02-27-13 Lesson 12: Month 3, Week 4: The Gray Paths

You have learned to center and to ground.. In this exercise you are beginning to cross over.
You are going from being a beginner to being an intermediate novice.
It’s taken you a long time to get here. Many who started this program, just to be able to do
what you are now going to learn to do, have dropped out. This is good. Because magick is not
an end in itself. It’s purpose is to actualize our spiritual connection to Goddess and to the
Creation. It is not about power, but about communion. The foundations you have laid in the
beginner phase of your training are the reasons one is a Witch. Without these foundations, the
skills you will learn in this intermediate phase would be rootless and distorted. I couldn’t
promise you that they would serve the purpose of communion with the Divine, your True
Self, other human beings, and all of creation.
So at this point I want to be clear. This lesson will not stand alone. It is not intended for any
except those who have spent the time doing the previous work of grounding and centering.
That is true of all lessons, but at this point I feel a need to specifically state it. This will be an
ongoing exercise, one that you will work on for many moons to come.
Even for those of us who have walked this previous training path, We are not fiddling around
here with toys. This is not a game. We are instead unlocking secrets of how the human psyche
works. These secrets can lead us into areas we are not ready to deal with and they can
overpower us. We are talking about skills that can unleash the mysteries of the human soul.
The same dangers that go with using chemicals like LSD to do this can exist when we do it
naturally. So we must be careful and respectful. We must approach this as we would any
activity that has danger, such as working with fire or knives or guns or large machinery. We
must set ourselves some guidelines and some safeguards. We must be ready if something
feels wrong. Just as you shouldn’t build a campfire in the woods without water handy in case
it goes out of control, so we must have our protection handy too.
Three simple things are needed to keep us safe. If you do these you will be able to develop
this powerful discipline and have it serve you in your Witchery rather than harm you. They
are:
1. Record all we experience in magickal work in a journal. (You do that already, right?)
2. Don’t move ahead any faster than the lessons call for.
3. Try and find a friend, confidant, , or Witch-mentor you can talk with at least every
other week and share your experiences this can be online and another member of the
group.”The Buddy system”. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a buddy to work with. If
you feel comfortable posting in group and sharing that way, that would be fine, but
there are those who may not, those who follow discreetly in the background and so
finding someone to talk to is important if questions or concerns arrise
Active Imagination
There are many names for this discipline. In Jungian thought it is called Active Imagination.
A lot of Witches call it Astral Travel. We will call it Walking the Gray Paths. We also say
that when we do this we Stand Between Worlds.
Some Witches have elaborate theories about this practice that your spirit is leaving your body
and traveling into other places, including other planes of existence. I have to admit I’m
skeptical of all that. I have to admit that for me it makes more sense to understand this as
working in your own unconscious realm. I don’t believe this takes us into other objective
realities and that our spirits have left our bodies. I believe this takes us deeper into our own
subjective reality within our own psyche. This is a Jungian approach to all this and it is why
Jungian’s see Active Imagination as one element of Inner Work, which also includes other
explorations of the unconscious, most importantly dream interpretation.
To postulate that this spiritual practice is not exploring other planes of existence but exploring
our own psyche is not a way of minimizing it’s importance and value. It is just the opposite, in
fact. Because walking the gray paths is exploring our own psyches, it is a very vital tool for
becoming whole and learning how to practice magick, which is all about uniting the inner and
outer worlds.
So what exactly is walking the gray paths? All of us have experienced it in some sense, just in
a very vague and undisciplined manner. What you are going to learn now is how to discipline
this experience, that is to sharpen it and focus it. The experience I’m talking about is day
dreaming. Our imaginations are powerful things. It is very easy for us to surrender to our
imagination and become more involved in what we are imagining then in the actual outer
world we are sensing at the moment. We can use our imagination to remember the past, to
envision the future, or even to day dream about things we know could never be. We can use
our imaginations to see things in our minds, to hear them, to smell them, taste them and feel
them. All sleeping dreams are is just this imagination let loose while we sleep as our senses
shut down so they don’t interfere. Yet in our dreams we can have an experience that is as
“real” as our waking lives. When you learn to walk the gray paths you will be able to
experience your waking imaginary journey into your unconscious in just as a “real” way as
dreaming at night. By the way, using the terms “imaginary” or “imagination” doesn’t mean
this isn’t true. It is true, it just is the truth of your inner psyche, not of the objective outer
world.
