As I described in Modern Magick, one of the important tools of a magician is pathworking. The concept behind this skill is simple. It holds that the Tree of Life is a map of the levels of the astral plane.
The Tree of Life
Design: Kircher ——— Colors: Golden Dawn “Queen Scale”
In my book I wrote, “Magicians can use this map to chart their way to meeting with higher spiritual entities, non-physical consciousnesses capable of giving any information needed.”
For this post, that leaves a lot of questions. First is the term “pathworking” itself. When I first became involved with the practice, the term exclusively described the process of projecting astrally up the Tree of Life. Over time, however, the term “pathworking” became so popular it came to mean “any visualized journey.”*
For a time I kept trying to say that pathworking was not just a visualized journey, but that was like trying to hold back the ocean’s tides…using a bucket…with holes in the bottom. It wasn’t going to happen. So now I refer to the original form of pathworking as Kabalistic Pathworking and only request that when people use the term “pathworking” they define what they mean.
So the Tree is a map of the astral planes, and the goal of Kabalistic Pathworking is to use the map as a guide to traverse those planes. The obvious question is how does one get to the first level of the map? That is, how does one astral project?
There are lots of good books on the subject. You can find a great list of books here: LINK. In Modern Magick I give some methods to prepare yourself and then astral project, too.
In this post, however, I want to share one of the simplest, most direct, and easiest ways I’ve ever found to project. I call it:
Doors and Gates
The concept behind this is simple. The image of the Tree of Life above, theoretically, is a map of the astral planes. But as you can see, it’s incomplete. The paths between the sephiroht, the colorful way stations on that design, are blank. One of the key secrets of occultism is that they are (or have become) linked to the major arcana cards of the Tarot:
Image by Alan SyncBookPress
So if the Tarot major arcana cards are the roads through the astral plane, how do you travel on the roads? How do you get there?
In NLP there is a presupposition that the map is not the territory. Maps only represent the reality. Similarly, the major arcana cards do not show the full extent of what is on the paths. Rather, they function like doors and gates to the paths, indicating some of the things you may find on a particular path.
So our doorway to the Tree of Life could be The World card, known as The Universe card in the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot:
Unfortunately, unless you have a treat like Alice in Wonderland, a Tarot card is too small to function as a door or gate to the astral plane. And that is where your very powerful magickal tool, your mind, comes in.
- Take the card and stare at it for a few minutes. Get the image firmly embedded in your mind.
- Imagine, visualize, create the concept of the image growing in front of you. Continue this until it becomes very large, at least eight feet tall.
- Imagine, visualize, create the concept of that giant image becomes a door or gate. Some people prefer to think of it as embroidered onto a magnificent curtain.
- In your mind’s eye, imagine, visualize, create the concept that the door or gate in front of you opens (or the curtains spread to the sides).
- Step through into the astral plane
That’s it. Look around. Get comfortable and return. In my next post I’ll talk about what you can do after you project: astral travel.
- Do this in a place where you can assure yourself of privacy while you practice.
- Do a banishing ritual before and after the practice.
- Don’t strain! If you repeatedly strain your mind will link straining and struggling to astral projection and you’ll always have to strain and struggle to project.
- The goal of the Golden Dawn for this process was to travel on the Tree of Life. If you feel no need to do that, try this process with any card from your Tarot.