[WARNING: This is a VERY long post!]
The Middle Pillar
The Rousing of the Citadels Variant
Eastern Orthodox Chakras
You Will Be Assimilated
Imprinting the Perfect Prayer
For this post, I’ll find myself going outside the constraints of Christian theology.
Or maybe not so much. Christian theology, like all theologies, purports to give an accounting for all supernatural phenomena, that means Christian theology must also find ways to wrap its head around such phenomena when encountered outside its established paradigm.
This post, therefore, lies within the task of the theologian.
When such spiritual beliefs or practices are encountered, Christian theology (actually, all theologies) can respond in one of three ways.
- By baptizing it. This is found in the Fourth Gospel and the works of 2nd-century Fathers such as Justin Martyr, where the Pagan concept of the Logos (the rational principle of the Universe) is baptized and used as another name for Christ. Here we see the Logos accepted whole-cloth and simply transferred onto a Christian concept.
- By rejecting it. This is found in the orthodox Christian attitude to samsara (also called “transmigration,” “rebirth,” or “reincarnation”). While more or less rejected by the orthodox party (Hebrews 9:27), the subject was debated until 553 when it was flatly condemned at the Second Council of Constantinople (Chapter 11, the condemnation of Origen). Note that in modern times this rejection only applies at the “official” or denomination level, since many individual Christians believe in reincarnation and nobody I hear no one getting excommunicated them for it.
- By engaging it, on the assumption that anything inherently good must have come from God somehow, and that anything not-so-good can be cherry-picked out. This operates on the principle that pre-Vatican II theology calls natural revelation, which means what human beings are able to learn about God and the spirit world(s) by observing the world about them and putting 2 and 2 together. The scriptural basis is Romans 1:20, and it’s the guiding principle behind documents such as Gregory the Great’s Letter to Mellitus and Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate (stated explicitly in paragraph 2).
This third approach is the one I’ll be using in this essay.
The chakras are a concept originating in Tantric Hinduism and often talked about in the West, but apparently not well-understood. The word itself means “wheel” and refers to an “energy node” or “subtle energy center” visualized at or near some part of the body. Westerners commonly teach that there are seven chakras, as follows:
- Muladhara (मूलाधार, “root support”) or root chakra, at the base of the spine.
- Svadhishthana (स्वाधिष्ठान, “one’s own base”) or sacral chakra, variously linked tot he lower abdomen or the reproductive organs.
- Manipura (मणिपूर, “jewel city”) or solar plexus/navel chakra, in the solar plexus (around the stomach).
- Anahata (अनाहत, “unstruck”) or heart chakra, in the chest.
- Vishuddha (विशुद्ध, “especially pure”), or throat chakra, at the throat.
- Ajna (आज्ञा, “command”) or third-eye chakra, above the brow.
- Sahasrara (सहस्रार, “thousand-petaled”) or crown chakra, above the crown of the head.
These are the seven chakras as described in most English-language writings on the subject, owing largely to Charles Leadbetter’s The Chakras (1927) and Woodroffe’s 1918 English translation of Purnanda’s Ṣhaṭ-chakra-nirūpaṇa, or “Explanation of the Six Chakras” written in 1577. Woodroffe’s translation is a chapter of his book The Serpent Power.
These sources also associate a one-syllable “seed-mantra” (called a bija in Sanskrit) with each chakra, which New Agers are taught “activates” or “balances” each chakra. These mantras are, in order: LAM, VAM, RAM, YAM, HAM, OM, and Silence.
The truth is that these bijas don’t “activate” the chakras but are associated with the Five Elements. LAM, VAM, RAM, YAM, and HAM are the bijas of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether respectively, while OM refers to ultimate reality. What this means is that rather than “activating” or “balancing,” the operator is instead installing the properties of that element into his chakras and in effect seeking to seal those properties onto his soul.
Sanskrit scholar Chris Wallis gives an excellent analysis of this and other issues found in these works and modern understandings of the chakra system in general. Dr. Wallis speaks from a scholarly perspective and is careful not to belittle other’s practice or experience (an approach I agree with), while giving explaining that the modern seven-chakra system has issues owing to those who brought it to the English-speaking world, that the number of chakras is not fixed but varies according to the system or teacher (anywhere from five to more than twenty-eight), that the chakra system is prescriptive and not descriptive, and of course this, which should be our biggest take-away:
“[The chakras] are conceptual structures yet are phenomenologically based, since they tend to be located where human beings experience emotional and/or spiritual energy, and since the form in which they are visualized reflects visionary experiences had by meditators.” (emphasis mine)
What we get from this – the varying number of chakras, the fact they’re prescriptive and not descriptive (i.e. describing something as it actually is), and that they’re conceptual structures – we come to one conclusion: that the chakras do not exist on their own, but that we make them real through our work with them, analogous to how a magician creates an egregore.
