Recently, I heard a series of advertisements for a mortuary. In them, parents mention that they’re planning for their deaths, and adult children or friends consider the topic to be morbid and something to avoid. This is because most Westerners, inculcated in the orthodox Christian “one life and you’re through” philosophy, fear death.
But sometimes, you have to face death. Many years ago I was a member of an occult group that would mention in their rituals what they called the greatest of all mysteries: life, and what comes before; and death, and what comes after. I didn’t think much of that at the time, but it hit home for me almost seven years ago when I had a near death experience.
A few months ago these thoughts struck me again when I went into the hospital with acute renal failure. I was only there for three days before my body started on the path of health again and I was released. The doctors never did figure out the cause. But I could have died. What does death mean? Do we only have one life? In the words of singer Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?”
One of my favorite books that discusses this question is Death: Beginning or End? by Dr. Jonn Mumford. This book is about the alchemy of changing your life so that every moment of your life can be happier and filled with contentment. It reveals the technique of using the gayatri mantra to retard aging processes and end blind reincarnation. I highly recommend this book to also give a positive attitude on how life and death are really different sides of the same coin and that both can be experienced and appreciated.
You can prepare for the gayatri meditation by learning the mantra even before you get the full explanation and instructions in the book. One of the most popular versions of the mantra goes like this:
Aum Boor Boo-vah S’vah
Tat Sah-vih-toor Vah-ren-yahm
Bar-go Devass-yah Dee-mah-hee
Dee-yo Yo Nah Prah-cho-dai-yaht
A loose translation would simply be, “Almighty divine One, we pray that you impel us in the right direction.” Among many Hindus it is considered the Maha (great) Mantra and is possibly the most popular mantra in India.
What Comes After
It is only logical that if the cycle of life is more than "one time and it's over"—if reincarnation is a fact—then we should be able to remember our past lives. In Modern Magick I show why, according to the Kabalah, we lose most of our memories of past lives. But that doesn’t mean we can’t recapture them and learn from them.
If you have never explored past lives, or are a “debunker,” you may believe that most people who remember past lives think they were Cleopatra or Napoleon in a past life. In actuality, it is quite rare that people were famous in past lives. Famed occultist Dion Fortune adds that a famous past life does not give glory to this life as much as it makes one wonder what happened in between to bring you to this lower state.
So don’t expect to discover that you were someone famous in a past life. However, you can learn a great deal from previous lifetimes. If you would like to learn about your past lives you might check out Practical Guide to Past-Life Memories by Richard Webster. This amazing book features twelve methods you can use to remember your past lives, including how to use dreams, past-life regressions, scrying, dowsing, meditation, and more.
I always find Webster’s books to be clear and practical. However, if you prefer the style of Ted Andrews, you might like his book, How to Uncover Your Past Lives. In it he reveals how to use techniques such as self-hypnosis, meditation, dowsing, and crystal work to help you remember past lives. Both books are excellent and can help you discover your past lives. Just select the author with the style you prefer, or get them both.
The Magick of Change
There is a strong link between the mind and magick, so much so that some people would contend that all magick is nothing more than working with the mind and that virtually everything magickal—from astral projection to evoking spirits or causing physical changes—is nothing more than the imagination at work. People will form their own opinions as to whether the astral plane, spirits and magick are “real” (external from us) or just parts of our mind—what I’ve called the psychologization of magick.
Whatever you believe, or even if you haven’t made up your mind as yet, there are definitely things you can do to make powerful changes in your life. One such change involves getting rid of those things that are no longer needed in your life. A method for doing this that I describe in Modern Magick is the “I.O.B. Technique.” The letters stand for Identify, Objectify, and Banish. As its name implies, there are three basic steps to using this technique to make changes in your life, and you can certainly adapt it to any style of magick you wish to do.
First, you need to identify exactly what it is that you want to get rid of. Be as specific as possible. For example, perhaps you wish to stop biting your fingernails. That’s more specific than “feel better about myself.” Make sure it is something tangible. Give it a name. For this example, we’ll use “Grollstadtzimmer.”
Second, you need to turn this into an “object.” You can see Grollstadtzimmer as a type of person, a hideous monster, an amorphous cloud, or something else. Spend some time visualizing it, seeing it respond to the name you have given it, and know that it is your nail biting. See it and put all of the feeling and emotion you can into this process. In your visualizations, see threads of energy between it and you. That is the power Grollstadtzimmer has over you, making you bite your nails.
Finally, do a banishing ritual. Cut all of those energy threads as part of the ritual and send Grollstadtzimmer away. An advancement to the technique that I’ve been working on recently involves renaming the entity and having it actually change to where it is helping me, perhaps by encouraging a desire for healthy nails.