“Energy Work” is one of those phrases a lot of magic users I know throw around casually and assume that others know what they mean by it. (Mea cupla!) Generally it implies some manner of sensing and manipulating the ambient energy of a room or the people therein. Scanning and describing auras, basic healing, and evoking and manipulating elemental energies are encompassed by this.
It is a trick that I have done (and still do) on many occasions to develop my ability to sense and identify the kinds of energy I am dealing with, as well as to generate and focus the kind of energy I need. In fact, my daily ritual practice includes the Middle Pillar and the circulation of the body of light exercises, both of which are exactly this type of exercise. But a lot of these exercises are also readily adaptable (or even require) group participation, which can tell you a lot about other people and how to read them, and can sometimes just be fun.
So here are a few such exercises:
This is in theory a simple exercise. You run your hand across someone else’s aura and see what impressions you get.
Your results may vary.
On a simple level, you can test for where someone’s aura is. Where do you sense it at? Does your hand tingle? Do you feel heat or pressure? How do you know where it is? What else does that energy feel like? Do they feel like another person, or animal, or plant, or object? A particular element?
It can get more complex, too. Do you gain any sensations in your body? What can that tell you about their state? A pain could indicate a similar injury the other person has experienced. A sensation or discomfort in a particular part of the body can also indicate an area of the person’s life that is of concern. (How? Astrology. Signs run from top of head = Aries to feet = Pisces. Example: upset stomach may indicate an issue with their mother, because stomach=cancer=home and mother.)
You can also get some complex structure and imagery. I’ve had one person describe my aura as a plant cell, with a tough wall, flexible membrane, watery center and a protected nucleus at the core. Another person likened my aura to a watery planet with a dense core and an ice crust at the surface. This ought to give you an insight as to how people tend to see me: defensive and secretive. Willow’s aura was very stringy and sticky, almost like spaghetti underneath a layer of Jello. You can learn much about people and how you perceive them, as well as how your own symbolic sets work.
Elemental Energy Balls
This one is also pretty simple in theory. You form a ball of elemental energy. You then let people poke it and try to guess what element it is. You can even hand it off to people. Or if you’re a jerk, you throw it at someone, and see if they can 1) tell what element it is and 2) stop it.
This game annoyed the crap out of me, because unlike many of the people I worked with, I can’t see the damn things. It’s like throwing a baseball at a blind kid and yelling “think fast!” Handing energy balls off was nicer and easier for me.
This game is very interesting because you can try to generate a specific energy and see if someone else senses what it is. If you try to generate a ball of fire, and you pass it off to someone who says “oooh, Fire!” then that validates your experiences quite a bit.
A more potent version of this involves generating not just a ball of energy, but conjuring a large amount of energy and radiating it (essentially using your whole body or aura) to see who can identify it first. Or how many people get what you were trying to generate, and how many people guess something else. Then you compare notes: “why did this energy feel that way to you?” Lots of insights on how you perceive the elements await.
For this exercise, you go to any place with privacy, (indoor or out) and sense what elements are in the environment. Feel the water in the river. How is it different from water in the tub? Elemental water that you generate? Can you manipulate it? And you absorb some of it? Feel the energy in its ambient state, and ponder how that ambient state affects how you interact, sense, or employ it.
This exercise can have some interesting implications for on the fly spellwork. I’ve also found that the astral and dream worlds have their own “elemental” composition that can be manipulated in this fashion, to awesome affects. Also be aware that this exercise is not just about identify or even manipulating elemental energy, but on connecting to it (as well as returning to your own natural state).
The Middle Pillar Exercise
This ritual is specific to Hermetic ceremonial magic. However, I see no reason why it could not be adapted to other systems, and have in fact seen many “translations” from the Hebrew to Greek or Latin to accommodate the polytheistic types that aren’t down with the monotheistic undertones of ceremonial magic. I don’t know enough about chakras to know how adaptable such an exercise would be to systems that use it, but don’t see that it would pose a great problem to find out.
The Middle Pillar:
Standing, feet together, facing east,
Visualize a white sphere above the head and vibrate EH-HEH-YEH.
Visualize light descending to form a sphere at the throat, and vibrate YE-HOH-VOH E-LOH-HEEM.
Visualize light descending to form a sphere at the heart, and vibrate YE-HOH-VOH EL-OAH-VE-DA-ATH.
Visualize light descending to form a sphere at the genitals, and vibrate SHAH-DAI EL CHAI.
Visualize light descending to form a sphere at the feet, and vibrate AH-DOH-NAI HA-AH-RETZ.
Visualize and feel a current of light rising from the feet, entering the body at the base of the spine and continuing upwards to flower out at the crown of the head to descend light a shower of light to re-enter at the feet. Continue to circulate the light at least four times.
Essentially what you are doing here is channeling divine energy into the energy centers of your body. It strengthens the aura and allows you to more easily connect to and draw upon that energy.
I strongly recommend employing a banishing ritual before this kind of work.
Circulation of the Body of Light
This exercise is commonly employed at the end of the Middle Pillar. It is the part above that reads: “Visualize and feel a current of light rising from the feet, entering the body at the base of the spine and continuing upwards to flower out at the crown of the head to descend light a shower of light to re-enter at the feet. Continue to circulate the light at least four times.”
Other methods include circulating the light up one side to the top of the head and down the other side, or up the back and down the front. Another method is to bring the energy up the spine and spiral it down around the body back to the feet. I will generally coordinate the movement of this energy with the breath, moving it up as I breath in and down as I breathe out.
This exercise is very potent for the divine energy summoned in the Middle Pillar, but I have also employed it to circulate elemental energy and attune myself to different elements. It is very useful for learning to control and direct the movement of energy both within and without your body.
So these are some of the energy work exercises I use or have used. I recommend banishing and grounding with these exercises, especially if you are working with other people or attuning to an element.