Once we understand that the chakras are something we create from scratch and the number is semi-arbitrary (i.e. determined by what the teacher is seeking to teach and the system is aiming to accomplish), it becomes easier to discuss the Middle Pillar.
The Middle Pillar
The Middle Pillar is one of the two best-known spiritual exercises originating from the Golden Dawn tradition (the other being the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram), and superimposes the “Middle Pillar” Sefiros from the Kabbalistic Tree of Life onto the Tantric paradigm of the chakras.
In fact the more one examines Golden Dawn rituals, the more he or she will find they’re incapable of being “pure,” that is, of being composed from elements of one and only one spiritual system. The rituals are a combination of elements from Kabbalah, Egyptology, the Grimoires, and whatever else seems to have been fashionable back in late 19th century Britain. I say this not as a condemnation but as an observation, and leave the reader to his or her own mileage with the system. The fact that Golden Dawn rituals have been copied and adapted in various ways throughout the past century tells me they must’ve done at least something right, or else people would’ve discarded the system entirely by now.
The Middle Pillar relies on a five-chakra system patterned after the five middle-pillar Sefiros of the Tree of Life, also mapped to certain locations on the body:
- Keser (כֶּתֶר, “Crown”), above the crown of the head.
- Da’as (דַּעַת, “Knowledge”), the throat.
- Tiferes (תִּפְאֶרֶת, “Beauty” or “Adornment”), the heart.
- Yesod (יְסוֺד, “Foundation”), the groin.
- Malkhus (מַלְכוּת, “Kingdom”), between the insoles of the feet.
These Sefiros (with the exception of Da’as) are each attributed to one of the Four Worlds of manifestation and each of them to one of the Four Elements, leading in turn to endless lists upon lists of correspondences and attributions (because lots of modern Hermeticists are into that sort of thing).
For our purpose it suffices to point out that the Golden Dawn assigned each Sefira a four-fold color scheme (King, Queen, Emperor, and Empress Scales), and these Sefira/Chakras formed in the Middle Pillar are visualized in colors from top to bottom: white brilliance, lavender, golden yellow, violet, and four quarters of citrine-russet-olive-black.
During the Middle Pillar, the practitioner is to breathe rhythmically while visualizing each Sefira in succession, focusing on each Sefira for the space of three or four breaths. When exhaling, the practitioner is to vibrate – that is, chant/sing on a note where you feel like your entire body is vibrating – the Divine Name of the Sefira being visualized:
- אֶהְיֶה, Eheieh (“I Am.”)
- יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים, Adonai Elohim (“Lord God”). Some would rather say “Yahveh Elohim,” and I’ve seen videos from Israel saying “Y’hovah.” I leave the reader to decide.
- יְהֺוַה אֱלֹוהַּ וַדַּעַת, Adonai Eloah Va-Da’as (“Yahveh/Adonai God and Knowledge”). Often translated as “The Lord God Manifest in the World of Knowledge.”
- שַׁדַּי אֵל חַי, Shaddai El Chai (“Almighty Living God”).
- אֲדֹנָי חָאָרֶץ, Adonai Ha-Aretz (Lord of the Earth”). In this case the word is actually “Adonai” and not standing in for the actual name of God as in #2 and #3.
These names are names of God as found in the Hebrew Scriptures: the Tanakh, corresponding to the “Palestinian Canon” or Protestant version of the Old Testament (Catholic and Orthodox Bibles descend from the “Alexandrian Canon” or the Septuagint, retaining books that some Protestants reject and others consider apocryphal). In yet another instance of theologians and occultists speaking entirely separate languages – or of occultists misunderstanding theology yet again – modern Hermeticists often take these names to refer to aspects of God rather than recognizing that they’re simply various names for the Creator himself.
