The Magical Kata

In martial arts, a kata is a sequence of motions you perform for practice, in order to build up muscle memory. We’ve got kata in music, too: you do scales, arpeggios, various finger exercises, all in order to make reaching for a particular note second nature. So the idea is, how about a set of magical kata? These would be magical exercises, visualizations, breathing, that you can do very quickly just to keep in practice. They would, ideally, not have any particular object in mind.

In some ways, the LBRP (Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagrams) of the Golden Dawn style of magic is a kind of kata, but it’s got a goal, so you can’t always use it. There might be times you don’t want to banish (there are, in fact, some operations where you do not banish at all: not banishing is part of the point), but you still want to practice.

Here’s my idea of what a magical kata might look like. In fact, it’s my general “exercise routine,” and I do it more or less daily. It can be done without being ostentatious, because it requires nothing more than breathing and thinking.

1. Four-fold breath: Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four.
2. Centering and connecting: Visualize a shaft of white light descending and plugging you into the sphere of the stars. Visualize a shaft of black light (roll with it, man) ascending and plugging you into the chthonic sphere. Imagine white light descending out from your solar plexus to either side, and also front and back, so you are situated in a three axis coordinate system.
3. Do pore-breathing of Earth. Send it to your hands. Send it down into the earth, and shake your hands slightly.
4. Pore-breathe Water. Send it to the hands, etc.
5. Repeat with Air.
6. Repeat with Fire.
7. Fill the body with Azoth, and circulate it around the body.
8. Four-fold breath.


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