new year goals that I perform every January and I want to share it with you.

Start by constructing your ritual space standard.  At the center of the room invoke your patron/matron for wisdom and guidance. At the altar, begin by copying your goals onto a sheet of paper. Read each goal aloud with strong intent. Seal the list with your sigil, the sigil of your patron/matron, and a drop of blood (use sexual fluid if you refuse to blood-let).  Burn it in the offering bowl. Perform any divination necessary about the goals. Close the circle standard.

I realize this may seem overly simplistic, but statements of intent are often simple. And yet they’re also powerful. There’s a great deal of power in words and the intent behind them.

Goals, Achievement, Progress

The custom of setting new resolutions or goals, right in line with the birth of a new year, seems entirely too Pagan of an idea to be of modern decent. At least to me, anyway.

That does not however, change the fact that the modern practice is an empty shell of what it could, or should, be. It only goes to show what the Will of Man, what our inner resolve and fortitude, has been ground down to. A half-hearted attempt to remedy some aspect of life that is lacking at the given time, with failure being expected and success seen as some sort of long shot due to the “difficulties” of the task.

A resolution to quit smoking, to be kept only until the first truly stressful day.

A proclamation of life-changing philosophy, only to be forsaken at the first opportune of convenience.

The fact that the practice of setting resolutions without intending to keep them is so prevalent, only further proves the decline of our collective resolve and strength of will. And a resolution is nothing more than those two things. A person resolving to strive for a goal, and then employing their own strength of will to adhere to the resolution and the pursuit of the goal. But when resolutions are made carelessly, or even worse, made with the predisposition to failure, it cheapens the entire endeavor and counter-acts what the process is supposed to be about. A personal resolution is essentially a promise made to oneself. But if even that kind of promise is made with the expectation of being broken, it can only lead to further personal and inter-personal promises being broken. For how can your word really mean anything to someone else, when it doesn’t even mean something to you?

Spiritual and Magical goals are immensely important. In an environment with such little structure and formal organization, one’s own personal goals are often the only markers of achievement and progress one has. It is for this reason why care must be taken as to what goals are set, and how they should be achieved. Unlike New Year’s resolutions, spiritual or magical goals must be met. For if a goal is not met, then there can be no progress onto the next goal, or the next achievement. If a goal has failed to be met, there can be many reasons as to why, such as the goal itself being too lofty, the time allotted to pursue the goal being too short, or simply the amount of effort put forth to achieving the goal being insufficient. Regardless, these are all things that should be responsibly contemplated before setting or re-evaluating a goal, so that success can be achieved and a new set of goals can be undertaken. Because it is this progression of success and achievement that builds confidence and forges inner fortitude and strength of will. The knowledge that one has succeeded, and will succeed again, if enough will is exerted. It is damn near impossible to perform any act of magic without a strong will. That is what (most) magic is. Human will, raised and directed. So whether they be short term, or long, spiritual and magical goals are essential to the spiritual and magical progression of any practitioner.

One of my short term goals for the coming year will be to finish and hang decorative pictures around my home that display Demonic Sigils, Enns, and prayers to begin the process of including more daily devotion in my life. One of my long term goals for the coming year will be to establish contact with at least two Demons from Demonolatry hierarchies. When these goals are achieved, more will be undertaken,  and the progression will continue.

“Remember, who dares, wins.” – Frater U.D.