I feel like a lot of people want to get started doing energy work, but just lack the basic understanding of, well, ~how~.
Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been studying energy work and paganism and religion and all this weird esoteric stuff since, oh, forever. At least since 1996, in the spring semester, having been pretty well broken by the first semester of my college career, plunged into an un-diagnosed depression, feeling abandoned by my faith and religious leaders, lost in a miasma of uncertainty and loss… and something about the possibilities in neo-pagan practices just felt right. I started where a lot of folks start, with Wicca, and then added Ceremonial and Chaos Magic(k) on top, just to really round out my exploration.
Let’s define some terms, first.
Energy work is any effort that you undertake using your mind, heart, soul, and etheric energy to create change in the world. You may also use your physical body, since the physical is just embodied energy.
Magic/Magick is energy work.
Etheric body is the part of ~you~ that isn’t just the physical meat and bones walking around. The “I” that thinks.
Kitchen witchery, ceremonial magic(k), and chaos magic all have the same basic underlying structure, and differ in superficial yet important ways.
The basic structure for any energy work runs like this: first, you identify a need or desire. From there, you figure out how to meet that need or desire; will real world effort suffice, or do you need to add some energetic oomph to get the job done? Once you decide to do energy work, you select the form that work will take. Gather your ingredients, make sure you have time and space to create your work, raise energy, direct said energy, finalize the work, and then clean up. Sounds simple, right?
Kitchen witchery uses simple forms for energy work and spells.
A kitchen witch’s work is usually very fast, with little prep needed ahead of time. The position of the stars and moon seldom play a part in kitchen witchery, and formal structures are optional. A bit of energy work for a kitchen witch can be as simple as stirring coffee while imbuing it with vigor and intention for the day. The strength of kitchen magic is that it can be done with improvised tools, with very little fore-notice or planning, and can be completed quickly.
Ceremonial magic(k) can be very complex.
While the basic bones are the same, in ceremonial work there is considerably more complexity and preparation needed. Some works in ceremonial magic(k) can take months to prepare for and complete. Some works are precursor works, building the tools to use in later even more complex workings. The downside to Ceremonial Magic(k) is the complexity and time needed to accomplish anything. The strength of it is that the works, when complete and correctly done, are impressively strong, long lasting, and powerful.
Chaos magic, depending on the practitioner, is somewhere between kitchen witchery and ceremonial magic(k).
Chaos magic shares a lot of practices in common with Ceremonial magic(k), but often uses shortcuts and replacements to make the work move faster. You get some of the speed and responsiveness of kitchen work, and the strength and power of Ceremonial.
Energy Work Bare Bones Basics!
For all the different styles of energy work, all of them require that you raise energy, hold the energy, direct energy, and then return to baseline. Here’s how to raise energy (or at least, one method): start by grounding and centering yourself, to ensure that you’re starting from neutral. The visualization of yourself as connected to the world around you, part of a complete circuit that you hold in mind as part of grounding? You’re going to slightly alter your visualization. Instead of feeling energy flow through you, equalizing yourself, energy will flow into you, but not back out again. Some people can feel the energy flowing into and around themselves, some see it, and some folks have to take it on faith that their visualization is correct. It takes practice to get fast, accurate, and powerful. Repetition is key; Ceremonial magic(k) has built in repetition, and that’s part of why it’s powerful and strong. Borrow the idea of repeated work to build strength, and work on learning to pull and hold energy through daily meditation and visualization.
You’re going to use your imagination and ability to harness your willpower to make change in the world and in yourself.
Energy work is about believing in yourself and your ability to do the work on a basic level. If you don’t feel that you can do it all on your own, you can branch out from energy work alone and invoke or evoke spiritual or divine beings to help you out. In fact, that’s why prayers and intercessory spells exist! We call on our gods and goddesses to help us out when our own will alone isn’t enough. But, calling on divine or spiritual beings, while a type of energy work, isn’t kitchen, chaos, or ceremonial work! When you bring in outside spiritual entities to help you out, you’ve moved into divine magic, and, depending on pantheon and practice and religion and dogma, well, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. (And a future blog post, too.)