At Clockwork Alchemy this year, I tuned up my DIY Secret Society presentation so it was less history and more “how to.” And as part of that, I added a pathworking ritual, which I thought would be fun to share here.
A pathworking is a guided meditation along a path on the Qaballistic Tree of Life. The goal is to open up your mind and prepare you for magical work. The first path, from Malkuth to Yesod, is designed to open one to the astral planes.
Ready? Get comfortable, relax, and…
Follow your breath, letting go of the tension and stress of the week. Let it all go, and breathe in peace and light. Spiral all the pieces of yourself you’ve scattered out into the world back into your heart’s space so you are right here, right now.
Imagine you stand in a flat clearing atop a grassy hill. To the south, smoke billows from a forge. To the west, a stream tumbles over rocks, turning a waterwheel in front of a stand of eucalyptus trees, their scent sharp. To the east, the ground drops away, so that you can see airships floating through distant clouds. To the north, the ground rises, framing the mouth of a cave temple.
Before you, in the center of the clearing, stands a stone altar, a foot high, roughly shaped. Atop it is a copper chalice filled with honey and alongside it a glittering knife. A brass pentacle with a gear in its center stands beside resin burning on coal in a tiny iron cauldron.
The wind shifts, and you imagine you can feel the heat from the forge. The stream burbles, and the waterwheel creaks steadily. Birds call to each other from the east. But from the north, where the mouth to the temple awaits, is cool silence.
Your footsteps soft on the grass, you walk to the temple mouth, cut into the hillside. You enter the cave temple. Light from the entrance illuminates three passages: one to the right, one to the left, and a center path, leading straight ahead. Above the middle passage is the image of a pomegranate, and you take this path.
You descend on the path, your footsteps echoing on the uneven, gray stone. Reaching above you, you trail your hand along the cave ceiling, cool and rough beneath your fingers. As you move further in, the cave grows darker. But a pinpoint of light shines ahead. You walk toward it. The walls seem to slowly fall away, the passage widening, changing. Now, you are no longer walking through stone. The rock walls have changed into trees with wide, gray trunks. You keep walking and spaces grow between the trees until you find yourself in another clearing with tall, green grasses and surrounded by pomegranate trees. On the opposite side is another temple. It looks Greek and is circular, ringed by columns.
The sun warms your back. Dragonflies skim with shiny wings along the tops of the grasses. One stops before you long enough for you to see it is no insect, but a clockwork fairy in a top hat. It speeds off to join the others.
The clockwork fairies rise into the air, their wings shimmering in the golden light, and it seems to you that they are flying in a looping pattern, like a flock of birds. In their swirling movements you seem to see a symbol. What is it? Slowly, you walk towards the fluttering elementals, then around them, trying to bring the shifting image into focus. They move clockwise, ever clockwise, and you find yourself moving clockwise with them, to the opposite side of their circle, where the Greek temple stands.
You walk away from the elementals and to the Greek temple. On the door is carved a crescent moon, and the door opens at your touch. Inside, the walls are smooth white stone. You walk down a steeply sloping corridor to a curved doorway with a copper number nine high in the center. Opening the door, you step inside.
The room is filled with swirling purple-tinted mist and lit from below. You have entered the temple of Yesod, Foundation, the beginning of the etheric planes. Matter lies in Malkuth, the temple you just left, but the elemental forces binding matter together, giving it life, are here. Yesod represents your life’s blueprint, and is made up of your memories, your subconscious, your thoughts and beliefs, and your instinctual body.
Bells tinkle faintly at the edge of your awareness. In the mist, forms swirl. Are they people? Memories? In the center of the room stands an altar, a giant, nine-sided amethyst. Notice if there is anything upon the altar. Notice how the altar makes you feel.
When you are ready to depart, turn towards the door you came through. A copper number 32 is on its back. Leave through the door. You find yourself in a new tunnel, sloping upward. You walk up the tunnel, step by step, up and up, and emerge in the clearing where you began, the temple entrance at your back to the north, airships sailing in the eastern sky, the waterwheel turning in the west, the forge burning in the south.
Take a deep breath. Feel the breath fill your lungs. Feel your feet on the ground, the coolness of the air on your cheeks, and begin to return to this place. When you’re ready, open your eyes and stretch. You have returned to the mundane world.
About the Author
Kirsten Weiss is the author of the Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery series: The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, The Shamanic Detective, The Infernal Detective, The Elemental Detective, and The Hoodoo Detective. She’s also the author of two paranormal proto-steampunk novels, Steam and Sensibility and Of Mice and Mechanicals.
Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking good wine (and even some of the not-so-good stuff).