Most Important Lesson in Magick and Witchcraft
Once a student has mastered the basic regimen of practicing meditation, casting a magic circle, undergoing trance, raising power for basic kinds of workings and performing the simple liturgies for Sabbats and Esbats, then the next and most important step in learning to be a witch and ritual magician is to master the rite of godhead assumption. In my system of magick a godhead assumption is an essential practice that everything else is based on. If you are working a system of ritual magick that employs immersion as its central tenant and foundational mechanism (such as the one that I have proposed in my writings) then you had better know how to automatically assume a godhead in order to protect and also empower yourself while practicing this type of magick.
According to my teachings, a godhead assumption is the key to the mysteries and the primary mechanism for fully experiencing the five mysteries in all of their awe, majesty, glory and power. I believe that this technique is so important in my system of magick that it is one of the major topics taught to a student, and once it is mastered, it should become an automatic process. An experienced ritual magician should be able to shift into their assumed godhead automatically when undergoing the preparatory work for a ritual working.
Even before the student considers mastering the simple ritual of godhead assumption, they must first determine which God or Goddess they are going to assume. When they have made this determination, then they need to develop a relationship with that Deity using regular forms of worship, adoration, focused meditation, devotions, votive offerings and other liturgical operations. Yet the technique of discovering one’s personal godhead is neither an easy nor obvious process, or at least it shouldn’t be. The mystery of being a human being is that we simultaneously possess a material body, a mind and a spirit, and that makes realizing something that is completely spiritual and intangible more subtle and complex than it might otherwise be. To enter into the very core of our spiritual being requires an undistracted effort that our body and mind will all too easily thwart. The layers of flesh, emotions and the mind can even obscure one’s internal godhead to the point where it is invisible. Our internal godhead is the supreme unifying point within us, but we cannot be fragmented (distracted) into our various parts if we are ever going to realize it.
Finding this internal godhead can be easy or it can be quite difficult, but it depends on the person and how psychically dense they are. Even highly spiritual individuals can lack a certain internal sensitivity, through no fault of their own. Sometimes the elected godhead changes over time or the deity attribute mutates into a personal hybrid that can’t be easily classified. One might expect this to happen at some point if the person performing the godhead identification and assumption changes over time, too. (After all, we are the reflectors of our own internal godhead, and that must be completely understood if this process is to make any sense at all.)
In Carribean forms of magic, the process of finding your personal godhead is called “finding the god of your head.” I believe that this phrase is quite apt for what the erstwhile ritual magician and Witch should undergo to discover their internal godhead. Once students begin this search then dreams and portends will lead them to find the right godhead. What this means is that the first impression or obvious choice should be carefully and cautiously examined over time to make certain that it is indeed true. The first choice may be an incorrect one and only later will the proper godhead be revealed. This search is an important magical process in itself and it is also a mystery, since it represents the first veil that hides or obscures our true God/dess Within. Once discovered, our internal godhead becomes the foundation for more advanced magical workings, such as the invocation of the Bornless One or the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal.
I can give you an example from my own experience to clearly illuminate this point. For many years I was more focused and fixated on the Goddess (although I will not reveal her name, of course) and saw myself as the godhead consort to that feminine Deity. I could assume a number of different names (and their associated imago), but the mythic thread that I was following was that of the mortal lover (with the God within) of the immortal Goddess. After some years, this situation was augmented by a deep and personal engagement with the Egyptian God Set, and I began to assume that godhead when working higher and more intense forms of ritual magick. I found that assuming the godhead Set was very helpful in warding and protecting me from the various spirits of the underworld that I sought to evoke. There were also a number of other Deities with whom I had developed a personal relationship and from those relationships gained insights and knowledge about many obscure things. For instance, I was shown a whole new method of performing an invocation through my dialog and relationship with the Goddess Lilith.
However, all during this time there was some unknown Godhead that was assisting me, revealing profound magical insights and guiding me to new heights of magical knowledge and ritual capabilities. I tried a number of times to determine who this Deity was and so understand the source of this assistance. Even so, this knowledge was kept from me for many years until the Deity finally decided to reveal itself, and then I quickly learned through that revelation that it was the composite deified form of Hermes-Thoth Trismagistus. Having undergone that revelation I also discovered that this Deity was also so intimate to me and my magical and occult workings that it was always present whenever I assumed my personal godhead. This knowledge was kept from me for whatever reason for many years, but it would seem that having achieved a certain level of knowledge and development that I had earned the privilege of knowing the identity of my greatest sponsor and Godhead backer.
