Wars often bring about the greatest technical innovations and advances. Similarly, personal crisis and heartache can lead to the best spiritual discoveries. This was the case as I worked out the processes for my latest book, Magical Pathworking.
Seven years ago my marriage was on the rocks, I was unhappy with my job, and the spiritual support of the group that I had been a member of for almost a decade was about to disappear in a puff of egos. I could not work out how I got to this position, let alone how to get out of it. As part of my occult work, I used imagination techniques called pathworking—journeys to imaginary places to meet with miscellaneous heavenly entities. These always had a mixed impact on me, ranging from extremely powerful to dull. I had almost completed the Servants of the Light's correspondence course in which you build an Inner Kingdom in your imagination centered on a tower that represents yourself. All this suddenly added up to an idea. If you build an imaginary world, everything you see is colored by your unconscious mind. It is possible to interpret this dream world and the subconscious patterns that build them.
To do this properly, you would need to suggest to yourself that you were building an imaginary world that represented your entire life, and then see what you created. I taught what I knew about hypnosis and pathworking to a group of volunteers. Each of us constructed an Inner Kingdom and pathworked into it. Once back, the person would describe what they saw to another who attempted to interpret it. The results were staggering, and it seemed that our imaginary kingdoms were a good way to map who and where we were.
Then the magician inside me wondered what would happen if we changed something in our Inner Kingdoms. Sure enough, changes in the Inner Kingdom resulted in a transformation in the material universe. For the next few months, working through several different pathworking techniques, we got to the core of our beings and unwound the threads of our neuroses. We all had a new energy that came from the released complexes. Each week we wanted to get rid of something different that had held us back. Then there was the fall-out. We did not realize that our relationships, jobs, spiritual lives—everything was built on the foundations of our neuroses. If you take away the neurotic behavior, then life collapses. Sure enough everything went—my marriage, job, the lot.
After the dust settled, we were all in a stronger position in our lives; we were self-confident and actually going places. After dumping my stressful job, I became a freelance journalist. Later I would turn to creative layout, writing, and book production. I found a new spiritual home within a different tradition, and I would later move to Bulgaria and remarry.
This new state showed in my Inner Kingdom too. Gone were the imaginations of someone who was simply dreaming of taking control. Instead, I was in the driver's seat of my life. I continued to use the pathworking techniques in my counseling work and in my own personal life.
It has been said that imagination is just the same thing as daydreaming and has no useful effect on anyone. I believe this is wrong, even though I have sat through some terrible pathworkings that were warm, fuzzy daydreams. Properly written pathworkings are effective, if people know the rules. Although there were a few books available that were written about or contained pathworkings, no one had actually told anyone the secret to making them psychologically and spiritually effective. By explaining how pathworkings work, from a psychological perspective, I felt that few could write off techniques of active imagination. With this in mind, I settled down to write Magical Pathworking. However, I found that my writing skirted my experiences with psychological pathworking. Initially, I thought my avoidance was due to a desire to forget the pain from that period of my life. Then I suspected it was something a little darker.
I decided to do a pathworking to find out what psychological wrench was being put in the works. Like most cases of psychological pathworking, the answer was not pretty. In my pathworking, I found myself guarding a locked golden magical box. I liked the guard's job because I felt that I had control over the magical power it contained and did not have to share it.
It was time to give up that control, and to start writing. By sharing that power, it would help many people understand themselves. In my imagination, I took the box outside and started to share its contents with the rest of the world. After I did this, writing was easy.
Nick Farrell (United Kingdom) has been a ceremonial magician since he was 17. Born in England and raised in New Zealand, he was initiated into Builders of the Adytum (BOTA), and is currently an initiate of the Esoteric Order ...