The names serve a purpose similar to the bijas used in the chakra system: whereas the bijas seek to install an Element’s property onto our souls, the use of Divine Names makes this exercise into an attempt to write the properties of God onto the operator’s very soul, although this may be seen as a side effect since most practitioners’ immediate purpose is to focus on and open up the Sefiros/Chakras within.
Once the names are vibrated and the Sefiros/Chakras visualized, there are two versions of what happens next. One version is to visualize your aura filling with the golden light of Tifares (Regardie, The Golden Dawn, 6th Edition, p. 90):
“Make the Qabalistic Cross to indicate that you have called down the Light of your Kether and balanced it in your aura. Then let your imagination dwell on the aura and see it oval and clear, pulsating with the glow from Tiphareth.”
The other version for concluding the Middle Pillar can be called a “Circulation of the Body of Light,” and the earliest reference I’ve found to it is Regardie’s The Middle Pillar, first published in 1938. As to the question of whether the Circulation predates Regardie or was invented by him, I’ve not been able to find an answer.
In a very lengthy passage, Regardie describes the Circulation as having three “formulas.” For brevity I excerpt the most important parts below:
“With every one of the Five Middle Pillar Centers active and throwing power into the mind and body, and there is a clear awareness of an actual column extending interiorly from the Crown of the Head to the Soles of the Feet, an entirely different technique must now be pursued. The student should return to the contemplation of his KESER, the lamp of invisible light above his head. Imagining this Center still to be in a state of radiation, let him will that his energy circulates through the system in this wise. It descends from the head towards the Left shoulder. Passing through the entire length of the Left side of the body, the magnetic current strikes the sole of the Left Foot. Thence it passes over to the Right Sole , upwards through the leg and thigh and body to the right shoulder, eventually returning to KESER.”
“It is now necessary to circulate the stream of power in yet another direction. The object is to ensure that no single area of the Sphere of Sensation be omitted from its vitalizing and cleansing passage. Once again returning to the (Vision of the Light above the Head), this time imagine and will that the Current of Spiritual Power descends from KESER in a forward direction. That is to say, it passes downward in front of the face, descending through that region along the neck and chest, down the thighs to the feet. When it strikes the thighs, the stream turns backward along the Soles of the Feet, along the Calves at the Back, ascending the spinal column and neck until, once more, it reaches KESER.”
“The two preceding methods will be discovered to have produced Wheels of Power spinning around the periphery of the Aura or Sphere of Sensation at Right Angles, as it were. The Third Formula is more akin to the motion of a Spiral. Having returned on each of the former occasions of circulation to the contemplation of KESER, imagine the upright column of brilliance, corresponding to the Middle Pillar, formulated through the center of the body. Pass now to the Visualization of MALKUS emanating its inherent power of stability and equilibrium and fertility. Perhaps the easiest way to conceive of the motion of the Third Formula is to imagine the act of swathing or bandaging a leg. You wrap the gauze tightly around the lower part of the limb, gradually ascending the leg in closely wound spirals. This simply, is the technique of the Formula under consideration. You should imagine a Ray of Power coming out from the Right Side of MALKUS, moving over to the Left Foot. Here it descends under the legs, and comes up on the Right a little higher up the Spiral.
“Repeat the same move again and again , until you feel the distinct sensation of a whirling of Spiritual Power which gradually rises from the feet to the thighs, its Spiral Current still fairly close and connected , over-lapping those immediately below. From the thighs, the Whirling or Spiral proceeds up the trunk tightly enwrapping or enswathing it with a bandage of Pure White Light. This continues, until once more the Current returns to rest in KESER.”
While a long description, it’s a thorough plan for circulating energy throughout one’s entire body. A theological commentary would either find this a harmless exercise or nitpick multitudes of “sinful practices,” depending on the theologian doing the commentary. I myself see the Circulation exercise as making use of natural faculties (permissible under moral theology) and the exercise as making invocation of no forces other than the Divine (not forbidden under moral theology), and thus see theological commentary as unnecessary.
The Rousing of the Citadels Variant
As with all Golden Dawn rites, the Middle Pillar was by no means immune to tinkering and even improvement by individual practitioners and even magical orders. The internet is littered with examples, and in my opinion the best form is found in the Rousing of the Citadels taught by the Aurum Solis system, where it’s also called the 1st Formula Clavis Rei Primae (this translates as “Key of the First Affair”).