Even though I evolved through the process of determining the nature of my personal godhead and that attribute has undergone change over time, at some early point in my career I began this process. For me, it was my passionate relationship with the Goddess that acted as the catalyst; but the typical student can pursue a more direct and obvious path to determining their personal godhead. What this means is that I went through a more circuitous and convoluted process because I lacked any understanding of what I was attempting to do or where it would lead me. If a student takes a more deliberative approach to discovering their personal godhead then it would probably be resolved in far less time. Still, the search for one’s personal godhead is not a simple matter, and as I have shown, it can and does change over time and sometimes the knowledge can be obscured or even deliberately blocked.
How one begins this search for the God of one’s head is to start with a daily meditation where the seeker implores the greater powers and intelligences at large to reveal the specific God or Goddess of one’s innate being. This meditative search should be performed with as much emotional desire, curiosity and passion as one can muster, and the emotional tension experienced should increase over the period of this operation. As the days progress, seekers should note their dreams, insights, visions and thoughts particularly when they appear to identify a specific Deity. This process is an ordeal and should be conducted as one, so anything that the seeker senses that might be relevant should be noted down (in their magical diary) and carefully examined. The seeker might also engage in divination, either performed by herself or performed by a helpful outsider.
Over time, and this period will vary, a series of dreams, imaginings, insights and visions will coalesce that will clearly indicate that a specific Godhead is operating in the life of the seeker. In fact it is possible to determine more than one Godhead when performing this search. Even so, the next phase of this operation will help seekers to choose which Deity is appropriate to their present level of development. Students will have to choose the one Deity (and no other) that would greatly empower their spiritual and magical identity once it is assumed into their personal godhead. Students should also know that any Deity which takes a personal interest in them (and is revealed in this search) should be given a place of honor in their magical work. Thus it is natural that they will accumulate multiple Deities of varying importance over time as part of their personal pantheon. These additional Gods will be made part of the magician’s personal shrine and spiritual lineage, and they will also require periodic service, devotions and offerings along with one’s personal godhead.
How students make the final section of a specific Deity to function as their personal godhead is part of the overall mystery of this ordeal. Certainly it can’t be done without a period of meditation and developing a preliminary dialog with the elected Deity. This means approaching the Godhead and talking or praying to it, and carefully noting how one feels and what impressions one receives by doing this activity. There will be the evidence that one has collected through various dreams, visions and insights, but there will also be another highly important factor, and that has to do with how one feels about this Deity compared to any other possible candidates. If the Deity that one is considering appears to have a powerful positive impact on one’s emotions and feelings then it is likely that it is the correct God or Goddess for one to assume at that time. I can’t really tell someone how they must make this selection because it is so subjective and unique to the individual. What I can say is that the right Godhead will elicit the same kind of powerful attraction that one would feel when meeting a prospective lover for the first time. The choice should be unequivocal and decisive for the seeker. If there are doubts or hesitancy, then the elected Deity that one is considering is not the right choice.
Once a Deity is identified then the ritual magician and Witch will begin the next stage of this work. The seeker will need to develop a deep and personal relationship with this Deity, and that will include researching everything that is available to seeker in order to build up a cultural context, persona, characteristics and expectations associated with that Deity. He or she will assemble and write devotions, appropriate offerings and also write various liturgical rites that help to build a powerful spiritual alignment with that Deity. This might include acquiring a statue or pictorial representation of this Deity. Idolatry is a key practice in pagan ritual magick, and it should be actively pursued along with all of the other objectives since it helps to build up the image or imago of the target Deity. I won’t get into the art of statue animation, but that could be a later part of what magicians do to enliven their personal alignment with their chosen Deity.
These collective activities that a magician will perform are invocations, oblations, paeans, lunar and solar observations, meditations, special offerings, communal meals, and ultimately a full godhead assumption. In fact these activities could be seen as a kind of powerful emotional love affair between the seeker and the Deity, since love is the ultimate “glue” that causes them to become aligned and eventually, spiritually one. Establishing a deep and meaningful alignment with a Deity is a lot of work, but it is so important that it could be considered a major part of the Great Work that a ritual magician and spiritual seeker must ultimately achieve.
I have already written a few articles about the actual rites and methodologies about Godhead Assumption, and the erstwhile student can find them here and here. I have also written up a critique about how Witches and Pagan typically assume the Godhead of their group or lineage, and also what can be done to make certain that this process is free of regressive psychic manifestations. You can find that article here. I believe that this preparatory work is critically important to anyone who considers themself to be a ritual magician and a Witch or Pagan. These lessons, however, go far beyond what one might be taught in a coven or a grove, but they are standard fare for anyone who seeks to work higher forms of magic within a Wiccan or Pagan spiritual and magical context. It is what I teach everyone who seeks to be my student and learn to work magick the way that I have done all of these many years.
by Frater Barrabbas