Dealing with ones fears and so-called shadows is essential to the aspiring magician. Only through continously facing and conquering our shadows can we put ourselves truly in charge of our lives. Being in touch with, and realistic about "the dark night of the soul" is also a tool against the most dangerous, and common, sickness of the magician: megalomania and paranoia.
It appears that the majority of humans in this society go through life in a moderately depressed state. It seems that people avoid major mood changes, preferring to be more or less miserable at all times. One who does not know the deep pit of fear and depression will also never know the high altitudes of ecstasy.
This ritual is designed to get people in touch with their shadows and to overcome them. Our fears and depressions are in fact our demons and shadows. For the individuals who refuse to deal with them they become ever more treacherous and powerful. To quote Fra.: U.D.: "If you lock the demons in the basement they are going to blow up your house!"
Paraphernalia: Black altar cloth, one black candle, tarot card XVIII (The Moon), Hecate or Moon/Pluto incense, tapes with appropriate music (Diamanda Galas "The Saint of the Pit" and Laibach "Life is Life), white votive candles in glass containers, one for each participant, to be used to cast out unwanted shadows.
-Banishing ritual of personal preference.
-Statement of intent: "It is our will to face and overcome our shadows".
-Five minutes of guided pranayama during which the instrumental portion of the Diamanda Galas is played. The Magister Templi guides the pranayama by raising and lowering his or her hands over the altar in time with the breathing. He or she should begin to slow the breathing down gradually in order to allow all of the participants to tune in and breathe simultaneously.
-At the end of the instrumental portion of the tape participants form a circle facing outwards, for we must conquer our shadows by ourselves. Here a guided meditation follows while the music continues:
Remember a time in your life when you were truly miserable, you have become terribly depressed, you feel you have no value, your love has betrayed you, life is pain.
You begin to feel very weak now, all your will power is gone and you are frightened. Your knees are shaking, no strength, no hope, nothing can help you now.
Lie down on the floor, curling up in an embryonic position, you are alone, nobody is present to help you, all of your friends have left, your parents have long since departed. You have nothing any more, terrified you lay there.
This is the dark night of the soul, you are completely obsessed by pain, insanity, depression. You begin to go insane with misery as the shadows around you begin to cackle with delight. There is naught you can do in the paralyzing anxiety. There is absolutely nobody there to assist you. All that remains is total surrender...
(All of this litany should have been read in a slow enough fashion to allow the participants to trance out and the tape to end. During the rest of the meditation the M.T. moves about lighting the candles one by one.)
Yet in darkness there is light! Feel the life force returning to you. Feel your heartbeat strong and vigorous, fill your lungs with air, roll onto your back and stretch. Stretch your body as though it were recently awakened from a long deep sleep. Stretch with your arms, legs, back and neck. You are attempting to touch the universe, open your senses and your eyes as wide as they possibly can be. Get up and take your candle from the altar, passing it over your body. Cast out all that is not strong, healthy, vibrant and whole. Tune in completely with the light and allow it to heal you. Take your time allowing its rays to permeate your being, cleansing every aspect. Make certain there is nothing left that is not light, bright and strong.
When you are ready, replace the candle upon the altar in the middle of the temple. (At this point place the Laibach tape in the player if you desire.)
-All partcipants hold hands and move rhythmically around the altar, ever faster, drawing the combined life force within.
-At the climax of the circumambulation collapse to the floor whilst performing a laughter banishing.
-Closing banishing of preference if desired.