The Aurum Solis is known originally in the works of Melita Denning and Osborne Philips, and there’s been some debate as to whether the Aurum Solis is their invention and initially intended as a commercial enterprise. I choose not to enter that debate; my purpose is simply to inform that it exists. I’m a pragmatic at heart, and I say that whatever its original intentions, the Order has attracted students who found the curriculum works for them and works well, meaning the Order has legitimized itself as an organization even if their historical narrative is a sham (in which case simple honesty is all that would be needed).
Where the Middle Pillar employs five centers, the Rousing employs six Centers of Activity, to be visualized as spheres roughly two inches in diameter and corresponding to the five Sefiros referenced in the Middle Pillar, and a sixth to correspond to the “Third Eye.”
The six Centers are, in order from top to bottom:
- Corona Flammae – the “Crown of Flame” above the head and corresponding to Keser. White Brilliance, like burning magnesium.
- Uncia Coeli – the “Ounce of Heaven” or “Inch of Heaven” over the brow; corresponds to no Sefira, but my personal interpretation has been to liken the Uncia Coeli to a synthesis of the Sefiros Hakhmah (חָכְמָה, “Wisdom”) and Binah (בִּינָה, “Understanding”). Soft Dove Gray.
- Flos Abysmi – the “Flower of the Abyss” in front of the throat and corresponding to Da’as. Deep Purple.
- Orbis Solis – the “Orb of the Sun” at the heart and corresponding to Tiferes. Golden Yellow.
- Cornua Lunae – the “Horns of the Moon” at the groin and corresponding to Yesod. Lavender and rapidly swirling.
- Instita Splendens – the “Shining Lady” between the insoles of the feet and corresponding to Malkhus. Seven prismatic colors lazily swirling.
Regarding the Golden Dawn’s omission of the Third Eye Center, Denning and Phillips say that “this omission is emphatically condemned by the present writers.” (The Sword and the Serpent, p. 376) My personal opinion is that while I don’t condemn this omission, the exercise does feel more “complete” with the Uncia Coeli’s inclusion.
As with the Middle Pillar, the Centers are visualized while Divine Names are vibrated. The Hebrew may be used as with the middle Pillar – except Adonai Elohim is vibrated at the Third Eye center while the Da’as center takes the name עֶלְיֺון (Elion, “Most High”).
In the “Sub Rosa Nigra” system unique to the Aurum Solis, a series of Greek names may be used in place of the Hebrew; the proviso is given that:
“Your decision to ‘go Hebrew’ will in no measure diminish the value to be derived from practical application of The Magical Philosophy.”
(Foundations of High Magick, p. 303, boldface in original)
Without pausing for comment or translation, the Greek names are, in order: Έν-τό-Πάν (En-to-Pan), Τυράνα (Tyrana), Δεστάφιτον (Destaphiton), Όνοφις (Onophis), Ιάω (Iao), Βάθ-Μένιν-Εκάστου (Bath-Menin-Ekastou).
In its original form, the Rousing was concluded by “The Caduceus,” whereby one visualizes two shafts of light (one white and one red) projecting out of the Malkhus center and wrapping around the body until reaching (and then disappearing into) the Da’as center.
A later form of concluding the Rousing is labeled “Circulation of the Light” and found in Denning and Phillips’ Llewellyn Practical Guide to Astral Projection, where the Rousing is renamed “Formula One.”
“From the Earth Centre bring upwards again a jet of white light which ascends to just above your head, divides, and descends just outside your arms. Passing beneath your feet, the two columns join, to ascend again as before. There is thus a continuous fountain of dividing, reuniting and circuiting light. Maintain this last image for only a few complete rhythmic breaths, then let it slowly fade.”
Our discussion of the Rousing should show how the Middle Pillar can be adapted and even improved to suite a practitioner’s or group’s tastes or circumstances, and a cursory glance through the internet will show many such adaptations exist: some fairly standard and others just plain weird.
Eastern Orthodox Chakras
There are none. The Wikipedia article on chakras claims that “Comparisons have been made between the Hesychastic centres of prayer and the position of the chakras,” with Hesychasm (from ἡσυχία, “stillness”) referring to the Orthodox tradition of quietist spirituality with its end in seeing God’s uncreated light. The only reference I’ve found to specific “Centers of Prayer” in Hesychasm is Mircea Eliade’s Yoga, Immortality, and Freedom, in which he describes four centers:
- the Cerebrofrontal Centre: in the space between the eyebrows
- the Buccolaryngeal Centre: “the commonest thought, that of the intelligence, expressed in conversation, correspondence, and the first stages of prayer.”
