And for a while, certainly I thought that and still think its mostly that is true, except when it is not. I haven't seen many alternative religious ceremonies where the words help, but....
But walk into a Baptist Church, or a real enlivened Christian Service.
Sure, its not my cup of tea, but Damn.. I mean DAMN. or in this case Praise Jesus.
This effect is a hypnotic group effect that can lead to a spiritual experience. It also lays down tremendous examples to model to make rituals and ceremonies better when using the spoken word.
One might think that the preachers just believe what they are preaching. The truth is that many probably do not. Its a carefully trained set of language patterns for many preachers. However, it is much easier to pull off that strength through a few mental tricks. Unfortuantely, when I read most invocations, and lyrical poetry, they skip out these mental steps providing the only less important words. So we get some pretty words, in occult books, sometimes bad poetry, but no Mojo. I am going to give you some steps to make those word ZING.
Intention in Voice and ActionFirst and foremost, what is the emotional state should you be in? What would you like to be in? If you are working with spirits, what would they like you to be in? Seriously, even if you are calling forward a scary godform or spirit, isn't it awesome? If its not awesome and its pretty boring, stop the ritual.
I mean it. Just stop.
Now, what I mean by this, if you can't get into first the mindset that the spirit is real or that the ritual is real, and second that its awesome that you have made contact or are restructuring reality, its kinda not worth doing. There should be that giddiness, that excitement, even maybe a little bit of fear. After all, if that isn't true, you probably don't care enough to be doing the ritual in the first place.
Really you can use any state, but it should be overwhelming and riding the edge of pushing towards not able to speak. As you practice the technique, I am about to give you, you can project more and more "energy" into the verbal speech. This is an art form and is difficult to stay on task if you are in the right frame of mind. Really, it should be at that edge of emotion to the point of loosing it. If you need help with that, 'Hands on Chaos Magic' has some techniques.
That state, that emotional overdrive into deep trance state, right on the edge leads to what to but is not needfully an inspired state in oration (of course, their are tricks to help the process along, but the easier route is actually being in that zone). However, its very, very, very close. The next step in to control it, which means practice. Lots of practice where you practice the oration of the ceremony in increasingly heavier states of emotional layering.
I think actors have a natural advantage over ritualists in this and have techniques that as magicians, witches or other, we should study. Their performance depends on the emotional reaction of audience which depends on some things, such little things including plot, character, quality of production but mostly on the actor themselves and their ability to project a state of a character (less traditional magicians might call this invocation) and make that state infectious (aka believable invocations). Now because the context is safe, the audience gets to go home seeing a nice piece of art. Ceremony is even more difficult because the audience is participants and the quality of the by in directly translates to the effect. Essentially, if its not believable, there is no passing of energy or "spirit".
Great actors ride that line, but they maintain the control of the oration learning to memorize the parts they need to. Let's take this further. Let's make the layering somewhat more emotional layers...
Proper Critiquing and the Underlay I am not an actor, so its easier for me to BE in the state. I suspect many actors do the same. Recently for a ritual we were doing at Convocation, I spend weeks practicing the ritual with Jason M. Colwell, my co-host on http://deeper-down-the-rabbit-hole.com. It was a Ra-Set ritual. Our plan was to read of a ritual paper. Usually, I would Poo-poo that. Why? Because it was a long narration and the reading takes away from the projection. So what did we do, WE practiced and practiced a certain way.
- Get the energies right. Instead of acting like Ra and Set, we Invoked them and walked through the ritual steps with no words several times. It hit us hard. We kept doing this till we could comfortably handle the energy and the state (in this case, Jason had to portray a sense of Awe, and I had to portray Majesty).
- We slowly added basic words, repeating the ritual, having people listen to the ritual. Having people psychically pick up the vibes with different levels of words. Each time, trying to keep the intensity going and trying to make the words be more then just words, but containers to be filled by intention and energy.
- At the last step, we added the long narration that was read aloud. During the narration, Jason was so into the vibe, that at times he almost dropped to his knees before AmonRa. Other people had the same impulse, when they listened to Jason's narration in practice and at the real ritual.
Now Jason is not a trained actor, but through the course of the practice, he correctly projected AWE. He projected it, because he was it. It was a state he had learned to ride and use. We didn't have enough time before the ritual to memorize the parts, that would have been the next step. Now each step we sought feedback to refine both the energy and mannerisms based on the impact they had on the audience. It wasn't perfect, but it was VERY good.
If this seems a lot harder then just doing a sigil spell or a simple meditation, it is because it is. In a situation where there is a ritual, the orator of the lyrical poetry or prayers is acting as a conduit. I will not say that this is or is not a connection to something, but certainly if the orator cannot maintain a hold, a state of mind that enlivens the reading, there can be no transmission. Of course, we can explain the transmission through Mirror Neurons and other psychological means, but those facts do not account for the subjective experience that is created by the process. This makes the role of that oration extremely important and in some ways sacred.
The Oration must not only speak the words, but it must be so overwhelmingly dripping with intention and emotion that the audience has NO doubt what they should feel and when. The effect of group hypnosis, mirror neurons, and group think all can help carry it the rest of the way. This is the key of the under layering. Fortunately, when you are in a state, your body language will just match the internal state if you are not purposely controlling your body, tone and mannerisms. You can relax into the flow of the state of mind and run with it. Eventually the practice kicks in, and its all in the flow.
Some Fine Points
First, we still read from a manuscript. Neither Jason nor I am particularly good at memorization. In my eyes, this would have been the single longest preparation point. Hands On Chaos Magic , and the Tier 1 Training of the Quantum Life Science Institute both cover getting into a single or multifaceted state of mind. Experiencing the desired state to that overwhelming point, and then practicing the state with adding the oration was the key to the projection. Once you are all in and are the center of attention (aka doing the oration), our natural mirror neurons take over. If its believable, it spreads…. and then something awesome can happen.