This is part 3 of a series. Here are Part 1 & Part 2

How many of you tried out last week’s exercise, I wonder? How many of you really played around with the embodied sense of emotion, as I suggested? This isn’t a random question, or me wishing for more comments on the blog – quite to the contrary. It’s an interesting point that many people spend a lot of time intellectualising, in reading things like this, and not actually ‘getting around to it’.

Obviously life can be hectic, and things get busy – that’s understood. But there’s a difference between knowing intellectually and what, for consistency’s sake I’ll call ‘bone knowledge’.

The kind of thing that leads to such comments as “I could feel it in my bones.” Substitute bones for ‘water’ or ‘gut’ if you like, and yet, given the overall theme of this series, I’m sure you’ll understand why I use bones. Bones outlast flesh, outlast many things, and above are are a vital reminder of the constant change of the universe. They’re a memento mori – a reminder of your mortality. You don’t have all the time in the world, your alloted span is really rather short, as far as things go – and no matter how you might wish it otherwise. However you might wish to escape, that fact, you can’t really.

What I’m telling you is this – your body is the premier tool for both storytelling and sorcery. Sometimes, often in fact, props and tools are available to you, but your body is pretty much always there – you’re never going to be caught without your hands (unless you’ve lost them in an accident, in which case…this just got awkward to mention) but either way I am sure you get my drift. It is the one toolbox you always carry with you, no matter what.

Even if you’re of the stripe that believes you vacate your body completely during magical operations, there’s still the body to vacate in the first place. For this reason, the body is the central premise of any kind of of storytelling or sorcery, even simply as a vehicle interfaced with whatever whatever brand of consciousness theory you subscribe to. Even if such things are non-local in some quantum weirdness sense, experience shows that the meatsuit is pretty damn good at what it does, and is certainly better than nothing!

Which ties into use of the voice.

If you’ve played with the exercise in the last post, you’ll be aware just how much your body affects thought and action, as well as vice versa. The same thing applies to the voice as well. Below, I’ve listed the seven vowels of the Ancient Greek Alphabet to help you get to grips with things:

ETA – Ey/Ay
IOTA – Eee
OMICRON – O as in Hot

The pronunciation guide is rough, and you don’t have to say the word, just experiment with the tones of chanting the vowel, one by one, from ALPHA to OMEGA, and then back up again.

IMPORTANT NOTE: NEVER STRAIN. NEVER. YOUR VOICE IS AN INSTRUMENT. If you get a dry throat, or any soreness, STOP, drink some water, and rest.

Do this three times more, up and down, and as you’re doing so, notice which ones feel more potent to you. Which one resonates best for you. Notice whereabouts in your body that resonance occurs, and then focusing your attention on that area, do the same sequence again and notice what happens.

Each body and voice is individual – what’s comfortable for one, might not be comfortable for all. In general, I like to divide the body up into three – Head, Heart and Gut.

Head also includes the upper portions of the throat, while Heart includes most of the upper torso, with Gut including lower abdomen, genitals and legs (if you’re standing). Note that there is some overlap – think of your body being composed of three circles one on top of the other, overlapping slightly

Play with it again – try all seven in the Head area, and notice how it feels. Then do the Heart & Gut in turn. Notice the differences involved in sensation, and similarities. After a surprisingly short time, you’ll find that your voice actually uses your whole body, and with that use, you might begin to notice certain kinds of emotions, sensations or thoughts beginning to arise.

With work like this, it’s always good to have a notebook, and an attitude of experimentation. There’s no right answer at the moment, just exploration of your voice and body. It doesn’t matter how silly the thoughts or emotions arising are, make a note of them. Nothing is irrelevant – you’re learning to use the toolbox you were given at birth.

A NOTE ON BREATHING: Before beginning vocal work, I like to take some time to take some deep breaths and focus on my breathing before starting. I breathe in through my nose, and out of my mouth, with a hold of 3 count – so that works out like this:

Exhale for a count of three – Hold for three -Inhale for three – Hold for three – Exhale for three.

I usually perform three or nine cycles of that before beginning work, and after finishing as well. I find it helps to remind your body of its rhythms.

Now, I use the Greek vowel-tones because they have more nuance than the standard English five, and nuance is important when conveying information. You may have noticed that there are seven of them, and perhaps you know that there were seven planets acknowledged by the Ancient Greeks. These went as follows:


Now, as astute people, you will note that the names of these heavenly bodies have a variety of provenances, and there doesn’t seem to be a Greek in sight. That’s OK, you can blame the Romans for that. All of them, mythologically speaking have Greek equivalents.

Sun – Helios (later Apollo)
Moon – Selene
Mercury – Hermes
Venus – Aphrodite
Mars – Ares
Jupiter – Zeus
Saturn – Kronos

7 planets, 7 deities, and 7 vowels. Lucky 7. Crowley’s book of Qabbalistic correspondences was named Liber 777, did you know that?

The Ancient Greeks have some of the best known stories on the planet, some of the best known poets too. Homer, Sappho, Orpheus, Pherecydes of Leros, and his namesake in Sydos. So many years long dead, that they’re all mythical. All stories.

Do you know about Orpheus? They say he could charm the very rocks and trees themselves, and he descended into the underworld to claim his wife. It’s to his hymns we turn then, in this next stage – written at least six centuries before Christ.

You can find translations of them here, but I’ll reproduce the one to Hermes below, it being a Wednesday and all:


The Fumigation from Frankincense.

Hermes, draw near, and to my pray’r incline, angel of Jove [Zeus], and Maia’s son divine;
Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind.
Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill:
With winged feet, ’tis thine thro’ air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse:
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine:
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain, of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.
Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Corucian, blessed, profitable God;
Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind:
Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;
Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory’s increase.

The above is a call to Hermes, who the Romans called Mercury – it is a recounting of his mythic deeds and qualities. It calls to burn Frankincense, which has been found to be mildly psychoactive.

Now, consider the connections we have outlined above. Read the hymn, not for the strange language or formal translation but the imagery itself. Consider the vowels and the planets and the god.

Now read it again, out loud, using your knowledge of your voice’s resonance and your body.

Read it from the Head. See what happens, and how it feels.

Read it from the Heart, and do the same.

Then read it from the Gut.

I’m certain you’ll notice a difference – a difference in sensation, and that you’ll be able to feel which version fits you, the hymn, your voice and body.

And when you do, try and follow that sensation and experience it fully. See what happens to your posture, your sense of self. Experiment again, and you’ll soon learn the associations your body has with the language of the hymn and the way it feels right to you to speak it.

The right way to express Hermes, from your bones on out. You’ll be surprised by the results, I guarantee – if you actually perform the experiments I’ve outlined in this series, that is.

Next week, we’ll tie all this together with storytelling, and I’ll tell you how to pull a rabbit out of a hat!

PS – If you’re feeling keen, try these techniques with the other hymns corresponding to the gods. Note down what you get – it’ll be useful later, trust me.