- the Pectoral Centre: “in the upper and median region of the chest”; “stabilty of thought…is much greater than in the preceeding cases, but it is still thought that defines the emotional color-ing and that is modified by it”
- the Cardiac Centre: “near the upper part of the heart, a little below (or ‘a little above’) the left breast;” “It is the physical sight of perfect attention.”
For my own part, I’m no expert on Eastern Christianity or Hesychasm and make no claim to the contrary. That said, I’ve yet to find an Orthodox source corroborating the idea of concrete centers of prayer so much as a method for learning to keep one’s mind from wandering and cultivating a state of nepsis (νῆψις, “watchfulness”), directing one’s intellect from the head to the heart.
Hesychasts openly admit their practices have parallels with Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufism, maintaining that what truly matters is the one invoked:
“The essential point in the Jesus Prayer is not the act of repetition in itself, not how we sit or breathe, but to whom we speak; and in this instance the words are addressed unambiguously to the Incarnate Saviour Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son Mary.”
All this said, the “Centers of Prayer” in Hesychasm come closest to a chakra system in that they serve to help imprint the Jesus Prayer – Κύριε Ιησοῦ Χριστέ, ἐλέησόν με (“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”) – onto the heart (onto the soul?) of the one praying while opening the hesychast up to the vision of Divine Light. This is very important, but beyond this there is no parallel. When coupled with the opposition to visualization I’ve encountered amongst Orthodox faithful, the Orthodox “Centers of Prayer” cannot be properly argued as a chakra system.
You Will Be Assimilated
What we’ve discussed so far gives a great deal of insight, and we now come to the question of how (or whether) we can assimilate these concepts into our own theological matrix and what we can do with them.
So you’ll know the starting point for my analysis, I come from the equiprobabilist school, the school of thought which believes an opinion in favor of liberty is valid if it as at least equally probable with the opinion in favor of prohibition. I’m also a proponent of the normative principle, which states that if Scripture and the Canons do not explicitly forbid something, then the thing is automatically permitted.
Thus my analysis is as follows:
- There is no prohibition – scriptural or otherwise – against visualizing spheres or anything else around your body.
- There is no prohibition against invoking the Names of God in conjunction with those visualizations.
- There is no prohibition against seeking to grow and find balance spiritually.
My conclusion, therefore, is that the chakra system as represented in the Middle Pillar and the Rousing of the Citadels is permissible to a Christian magical practitioner. I believe that it’s possible to baptize the practice of constructing a number of focal points in relation to one’s body and implanting them with Names of God or with other prayers, and that so doing becomes a variant of the Act of Spiritual Communion whereby the soul seeks to draw closer to deity and for deity to manifest within the soul.
Those whose philosophies are guided by probabiliorism, scrupulosity, or the regulative principle are likely to come to the opposite conclusion. This is an area where wide variance in opinion is bound to occur, and I hold that there’s much room for charitable disagreement.
That said, this is my conclusion and I’m sticking to it!
Imprinting the Perfect Prayer
Thus far we’ve discussed and offered opinions on the dynamics of the chakra system, misconceptions common among Westerners, adaptations made in Western magical orders from at least the early 20th century onward, and whether a Christian practitioner can assimilate or adapt any such system into his own spiritual routine.
Having answered the last question in the affirmative, I’d like to propose a system of my own design, with which I’ve experimented over the past few weeks and obtained good results. It effectively constructs the spiritual centers while mentally reciting one or other petition of the Our Father, effectively seeking to imprint on our souls the Perfect Prayer.
In so constructing, I’ve chosen to go with the six-center variant found in the Rousing of the Citadels, first because its roots in the Sefirotic system bring it closer to the Jewish roots of the Lord’s Prayer, and secondly because it’s the system I’ve been using off and on for the past 22 years.
My own work has used the prayer in Latin, at the speed of a Latin Mass, while focusing on the meaning of the words; this may require practice on the operator’s part, and one can go slowly if there’s a struggle. After regular practice it will eventually become second nature.
In this exercise the operator is welcome to use Latin, Hebrew, Greek, or vernacular. I’ll give these translations in the pertinent parts of the instructions below.
