When we talk about raising energy, what exactly are we talking about? We know that magick is one of the ways that energy work is done; obviously using energy to affect the world around us is a simplistic way to define magick. So, what’s the big deal about raising energy, anyway?
Simply put: when you want to do magick, sometimes you need more energy in the spell or work than your own body can hold or produce at any one moment in time. You need access to energy greater than yourself, and you often need energy that is not the same as your own energy. Different energy sources can have different vibrations and frequencies, as well as greater scope. We raise energy so that we don’t turn ourselves into batteries for spells.
Some easy ways to think about energy include very popular frameworks and ideas about the energy of life. From Chi or Qi to chakras and the aura, there are systems of thought and philosophy that tackle energy, and provide for methods to increase the energy held by any given person. Eastern philosophies give us the idea that breath is energy, as well as that energy moves into and through our bodies via channels, cycled through major energy centers. Prana and the Chakra System can help you visualize and internalize the ideas of energy movement and cycling. Reiki and energetic healing can provide another handy mental framework for conceptualizing and thinking about energy.
In Western systems, you’ll find a focus on so-called ‘classical’ elements, arising from Platonic philosophies. To go further in depth with the classical elemental energies, check out the Elemental Magick 101 course! Nordic paths call on similar elements, but most of what we know of Nordic magick relies on the Eddas, and seems to draw mainly on the energies of the Runes. If the Runes call to you, check out both Runes 101 and Runes 102. Druidic reconstructionist paths have explicated and drawn forth a seven element system that adds an element of spiritual orientation to the classical four element system.
In Western Occult traditions, the life force, or ‘elan vital’ has been known from antiquity. The energy used in Ceremonial Magick is the energy of life, pulled forth from the world around us, purified in the mind and soul, and poured into the magickal working.
So, let’s raise some energy!
In this course, you’ve already been manipulating your own energy field and body. When you Center, you bring your awareness of your self into your own body. This awareness is not your body, it is an aspect of your conscious mind, and your Self. By aligning your Self with your Body, you are pulling your energetic body into greater coherence and aligning it deliberately with your physical body. To Ground is to connect your energetic self with the world around you: you’re doing magick when you do this. It is a form of cleansing/clearing and is a type of energy raising exercise. To form a shield from this energy is to manipulate and direct energy: shielding is a very simple, rudimentary energy work and therefore is a spell, by definition.
When we raise energy, we connect ourselves to an energy source, pull energy from that source, and hold it in our mental hands.
As you Ground yourself, you are connected to the greater world around yourself. Up to this point, you have allowed energy to flow through you, completing a circuit that moves energy into and out of yourself. To raise energy, simply stop allowing the energy to flow back out of your energetic field. As with most things in Energy Work, this is simple to say, and yet can take some work to master.
If connecting to the energy of All That Is feels too overwhelming, you can connect to the energy of smaller sources. Everything that exists carries energy. We know that e=mc^2. Energy is fast matter, matter is slow energy; energy moves as both a particle and wave, is bounded by the laws of thermodynamics, and governed by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Everything vibrates to its own frequency, and thus emits and receives energy at differing frequencies. So you can pick up a rock, and feel the energetic vibration of that rock, connect to it, and use the energy of the rock to do magick.
When you connect with living things as your source for energetic work, it is possible to drain those living things of enough energy that you damage them. This holds true for plants, animals, and people. You can connect to anything that is alive and pull energy from it. Remember that the higher the life form, the more likely they are to object to what you’re doing, and that you may need to turn your ‘tool’ into an ‘ally’, and that alliances require a to and fro of mutual respect and maintenance. If you don’t respect your allies, they may choose to stop working with you. And if you don’t take care of your allies, potential future allies may refuse to work with you on the strength of your own energetic reputation alone.
In addition to embodied energetic allies, you can forge an alliance with a disembodied or non-corporeal entity. The world of astral beings, gods and djinn, elemental spirits, and others is vast and far stranger than you can think of. The course Occult and Entities 101 would be good for you, if you’re interested in forging alliances with non-corporeal beings. My best advice: proceed with caution, verify as much as you can with other sources, and be respectful of these beings. Alliances with forces from outside the embodied world can be powerful, and the consequences for upsetting your allies can be profound.
In Magick, there are Solo Practitioners, and those who work in a group.
