By Shomer Dermot C.
The reason I am a Magician is that I choose to live in a belief system in which I take full responsibility for creating my reality. In plainer terms All Change Begins with Me!
If there is some aspect of my reality that I am not completely happy with, the onus is on me to effect some change in accordance with my Will and Intention. For things’ to change, first I must change. It is a fact of life that any changes anywhere within my being will involve changes in my nervous system - and in like manner, any changes in my nervous system will bring about changes in my whole being.
The human nervous system is described as having two divisions, voluntary and involuntary. From our central nervous system, we usually have conscious control over the so-called voluntary actions, such as walking, talking, eating, etc. The autonomic nervous system governs all those activities which are usually considered to be beyond conscious control, such as digestion, heart rate, etc.
Of all the things we do, breathing is the one thing which we all normally do automatically, but which any one of us can take conscious control of, whenever we choose. Take a deep breath and read on!
There is good reason for this dual control over the nervous system. Breathing is the No. 1 requirement of every living human being. It is essential that such a vital function should be able to proceed continuously and automatically, leaving the conscious mind free to deal with such other matters as may require attention.
It is also vital that we be able to take control of our breathing when necessary, for such activities as swimming or diving. One of the most readily available legal means of bringing about change in my Reality I Being / Nervous System is through the practice of Magical Breathing techniques. It is my Intention now to discuss briefly the purpose, method and results of Magical Breathing techniques which I have personally practised.
The Purpose of Magical Breathing
The purpose of Magical Breathing is threefold:
- Firstly, with Magical Breathing, we practise the use of Will and Intention in our lives. Breathing consciously is both the first step to living consciously with Intention and the means to develop the strength of that Intention.
- Secondly, magical breathing gives us the opportunity to experience full deep breathing, using the entire capacity of our lungs. As we take in more
oxygen and expel more carbon dioxide, we increase the aliveness in our cells and in our selves. Esoterically the Breath, or the Ruach, corresponds to the Spirit or Essential Self.
- Thirdly, magical breathing facilitates the release of blocked energies in the body.
The basic technique
Magical Breathing can be practised anywhere and at any time. The easiest way to learn it initially is to practise it when walking. The basic technique is very simple. Consider respiration as a cyclic process involving four phases.
 Breathing in
 Pausing or holding the breath
 Breathing out
If you can regulate your breathing so that each phase lasts for a count of four, you have mastered the basic Magical Breathing technique. I told you it was simple!
Magical Breathing while walking
By walking as you practise this technique you will find that your footsteps naturally provide the rhythm:
 4 steps to breathe in
 4 steps to pause
 4 steps to breathe out
 4 steps to pause
 4 steps to breathe in; and on and on
Four Phases or Breathing
The Four Phases of the Breath correspond well to the four elements and the elemental correspondences. In all the sections following, the numbers 1 to 4 refer to the Four Phases outlined above.
[11 Breathing in: AIR Feel your ribcage expanding with oxygen-filled elemental air
 Pausing: WATER Visualise your fluid blood absorbing the oxygen from the capillary beds in your lungs.
 Breathing out: FIRE Expel the air warmed by your inner fires
 Pausing: EARTH Feel the heaviness and density of your earthy body. For those of you who feel most at home with five-fold correspondences, the fifth element of Magical Breathing is the One-who-breathes, the Magician. So the element of SPIRIT refers to you, yourself.
Variations on the technique
This is the simplest method. However, as you continue to use the fourfold breath, you can think or murmur or visualise any set of Four Magical Correspondences.
[A] The Names of the Elements
On each phrase of your breathing, instead of counting 1-2-3-4, during each phase, say silently the names of the four elements, adding emphasis to the al)appropriate clement for each phase:
The Colours of the Elements
 Visualise Yellow [Air] on the in breath
 Visualise Blue [Water] on the pause
 Visualise Red [Fire] on the out-breath
 Visualise Green [Earth] on the pause “Coincidentally,” the oxygenation of the blood takes place during phase 2; and, as the blood oxygenates during phase 3, it loses the faint bluish hue of venous blood and acquires the bright red colour of arterial blood.
 Breathe in with Yodh. Murmur it quietly, just audibly
 Pause with Heh. Say it silently
 Breathe out with Wav. Say it louder than Yodh
 Pause with Heh. Say it silently.
‘Coincidentally’, the active letters of YHVH, Y and V correspond to the active phases of the Breath cycle. Note also that both YHVH and the Breath cycle have the structure A-B-C-B.
Breathing the Hermetic Axiom
 Use the in-breath to Know
 Use the pause to Will
 Use the out-breath to Dare
 Use the pause to be Silent
Breathing the Four Mighty Archangels
 Visualise Rafa’EI of the East
 Visualise Mika’EI of the South
 Visualise Gavri’EI of the North (or west in standard Magical/Golden Dawn associations)
 Visualise ‘Uri’EI of the West (or North in standard Magical/Golden Dawn associations)
When breathing the Mighty Archangels, you can visualise yourself as Yahu’El Mighty Archangel of Spirit at the Centre.
The techniques of Magical Breathing lend themselves readily to all Fourfold correspondences, and most fivefold correspondences; I find that I get the most benefit by combining two or more of the above-mentioned techniques. For example, as I breathe in, I can feel my ribcage expand with elemental Air, visualising the colour Yellow filling my being, while saying silently ‘AIR - water - fire - earth”; and so on.
Once you have mastered the basic Magical Breathing technique, you might like to experiment with breathing some of the following:
- The Four Suits of the Taroc (Wands, Cups, Swords and Coins)
- The Four Elemental Beasts (Human, Eagle, Lion and Bull)
The Results of Magical Breathing
At the very least you should find that your breathing is considerably deeper and more energising as you do Magical Breathing. With regular daily practice (as much as you like, but at least five minutes daily) you will find that your breathing cycle probably begins to increase in duration. Please note that this slowing down of the Breath cycle is not a goal of Magical Breathing, it’s just something that tends to happen of its own accord.
I have found Magical Breathing to be highly energising during prolonged periods of heavy physical exertion. One consequence of leaving your usual breathing patterns is that there may be profound releases of energy through your body, possibly manifesting as the surfacing of powerful emotions into your awareness. Whether and which emotions release at any given time is quite unpredictable, but I have never been overwhelmed by more than I could handle. I have found that intense feelings of fear, panic, grief and even terror have arisen on occasion and almost always on phase 4 of the cycle, just before taking the next in-breath. Without exception these feelings, while uncomfortable, have never lasted for more than 2 or 3 breath cycles. Once the feelings spontaneously passed, I have invariably experienced prolonged sensations of release and easiness throughout my body.
These are Magical Breathing techniques which I have found useful. Notice the use of the word “I”. Remember the First Law of Magic, which is also the motto of this magazine: ‘Believe nothing; test everything; discover the truth for yourself.” These techniques are easy to learn and very safe, and there is no patent or copyright on them.
Feel free to experiment with such variations and elaborations as might occur to you.