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Working with the Elements
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
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GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Magical Mysteries of the Human Body
Article ID: 11056
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Taylor Ellwood [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 28th. 2007
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The human body is a miracle that allows us to deepen our bond with our environment and ourselves. In my book, Inner Alchemy (Immanion Press, November 2006), I deal with the spirituality of the body. One facet of that spirituality is learning how to work with the physiology of your body instead of being at its mercy.
A common belief about the body is that the various processes that occur in it are entirely automatic. But this is a misconception. They can be controlled to some degree. You can, for instance, slow down or speed up your heart rate with just your thoughts. This process simply involves conscious focus on the heartbeat.
Touch your neck and feel the pulse, or Heart Beat Rate (HBR), and focusing on that sensation, take your finger away. As long as you are focused on that sensation you will still feel it at your wrists, feet, and other parts of the body. Your conscious awareness on that sensation will allow you to recognize that itís a sensation you always feel, but have learned to tune out because of external distractions.
Once you have that awareness in place you can then try to speed up or lower your HBR. Mentally tell your heart to speed up or slow down while having someone monitor your HBR. This may take some effort to accomplish, but once you can do it, you can use this approach to help yourself relax more deeply.
While controlling the HBR is useful for relaxation purposes, there are many more mysteries of the body to explore. For instance, a personís electro-chemistry controls his or her moods. The electro-chemistry of the body is electronic impulses and chemical hormones that the central nervous system uses to regulate the bodyís various functions.
But a person doesnít need to be at the mercy of his or her central nervous system. It is quite possible to modify it. One technique involves personifying the neurotransmitters (i.e. chemicals) that are secreted by into your body.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that control the emotions and moods a person feels as well as running other processes of the body that keep it functioning. For instance, serotonin modifies a personís mood. It responds to the amount of light a person takes in, and if a person doesnít have enough serotonin s/he will become depressed. This neurotransmitter can be personified and worked with as an entity. This is useful if you are suffering from depression, but itís also useful for the interaction you have with your body in general.
Something that is important to note is that the neurotransmitters interact with each other, so while just working with one neurotransmitter can be helpful, working with all of them will give you access to how they work together. Iíve done only a couple of workings with multiple neurotransmitters so far, but each time the work has proven very helpful for physical, emotional, and mental healing that was needed.
The way I contact neurotransmitters involves using meditation. Whatever meditation approach you use will be sufficient for this technique. I usually lie down and take a hundred breaths, using the bellows breath technique of breathing in and out continuously. This form of breathing uses the diaphragm, which exercises the fullest capacity of the lungs to draw breath in.
Once youíve gotten into an altered state of mind, let your consciousness submerge itself into your body, becoming a cell so that you become a part of your body. To become a cell let your consciousness transform into a particle of light and merge that light into the structure of the cell.
A good first journey for your body is to travel through it in a blood cell, exploring all of it and getting a sense of how it works. When working with neurotransmitters I usually use a brain cell, but not always! Sometimes you may find yourself drawn to another part of the body where the neurotransmitter does its work. One example is Arginine, which helps with blood circulation. When I first worked with it, my consciousness found itself in the internal organs in my lower back.
Once you are in your body, mentally call out to the neurotransmitter, asking it to appear before you. If it doesnít appear right away keep calling to it. Eventually itíll appear, although in a couple of cases Iíve had to do a meditation several days in a row before meeting the neurotransmitter entity I wanted to interact with.
Iíve found that the appearance a neurotransmitter takes will vary from person to person and may be very strange indeed! The appearance of serotonin, for me, was a six-eyed red snake, but for someone else working with me it was a blue duck. Once Iíve found the entity, Iíll talk with it to find out how it helps my body function. Iíll also ask for a symbol from it that represents it and that I can use to interact with it when I need to.
As with the neurotransmittersí appearance, the symbol I receive is uniquely mine. In the workshops I teach on this technique, other people have always gotten different symbols than what I received. However all of us have experienced the same effects that the neurotransmitter entity generates for the body, regardless of the differences in appearance and symbols. The appearance and symbols are customizable to each person. Whatever will create the greatest amount of receptivity for people is what will be most useful for them as well.
Once youíve obtained a symbol for the neurotransmitter, it is possible to do more work with them. For instance, Iíve worked with Serotonin to help me moderate my emotions. By slowing down the rate that serotonin is reabsorbed into the brain Iíve insured that the neurotransmitter has more time to actually do the work it needs to do in my electro-chemical system.
I did this by using the symbol to call up the entity and then asked it to slow down itís cycle of life in my body. It agreed to and since then my emotions have been more moderated. I do recommend that readers not replace professional medical help with this kind of work, but instead use it to supplement whatever else the medical professionals are having you do.
A magician by the name of Austin Osman Spare coined a term for personalized symbols, the alphabet of desire. The idea is that a person creates this personal alphabet to represent specific concepts and ideas. I used Spareís concept of the alphabet of desire to work with the entities. I realized that a personalized system of working with them would be better than creating a generic system that not everyone would identify with. Each person who works with the neurotransmitter entities is able to form his or her own experiences and relationships with those entities, instead of relying on a prescribed and expected appearance and behavior.
Working with your neurotransmitters can be an enlightening experience as it reveals some of the hidden wonders of your body. But there are many more secrets to explore. I found that until I began actively exploring the spirituality of my body that I didnít have a real appreciation of the environment around me. It was only when I actually explored my body and realized what a miracle it was that I began to realize that how I treated the environment was also how I was treating body. The two are interrelated and cannot be split apart and divided.
Think of the food you eat, for instance. Where does it come from? How were the animals and plants treated? Were they given hormone treatments or pesticides? How do those substances affect the health of the body? When you realize what you put into your body, in terms of food alone, you realize as well that the choices you make with what you buy affects the environment and what you will continue to put into your body. Itís an ongoing cycle of interconnection. By working with your body you can begin to gauge how you interact with the environment. You begin to learn what you can do to take better care of your body and in turn become a more responsible steward for the Earth.
I often hear at festivals how people believe in mother Earth and the environment while at the same time poisoning themselves and others by smoking a pack of cigarettes. I wonder, though, how in touch people can be with the environment if they arenít even aware of how they are toxifying their bodies with the poisons in cigarettes? It is only in getting in touch with our bodies and how they support us and give us the miracles of the sense and experiences that we can even begin to realize what an impact we have on ourselves and the environment by how we take care of those bodies.
Donít be surprised that if you start exploring the spirituality of your body, you might just realize what a connection it gives you to everything around you.
Copyright: Copyright Taylor Ellwood 2006
Location: Portland, Oregon
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