Walking the gray paths is not about losing this distinction between the truth of the imaginary
inner world and the truth of the objective outer world. I want you to keep that distinction clear
and unconfused. When that distinction begins to fade is when we are facing the dangers I
warned you about. That is the way of delusion and hallucination and mental illness. The main
role of your confidant is to assure that you have not lost that distinction between the inner and
the outer truths.
So now you have a good idea of what the imagination part is in walking the gray paths. Now
let me explain the “active” part. In most dreams at night we are not in control of the dream.
We are often unaware we are dreaming. When we are aware we are dreaming and begin to
exercise some control in our dreaming then it becomes lucid dreaming. It is the same with
daydreaming. When we are simply letting a day dream happen, no matter how vivid and
“real” it is, we are just passive. To be “active” means we take control. But here’s the important
part, only control of ourselves. Everything else is left to the direction of our unconscious.
So you just let it happen as to where you imagine you are, what else is there, what is
happening there, who else is there, what they are like, what they say, etceteras. In other words
you don’t plan it, you don’t think about it and say, “I’d like this person that I’m imagining I’m
talking with to say to me that he likes me.” No. You just let your imagination have free reign
to let this imaginary person say whatever he wants. He may not want to talk to you. He may
ignore you. He may say something you don’t like. He may say something confusing.
What you control is what you say, what you do, where you go. In other words you act the
same way you do in the outer world. In the outer world you accept the “isness” of the world
and make decisions about what you will do in it. In the same way you control your actions in
the inner world. As you explore your inner world you will discover places and people, you
will want to go to those places or see those people; that may or may not happen. Usually, once
you’ve visited there already, you can will yourself to be at a specific imaginary place, but you
can’t always will imaginary people to visit with you.
Another important thing about walking the gray paths: It is vital that you continue to behave
ethically and morally. Do not say to yourself that since it is imaginary you can do things you’d
never do in the outer “real” world. If you don’t lie in the outer world, then don’t lie in the inner
one. If you’re sexually faithful to someone in the outer world, then remain faithful in the inner
one. Don’t harm others or take advantage of them, even if they are “imaginary.” I say this
because the inner world is still real; it’s a real aspect of your unconscious, also in it you
connect with the collective unconscious that is shared by all humanity. What you do in your
inner world has consequences, just like in the outer world. This is not a game. It is real.
Again, let me stress, that as you begin this practice you cannot force certain things to happen
or certain figures to appear and meet you. If you do try that, then you are not walking the gray
paths. You are only daydreaming. It will not further you along the path of Witchcraft.
Now I am going to describe exactly how I want you to begin walking the gray paths. Please
begin this spiritual discipline by doing it exactly as I instruct you. Later on, as you become
proficient, you may be a little freer in how you do it, but please continue the main aspects that
I will explain. Also, don’t do the following exercise until you have read the entire lesson.
As with all magick work in Witchcraft, begin by centering and grounding. Choose a place that
is indoors where you can assure that you will have privacy. If you can lock the door. A good
place is in front of your altar. Later you will walk the gray paths in your sacred space, but at
this point doing it outside could be too distracting. Close any windows and drapes, turn off the
lights if it isn’t too dark and have the room be silent. Put yourself in the same sitting posture
you have adopted for your centering and meditation. Be sure your eyes are closed gently (in
case you no longer meditate that way).
After you have centered and grounded, form an image in your mind of the very room you are
sitting in. Still using your imagination, see the room in as much detail as you can. See
yourself sitting in the room meditating. Then go to the door that leads out of the room, unlock
it, open it and step through. On the other side of the door will be the gray paths. I can’t tell
you what will be there. It may be a gray paths counterpart of what is outside the room in the
outer world. It may be some other gray paths counterpart to another place you know in the
outer world. On the other hand it may be someplace you’ve visited in sleeping dreams,
previously fantasized about, or be a setting in some literature or drama that is important to
you. It also may very well be someplace entirely new to you. It could be realistic, it could be
surreal. I don’t know what it will be, don’t plan it. Just let it be what it is.
There may or may not be somewhere there. If there is someone there, react to them the same
way you would react to someone in the outer world. That of course depends on the setting,
just as it does in the outer world. If you do meet someone, they might be similar to someone
you know in the outer world or in fiction you enjoy. Remember, this person is NOT the same
person as the person in the outer world, so if you do meet someone who is similar to someone
in the outer world, don’t expect the outer world person to know about this meeting
This first time you walk the gray paths, don’t venture further than the setting just outside the
door. Also don’t spend a lot of time there, at the most a few minutes. Just observe the place
and interact with anyone who is there, if it is appropriate. Don’t be surprise if someone is there
and refuses to talk to you or is mean, it does happen. After you have visited this place on the
gray paths for a little bit, turn around and look through the door and see the room where you
are sitting in meditation. Walk back into the room, close the door, lock it and walk over to
your body. Gently touch yourself on the shoulder and say, “Open your eyes, [your name].”
