Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Gregory Peters, author of The Magickal Union of East and West.
I enjoy traveling, and will fly overseas as often as possible to explore different regions. Spending an overcast day slowly wandering through the ruins of Pompei; climbing up the winding path of of Lykabettos to get a great view of the Acropolis; navigating through the chaotic and cacophonous streets of Bombay during Navratri in order to sit at a Durga pandal; spending the night sitting in contemplation on the banks of the Bagmati river, watching the strangely sweet smoke and ashes of the cremation ghats at Pashupatinath continuously drifting up to the stars…these experiences are liminal moments, where all that is familiar is discarded and I am cast into new and unfamiliar territory.
One thing that keeps me centered during such travels is keeping up with a daily practice. For example, while trekking in the Khumbu region of the Himalayas, I maintained a nightly sadhana that I had committed to work with for 9 months. In maintaining this practice under often strenuous and unfamiliar circumstances, I was able to go deep into the practice and learn to discern what was essential, and how to immerse completely into the heart of the practice in any situation.
During such travels, I found that my entire day would tend to revolve around the practice, and aspects of it would extend outwards, bleeding into other parts of my day. When eating, for example, I am more mindful of the food. When trekking, every step becomes the beat of the mantra. The elements come to life as well; for example, when in Nepal the wind blowing in the Himalayan ranges was the sound of Dakinis flying through the sky towards me.
When doing a regular practice while traveling, whether in a completely foreign country for weeks, or a weekend away, or even at a friend’s house overnight, it becomes necessary to know what is essential to your practice. I prefer to travel light, so anything that I bring with me has to be essential. These days I will often only have a mala with me; anything else I will rely on my ability to find exactly what I need at the required time. Sometimes it may be more efficient, and a great practice of mental development, to perform your entire ritual astrally by visualizing every aspect of it. In this way, the practice also integrates into the experience of movement, and the dynamic qualities that are stirred up by being in unfamiliar locations add to the overall energy that is fed into your rites.
One practice that I have found particularly helpful when traveling is to introduce yourself to the local spirits and guardians in any location you find yourself, and to give an offering to placate them. Not only is it polite (you are the guest visiting their home, after all), but it is also beneficial to your own work to ensure that the entities of any new place are acknowledged and welcomed into your practice (or, at least appeased so that they will not interfere or cause obstacles in your journey).
If you can, sit down in a central spot or one that feels as though it is a good location to communicate. Carry a pack of matches or a lighter, a small candle, and a stick of incense in your bag if possible. Light the candle first, and mentally invite the spirits to you. You can say something like, “Sprits and Guardians of this Place, I ask that you welcome me into your abode and assist me in my journey. Take these offerings in peace.” If you are very visual, you may see one, several, or clouds of entities approaching. If you don’t see anything, just know that they are present and try to feel them near you. Invite them to come and take from the light of the candle whatever they may require for food. On the astral the light is transformed into endless offerings.
Next, light the incense from the candle flame, and again offer the scent and smoke to the spirits as perfumed nectar. Rub your hands together until they are heated up, then extend them outward, palms forward, and feel the energy flowing from your body toward the spirits, where they transform it again into vast offerings of whatever they require.
See the spirits enjoying the great feast you have offered to them, or simply know that they have accepted it and are pleased. Thank the spirits for their hospitality in welcoming you to their land, and for assisting you in your travels. In this way, you will not only have a more enjoyable trip, but may possibly have made new allies that will be willing to assist you in your future work.
Our thanks to Gregory for his guest post! For more from Gregory Peters, read his article “Ceremonial Magick: Reuniting Yourself with the Natural World.”