An affirmation ritual begins by gathering components.
You will need sensory artifacts, items that represent each of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.
- Sight can include pictures or artwork or magic symbols or candles, etc;
- Sound most often involves music or some other type of auditory recording like rain, a rain forest, theta waves, white noise, etc;
- Touch is something you can feel like fabric, ice, a sharp tack, sand, glass, leather, etc;
- Smell might involve incense, food, perfume, gasoline, ganja, etc;
- Taste naturally food, gum, candy, etc.
These examples are just off the top of my head and you can naturally improvise.
A database of anchors can be easily created of important images that conjure positive feelings:
- Boardwalk fries drenched in vinegar
- The warm tingle of a good stretch
- A cold shot of rum stinging your throat
Objects and abstract ideas can also be captured by associated senses. One of my fondest writing experiments was to capture the senses of an addiction by describing an object:
- the cold sweating can, the crisp sound of the can opening, the carbonated fizzle, the chug, the sizzle in my throat
More specifically, though, the items that you choose aren’t meant to be chosen at random but rather deliberately collected as symbols, usually with a theme connected to a particular person, idea, revelation, trauma, etc, related to the goal of your ritual.
For example, with all of the troubles that I have with relationships, I might chose items representing a relationship with a particular person, for example:
- A picture of an ex-lover, a power symbol, a blue candle, and a red candle (sight)
- A CD of Pink Floyd songs representing our favorite band (sound)
- A shred of Cashmere fabric bought from a rag shop representing a sweater that I wore on a date that a boyfriend rubbed his nose in while we were making out in a department store (touch)
- Strawberry incense (smell)
- A chocolate covered strawberry representing something I ate with a boyfriend before kissing on a second date (taste)
Hopefully you can see how the above list can have so many substitutes.
After re-reading the final issue of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, I found a superbly perfect example:
Morpheus asks William Shakespeare what type of wine he would like to drink and Shakespeare responds,
When I was young, my first month in London, a gypsy-girl gave me wine to drink. It was tawny-colored, and sweet as honey, and after I had taken a sip, she kissed me, and no kiss has ever tasted so finer. Nor no wine neither.
This isn't even my memory and I am impressed and happy. Sensory blurbs like these can be created -- although the power of affirmation rituals comes more from the objects themselves. Then again, other magicians might argue that representations or simple images in one's head are just as good.
To continue, naturally you need other practical items like a CD player, matches or a lighter, and other stuff.
The purpose of these items is to create sensory stimulation that invokes a particular feeling or association.
Most people only engage one or two of their senses (usually sight and sound) and rarely engage in their other senses. Description using smell, taste, and touch are generally more creative because they are underused. The affirmation ritual engages multiple senses to activate unused section of the imagination for more vivid creativity.
To begin the actual ritual, go somewhere. I prefer somewhere in the middle of nature (like a field or a forest) or somewhere in a desolated part of a city. Night time is best.
I recommend that you record your experiments either on a tape player or some type of video camera.
Draw three circles. I recommend using some type of disposable substance like whipped cream in a can to draw your circles. It’s cheap, tasty, and biodegradable. Just make sure to test the can that it works. I once had a ritual where the whipped cream can was broken and I couldn’t draw my circles.
Or use simply chalk. Chaos magick is about using whatever works.
Each circle has its own name and purpose.
Circle 1: “behavior”
Circle 2: “intent”
Circle 3: “creative”
Breathe deeply from the pit of your stomach until you feel yourself relax.
Gather your thoughts together and meditate on any of your negative behaviors. What are you doing that you want to change? Don’t think just pour out all of your undesirable behaviors one by one. Force yourself to spill your guts; dig deep and admit your darkest secrets (“Incest turns me on”) or admit to superficial problems (“I don’t brush my teeth three times a day”) until you are exhausted.
Or focus on one particular problem: you'll often find that one thing leads to another…
You are adding to your affirmation image database.
You will know when you are done with the Behavior Circle.
Move on to the Intent Circle.
Focus on the following question: why do you engage in these behaviors? What is your purpose, reason, or intent with these behaviors? Figure it out. Why are you angry? Why do you fall in love with anyone who shows you the littlest attention? Why can’t you engage in simply hygiene on a daily basis? Force yourself to come up with as many answers as possible. Ramble on saying whatever comes to your mind. Don’t stop talking. You’ll be surprised what comes out.
Talking to yourself and even better yet asking questions of yourself is a powerful yet simple way of getting answers.
You will know when you are done with the Intent Circle.
Every problem can have more than one solution; every behavior can have alternate behaviors. Why do you fall in love so easily? Are you lonely? Do you feel socially isolated or obligated to have a relationship to feel important? Has the importance of a successful relationship been over-impressed upon you? What else can you do to ease the loneliness? What other types of social obligations are there to take the place of your relationship problems? How can you socialize more? What other types of relationships can you form or negotiate? Do you get angry too easily? Anger is a response to a frustrating situation so what can you do instead of getting angry? How else can you react? How can you deal with your anger?
In the Creativity Circle, examine your problems, perhaps even returning to the Intent Circle if you get stuck, and come up with as many alternates to negative behaviors. In Freudian psychoanalysis, this technique is called sublimation, transferring your desires or behaviors from one object to another or from one behavior to another. Instead of getting angry or yelling at someone, twirl around in a circle like you were a top or start singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Instead of searching websites looking for a new significant (knowing full well that it'll end in ruins), practice drawing and creating your visual affirmations. Instead of contemplating suicide, practice shooting targets at a shooting range.
Hmmn, for some reason I'm thinking about Twister (the game).