Guided meditation and pathworking
If you look online for a description of pathworking, practitioners describe it as guided meditation. This description is only partially accurate. Pathworking isn’t just guided meditation, but a form of scrying and astral projection.
What do I mean by a guided meditation? Guided meditation is when someone else guides or controls your meditation. These types of meditations are very common online. Normally they involve a relaxation exercise, followed by guided imagery. To perform a guided meditation correctly, all you have to do is listen.
I know of many experienced mystical or occult practitioners who disparage these meditations. There is one main objection: guided meditations are visualizations, not mystical experiences. They are not true examples of pathworking.
Mystics try to use an altered state of consciousness to access mystical states. There is no script. You induce a vision or OBE and explore your environment. You only use symbols to access mystical worlds, but beyond that the experience is unscripted. Just like traveling to another place in the physical world, you can’t predict what you’ll experience.
The aim of astral projection and scrying is to access metaphysical worlds, not visualize them. During guided meditation you dont see or enter a metaphysical world, you imagine it. This is completely different from astral projection and scrying.
Anyone who practices scrying or astral projection will tell you that using a script doesn’t work. For that reason, guided meditations don’t access metaphysical worlds. They are little more than a fantasy.
There is nothing wrong with fantasy. There are many very beautiful and amazing guided meditations online. They reduce stress and anxiety and are very helpful if you’re new to spiritual experiences. These “fantasies” can have a very real impact on your mind if they are well-written or executed.
A brilliant example is yoga nidra. Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Bihar School developed this technique for audio recordings. He adapted yogic meditations to create a very powerful guided meditation, that’s among the best available.
I’ve used yoga nidra many times over the years. It’s the best relaxation technique I’ve used in over 25 years of spiritual practice. It’s easy to learn and produces extremely deep relaxation, so deep in fact that you can easily fall asleep. I strongly recommend that you look into it further.
Although I have a great deal of praise for certain guided meditations, I have to be honest with you. For contacting different spheres of existence, they aren’t that effective. In order to make a powerful mystical connection to spiritual worlds, you need something like scrying or astral projection.
Guided meditations are very effective for relaxation. Relaxation is a very effective meditation tool, but visions are more powerful and direct. This where astral pathworking comes in. It’s the use of astral projection or any other vision-inducing state to penetrate into the metaphysical world.
During relaxation, your senses withdraw from the outside world. During astral projection, you transcend it entirely. This enables you to project your consciousness into the spiritual world and contact those realms.
What are you trying to accomplish? Plato’s allegory of the cave
Many occultists see pathworking as an advanced practice. Books like Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick teach it last. Occultists use it as a way to learn virtually any occult secret. If you want spiritual knowledge or change, all you need to do is contact a metaphysical world and work with it.
What do I mean by “metaphysical world”? To address this question, we need to look at the most influential thinker in the West: Plato
The 4th and 5th Centuries B.C.E was a fascinating time in the history of Western philosophy. It was during this period that the true giants of Greek philosophy appeared. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are the most important. They laid the foundation for centuries to come.
Socrates’ student, Plato, is among the most powerful thinkers to have ever existed in the ancient world. His influence is so great in fact that the influential 20th Century philosopher Alfred North Whitehead stated the following. “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
To get a little insight into Plato we must look at his powerful thought experiment described in The Republic known as the Allegory of the Cave. Plato asks us to imagine prisoners bound within a deep cave. All they can look at is the wall of the cave in front of them. Behind them are people walking with various objects with a fire burning behind them.
The fire and the objects cast shadows on the cave wall in front of the prisoners. Plato argues that these prisoners have only seen these shadows their entire life and nothing else. They are convinced that these shadows are in fact all that is real. But what if a prisoner is freed from bondage?
If the prisoner turns around, she sees the blinding light of the fire and she sees the people walking with objects in front of it. She realizes that the fire and the objects cause the shadows she assumed was the true reality. As she moves behind the fire, she sees a deep slope leading outside the cave. When she reaches the outside, she is blinded by the light of the outside world and must become used to it.
First, she goes outside in the moonlight and later looks at the shadows of the trees, because the sunlight hurts her eyes. She realizes that this outside world is the origin of the fire in the cave. But, not just the fire, but also the objects which cast the shadows on the cave wall. Eventually, she beholds the sun. She realizes that this is the foundation of all things that makes observing the outside world possible. If she were to return to the cave, she would be overwhelmed by the darkness. Furthermore, if she were to tell the other prisoners what she has seen they will think she is mad, they might even kill her.
