The new meditation group met for its second week, four of us again though a different four. The basic outline we developed last week seemed to be transferable, though the new person along suggested some elaborations to the Kabbalistic Cross / LBRP practice which she might bring along for us to consider. The middle pillar chanting is fantastic and an absolute joy to do, that’s the most noticeable thing for me so far.
The role of the voice in a public group is one of the most curious things I’ve come across. A good ritual leader can be a bit of a performer and that’s necessary, though the surface manipulation can sometimes be a little too apparent. I love both Derren Brown and Ray Mears for their ability to manipulate a surface – and I’ve quoted both in lectures to philosophy students – but there’s something remaining of the ‘audience’ when there’s a performer, inevitably and factually, without any real value placed on this fact. The fact, however, even if considered valueless in itself can be the ground for values – that a split exists between the performer and audience is a necessity of the form but other forms do exist and their mode is that of union, more specifically of an ecstatic union. (The extreme paradox, and I mean _extreme_ paradox, of the concept of an ‘ecstatic union’ is something I still find wonderful.)
The voice involves the practitioner, opens up a space that is phenomenally embodied, and I mean that in the most technical sense. Each person hears their own voice in various ways and part of the process of solitary practice, of moving from the arm-chair to the circle of art, is the sound of ones breath and word intermingling in your ears, in the space around your ears, in the space other ears invade. In voice meditation during the middle pillar it’s not the ears that are the hearing organ, it’s something more vague, the body or the throat or the heart chest torso – something I feel and know through that feeling.
We had a first run through of a rough and ready pathworking this week too after the twenty minute no mind meditation that followed the first practices. The pathworking consisted of reading through the attributes list at the head of the Malkuth chapter in Fortune’s ‘Magical Qabbalah. I read through it five times, doing a kind of ‘shipping forecast’ pathworking, a series of notes really. The four tarot cards were out and after reading through the list and then ten minutes or so of quiet relaxation I read out the names of the four cards whilst placing them in front of everybody. The four Tens were oppression, the ten of wands; perfected success, the ten of cups; ten of pentacles, wealth; ten of swords, ruin. The gate. The gate of death. The gate of the garden of Eden. ‘…black, with gold flecks’. Magical Image: A young woman, crowned and throned.