Begin the exercise by assuming the Rhythmic breath, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Once you’re breathing in a comfortable rhythm, inhale while visualizing the Corona Flammae above (but not touching) the crown of your head. As you exhale, say mentally:
Pater noster, qui es in caelis.
Πάτερ ἡμῶν, ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς•
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Think the prayer quickly, while at the same time paying attention to the words. If you struggle with it, then think the prayer slowly until it becomes second nature. If you wish to say the prayer out loud or “vibrate” it you may, but this can become awkward during longer segments.
Repeat three or four times: inhale, strengthening the Corona Flammae, then exhale while mentally reciting “Pater noster qui es in caelis.”
After the third or fourth breath, inhale again, visualizing a shaft of brilliant light extending from the Corona to the Uncia Coeli or Brow Center. As you exhale, say mentally:
Sanctificétur nomen tuum.
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου,
Hallowed be thy name.
Repeat this likewise three or four times, and on your next inhalation visualize a shaft of brilliant light descending from the Uncia to the Flos Abysmi or Throat Center. Repeat the process while mentally saying:
Advéniat regnum tuum, fiat volúntas tua: sicut in caelo et in terra.
תָּבוֹא מַלְכוּתְךָ יֵעָשֶׂה רְצוֹנְךָ כְּבַשָּׁמַיִם כֵּן בָּאָרֶץ
ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done: on earth as it is in heaven.
The process is the same as you proceed through each center, and the portions of the prayer for each follow:
Orbis Solis or Heart Center:
Panem nostrum quotidiánum da nobis hódie.
אֶת־לֶחֶם חוּקֵּנוּ תֵּן־לָנוּ הַיּוֹם
Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Cornua Lunae or Groin Center:
Et dimmíte nobis débita nostra, sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostris.
וּסְלַח לָנוּ עַל חֲטָאֵינוּ כְּפִי שֶׁסּוֹלְחִים גַּם אֲנַחְנוּ לַחוֹטְאִים לָנוּ
Καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Instita Splendens or Feet Center:
Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem, sed líbera nos a malo.
וְאַל־תְּבִיאֵנוּ לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן כִּי אִם חַלְּצֵנוּ מִן הָרָע
Καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Once you’ve built up the Centers of Activity and imprinted the Lord’s Prayer on each of them, inhale while mentally “moving your eyes” down the shaft of light from the Crown to the Feet, visualizing each center as you come across it. As you exhale, strengthen the shaft of light connecting them.
On your next inhalation, imagine the light rising from your Foot Center and traveling the column all the way to the Crown. From the Crown, it splits into two fountains going down your shoulders and down the sides of your body, falling like a waterfall to your foot center, and then climbing up the column of light to fall down your sides. Repeat this visualization for about three to five breaths.
After the last breath, inhale again visualizing the light climb up the column as before, but this time it falls down your front and your back, down to the Feet and up again to the Crown. Cycle the light this way for the next three or five breaths, then let the image fade from your consciousness but know it’s still there in reality.
Finally, seal this reality into yourself by making the sign of the Cross while saying out loud the “Protestant Ending” to the Lord’s Prayer:
Quia tuum est regnum – et potéstas – et glória – in sáecula. Amen.
כִּי לְךָ – הַמַלְכּוּת – וַהַגְּבוּרׇה – וַהַגְּדֻלׇה – לְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים אָמֵן׃
῞Οτι σοῦ ἐστιν – ἡ βασιλεία – καὶ ἡ δύναμις – καὶ ἡ δόξα – εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ᾽Αμήν.
For thine is – the kingdom – and the power – and the glory – forever and ever. Amen.
The exercise is finished. Now go have a glass of water, make yourself a sandwich, and get on with your day.
It’s taken me three days to write this post, and we’ve gone over a lot of ground. For those who’ve made it through the entire post, my hope is that something new was learned or at least a new appreciation has been gained for the components and significances of the Middle Pillar in any of its forms.
I also hope the reader realizes he or she is not limited to pairing this exercise solely with Divine Names as found in Hebrew Kabbalah or other systems, but that one can use the exercise to imprint a prayer – be it the Our Father, the Jesus Prayer, the Anima Christi, select lines from the Veni Creator, or any another devotion directed to the Triune God. Good ritual systems, the ones that last, tend to be flexible and adaptable to varying circumstances and times; the Middle Pillar is clearly on the side of flexibility.