The meaning of the Allegory of the Cave
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a story of the pursuit and attainment of wisdom. The cave represents the world of the senses. For Plato, this isn’t the true world but is rather a representation of a higher order of existence. The shadows on the cave wall represent illusion (eikasia) based on second-hand knowledge, rumors, opinions, and unsubstantiated ‘truths’ that proliferate in the world. The prisoners are people who are held in bondage by these fake representations of truth.
The freed prisoner is the philosopher. The objects in front of the fire is a truer form of reality. The fire is that which enables us to have the senses in the first place. This order of reality is still not the true reality. A person who is situated at this level is operating on the basis of belief (pistis).
The steep slope that leads outside the cave represents the hard work of becoming educated and cultivating wisdom. The shadows cast by the trees is the truths of mathematics and deeper rationality. Now the philosopher is actually obtaining real knowledge through the use of reasoning (dianoia).
The trees and objects that are outside the cave are the true reality. This level of existence are the eternal expressions of absolute reality. They can never change or be destroyed. The ‘Forms’ as he called these eternal expressions are the very blueprints upon which reality is erected and can only be known through intelligence (noesis).
By knowing the Forms, the philosopher can finally look at the sun, the Good itself, and attain true wisdom and know the Truth. However, the philosopher will have extreme difficulty persuading the prisoners that their world is false. They will see her as mad, and may even persecute her like his teacher Socrates. But the philosopher must nonetheless still try to reach the world outside the cave and try to free those still held in bondage.
The Divided Line: The worlds of Neoplatonism
Plato expands on the Allegory of the Cave, through what’s called the Divided Line. Plato divided reality into two broad categories and 4 narrower ones. The two broad categories are the visible world and the intelligible world. The visible world is the world of the senses and imagination; the intelligible world is the world of logic and the intellect, and the world of the Forms.
Later thinkers such as Plotinus, Iamblichus, and Porphyry, added their own footnotes to the divided line. Plotinus divided reality into 4: the world of the senses, the world of the soul, the world of intellect, and the One.
The One is the same entity as the Good in Platonism. It’s the ultimate ground of reality from which everything originates. Plotinus saw the worlds of the senses, soul, and intellect as emanating, or pouring forth from the One. These different emanations form the basis of the spiritual world.
Hermeticism and the Kabbalah: the foundations of pathworking.
Hermeticism describes the universe as an intermingling of 4 elements: earth, air, fire, and water. These elements shouldn’t be considered as literal or physical. The element of fire doesn’t refer to physical flames that burn you. The element of fire is a symbol of light, illumination, divinity, and inspiration. Each element carries its own set of symbolic associations.
These 4 elements emanate from the 5th element called spirit, ether, or quintessence. Quintessence is seen as a pure divine substance that can accomplish anything. The goal of magick and alchemy is to understand and work with the 5th element.
The Kabbalah describes reality as emerging from God. All of existence emanates for God like light from a candle. There are 10 of these emanations, and they exist in 4 worlds. The 10 emanations are called the sephirah, and each sephiroth is a metaphysical principle of the Divine. The 4 worlds of the Kabbalah, represent the stages in which God becomes nature, and vice versa.
During the Renaissance Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, and the Kabbalah merged. This system is the grand unifying theory of Western mysticism. Currently, it exists as follows:
- There are 4 Kabbalistic worlds: Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiah.
- They are the worlds of Divinity/Forms (Atziluth), mathematics/intellect, (Briah) dreams/imagination (Yetzirah), and the senses/physical world (Assiah)
- Across these 4 worlds are 10 emanations of the Divine: Kether Chokmah, Binah, Chesed, Geburah, Tiphareth, Hod, Netzach, Yesod, and Malkuth.
- These 10 emanations are linked to the forces of the primum mobile (Kether), the Zodiac (Chokmah), Saturn (Binah), Jupiter (Chesed), Mars (Geburah), the Sun (Tiphareth), Mercury (Hod), Venus (Netzach), the Moon (Yesod), and Earth (Malkuth)
- Between the 10 sephiroth there 22 paths that link them together. Each path has a Hebrew letter, astrological symbol, and Tarot card associated with it.
The image above is the key symbol used in pathworking. By traveling the paths that connect the sephiroth, all the cosmic forces of the Western tradition can be explored. During these explorations, you will also encounter many entities that can teach and guide you. The goal? To eventually merge with the Divine and attain mystical enlightenment.
To start pathworking I strongly recommend learning astral projection and scrying. Also, you need to study the Kabbalistic Tree of Life in detail. You can then use the symbolism of the Tree of Life to guide your spiritual journey towards Divinity.
Once you’re successful, the possibilities become virtually endless. At this point, you can start accessing mystical secrets that accelerate your spiritual growth. This is far better than simply following a guided visualization.