Remember that everything you do between first imaging the room after you ground until you
touch yourself on the shoulder and tell yourself to open your eyes is imaginary, real but
experienced with your inner senses of imagination not with your outer physical senses. When
you tell yourself to open your eyes, then do open your physical eyes. I want you all this month
to always begin and end your walking the gray paths this way. Wherever you end up on the
gray paths, when you are ready to finish your session just turn around and see the door back
to the room, and walk in, close and lock the door, and touch yourself and tell yourself to open
your eyes. This finishing up is one time that you do control what happens. You can always
make the door appear to the room and enter it. Always begin and end in the same way. One
reason for this is to keep clear the distinction between the inner and outer world. If you ever
do think you have slipped on to the gray paths without realizing it, just see if you can force
that door to appear and get off the paths as quick as possible. Then tell your confidant about
this as soon as possible. I don’t expect this to happen if you always begin and end your
sessions the same way, although later you may be in a different posture or in a different place,
but otherwise it’s the same. The other reason to always follow this method of beginning and
ending is so that you can always end a session at anytime. If you ever feel overwhelmed on
the gray paths, or if a figure is harassing you, or if something makes you uncomfortable, you
always have the right to end the experience. This is why it is important that you always know
you can immediately end the session whenever you wish simply by turning around and
exiting the gray paths.
After being on the gray paths, as soon as you open your eyes, I want you to release any
remaining energy in your grounding and then get up and walk around. You may want to
stretch. Although I don’t believe that when we walk the gray paths that our spirits actually
leave our bodies, it does feel like it happens and at the end of a session we need to get in
touch with being in our bodies again. Once you are comfortable back in your body, get your
journal and record in detail your experience of walking the gray paths. Always record each
session and do it immediately afterwards. Later on this won’t be so vital, because you may
walk the paths when you just can’t record it afterwards. For now, though, only walk them
when you can take the time to record it afterwards.
When you meet people, ask them for names. If they refuse to give you a name, then tell them
you will call them by some kind of appropriate descriptive term, for example, “The man in
rags” or “The woman who wears black.” You need to do this so you can record accurately,
and so you can invite these people to visit with you. Remember, inviting is not forcing or
controlling. It’s just extending an invitation.
There’s one more thing I need to explain to you about the gray paths. Some persons you meet
there may want you to agree to certain things or make certain deals with them. Not all the
personages you meet will be friendly, although some may act friendly when they aren’t. I
don’t want to go into depth on Jungian psychology and the different aspects of the
unconscious, but there are aspects that may not have your good intentions in mind. Do NOT
agree to anything at this point. Don’t make any promises; don’t agree to any conditions. If
someone does ask you something like that, just say, “I am a novice and I’m not ready to agree
to anything yet, but I will consider it.”
Later on (next week I will be talking about Circle casting) you will learn how to protect
yourself and find healthy guidance on the gray path. For now just follow this procedure and
you should be safe. Also, always remember; follow the same ethical, moral and spiritual
guidelines you would in the outer physical world.
HOMEWORK
1. Each day until New moon walk the gray paths as I’ve instructed you above. Keep the
sessions relatively short at first , only a few minutes each time.
2. Beginning the second week, let some of your sessions be longer. You still can keep
most of them short, but at least twice a week have a session that lasts at least half an
hour.
3. I will post a video guided meditation at the end of the week to help you work. It will
be posted in group and should be available to everyone that has access to group.
Going Beyond for the Over Achievers
(Some extra work for those who want extra! Do some or all!)
• Buy Inner Work by Robert Johnson and read it in depth, taking notes.
• Write a poem about walking the gray paths.
• Ask another Witch about his or her experiences on the gray paths.
• Begin to record your dreams also. Keep a notebook by your bed and write them down
in detail as soon as you awake.
• Invite someone you interacted with in a dream to visit with you while walking the
gray paths, will yourself to the dream setting and invite the person just as you have
invited previous persons you met on the gray paths.
• If you’ve never flown in your dreams, will yourself to have a lucid dream before you
go to sleep, then when you dream and realize you are dreaming, will yourself to fly. If
you have already flown before, remember it this month and fly in your dreams often.
Resource: adapted from Rawna Moon’s guidance course

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