In Solo energy work, you’ll use your own energy, as well as any allies you may have, to build your spells and work. Plants, herbs, crystals, stones, elemental energies, and the energy built up and stored in physical objects are all highly useful allies. For group work, you’ll find a group of like minded practitioners, and will pool your energy together, usually under the direction of a leader. In Wiccan ceremonies, this can take the form of a High Priest or Priestess. For Ceremonial works, the High Priest (not often a Priestess, but could be), would be the leader of the Work.
Coordinating a group of often fiercely independent free thinking magickal practitioners into a cohesive unit can be difficult to do. Adding in the directing and management of the energy raised in a group work to the task list for a group ritual means the leader of the work deserves some respect, just for being able to juggle flaming knives while reciting Shakespear.
Ok, so how do we raise energy?
Let’s talk about visualization.
Visualization is the mental discipline involved in bringing a concept to vivid life within one’s mental landscape; visualization is used to help manifest desired outcomes, by completely imagining and then believing in their reality. In self-help and energetic healing practice, visualization is used to bring a desired outcome to fruit. One visualizes oneself winning a race, giving a perfect presentation, or successfully asking out a crush on a date, and then, when the time comes to actually perform the task, the mental practice that the visualization provided makes the realized task easier, and has better outcomes. Olympic athletes, high performing CEOs, college students, and more all use visualization to help them with their tasks.
How does visualization help with magick?
If you can hold the idea of your spell in your mind, see the outcome of it, feel the completion and end point within your reach, your spell will be stronger and easier to cast and have it do its work. The more fully you can see the desired outcome, the more likely you are to reach it. Visualization helps you build the spell, by being very clear about the outcome. With no clear desired outcome, you’ve built a lovely engine with no steering wheel.
What if you can’t visualize? People with aphantasia have trouble ‘seeing’ with their mind’s eye. They don’t picture things in their mind, and have trouble imagining images. If you can’t ‘see’, visualization can feel like an impossible task. It’s not. You just need to expand your definition of what it means to hold an outcome in your mind. And, expanding that definition can be useful for those who can visualize strongly, because sometimes the desired outcome will be intangible, and thus, hard to picture.
Instead of merely picturing a static image in your mind, think of how you will feel, when your spell works. What exactly is the outcome you want? Will there be a scent, or a texture associated with the outcome? What emotions will it evoke? What changes in your life, your Self, the world around you will there be? Can you hold within your mind all those effects? That end point, the cumulative effect of all the things your spell is designed to do, that is what you must concentrate on, and hold in your mind.
Sigils are useful because they are a mimetic device: a cognitive tool designed to convey information about a much larger concept. “Roy G. Biv” is a mimetic device, used to help hold the order of colors for the entire spectrum of light. Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. A sigil, likewise, holds far more information inside it than it appears on the surface. When you build a sigil, or use a magick square to create a symbol, or refer to the Gematria or other systems, you’re building a shortcut that is easier to hold in your mind than the entire full concept. You can condense your spell’s end point down into a sigil, symbol, or other easy to mentally concentrate on image.
You can also condense your spell to a phrase, a bit of rhyme or jargon, a hand motion, a fidget gesture… there are no real limits to what you use to encompass your spell’s endpoint.
Nitty Gritty Time
You’ve got your end point in mind, you’re certain you want to do your spell, time to raise the energy for it!
Hang on, we’re going to talk about charging, blessing, and enchanting in a couple lessons further in. You may feel ready, but there’s a bit between where we are now and where you need to be. In between raising energy and casting a spell we need to talk about how to move the energy around. As a basic, super simple primer: raise energy by connecting to the source of the energy you want to use.
You must first learn to feel your own energy. The Grounding, Centering, Shielding exercise is an excellent way to practice feeling your energetic field. It also helps you learn to feel the energy of the world around you. When you are Grounded, you are connected to the energy around you. It flows through you. Practice holding more energy in your field while grounded, by allowing energy to flow in, but not out again. Visualize yourself inflating, like a balloon, filled by the wind. Or a wheel in a river, spinning, and transforming that spinning energy into work done on a grist mill, or saw blade. If you feel as though you’re holding too much energy, simply release it to the flow the same way you do when you Ground to release negative or stagnant energy. You know how it feels when you are low energy. How do you feel when you are holding energy? Practice holding energy, raising energy, and feeling your own energy, and the energy of the world, and things, around you.