Happy March, everyone! Spring is nearly upon us. This isn’t my very favorite time of year, to be honest, I am just such an Autumn, but there is something really magical about Spring. And I’m being totally literal here. Each morning I drive to work at the exact same time (I’m a total creature of habit) and every day the sky is a little brighter.
The growing season starts really early here in the part of Southern California where I live, and the almond orchards behind our house are already blooming. My tulip bulbs have already popped, those are my absolute favorite flowers, so it’s always exciting when they make an appearance. They’re usually the first in the garden. The harbingers of spring.
I’ll be clearing out the vegetable gardens soon, getting the herb gardens cleaned up, this is all the old lady stuff that gets me so excited. Our grandmas knew what was up. They’d be out on the porch drinking sweet tea, watching the hummingbirds, just happy as hell. Spring is legit.
We are looking forward to a full moon on the 7th, I think, and that’ll be lovely. I know there are a lot of big intentions in the works for this full moon. Last week, we talked about reincarnation and past lives, and I mentioned that I suspect I was attacked with a knife in a past life due to some very specific sense memories that have nothing to do with anything that has ever happened to me or a loved one in this lifetime. I also asked for your stories, and I got a lot of cool responses. I wanted to read a couple. One was from the Discord server, from a witch who describes the visceral sense memory of falling to their death in a past lifetime. Similarly, a witch on Facebook said:
Since I can remember I’ve had a ridiculous phobia of cotton balls. I can’t have them in my house. If I have blood drawn, I beg them not to use a cotton ball to stop the bleeding. If I see them in their raw form as decoration, I feel like my teeth are sweating and my throat feels like it’s closing up. I’ve had a suspicion that this is related to a past life and now I am DEFINITELY going to work to find out.
Another message came from Instagram, and this witch says:
In my past life regression, I was a peasant woman outside of a thatched house. It felt like I was protecting my home and family. A barbarian on horseback hit me in the head with a hatchet. I immediately came out of it but had the most excruciating headache of my life. I think that’s why I am still extremely protective of my home and family.
Another past life tale from the Facebook group is this:
Even though I grew up in a very catholic (although, at times weirdly pagan) household, we always spoke of reincarnation. When I was young, probably around three, I told my mother of my “before family”. I gave her the names of my family and told her that the village had burnt down. Apparently the names sounded African in descent but she unfortunately didn’t write them down. She was adamant that it was a legitimate memory and in her words “this was before the Lion King and we are Caucasian Australians, how would you have known African names?”
I’ve never fully been able to tap back into this memory but from other last life meditations etc, I sense that I have amends to make in this life. Not in a people-pleasing way, but perhaps I was a bit too focused on status rather than altruism.
That last bit is especially interesting to me. In that episode, we didn’t really get too deep into the implications of a past life that maybe wasn’t so well-lived. We didn’t really speak of karmic debt or anything like that, but it can come into play when we do go backwards into those lifetimes, and we discover things about our former lives. It can be really helpful to know what kinds of lessons we are here to learn.
And one more from the Facebook group:
So … I had decided to go Hedge riding (traveling between realms in a deep meditative state).
The next thing I know, I was walking through a settlement at dusk in autumn. It felt and looked Anglo Saxon. It was completely immersive, the dogs, horse smells, fire smoke, babies crying, men sitting talking quietly , tired women carrying pails or just sitting outside thatched huts.
I absolutely knew this tribe, my settlement was in trouble, crops weren’t good and sickness was showing. I needed to find help and had to travel up into the mountains to speak to a hermit living in a cave. I walked and tried to climb up the mountain, I was exhausted, I slipped and kept tripping, my hands were bleeding and I was covered in dust.
I got to the hermit’s cave and begged for help. Now just as he started to talk to me I was literally ripped back into the present with such force that I lay on the bed feeling really sick and disorientated and overwhelmed with a sense I’d failed. I’ve never forgotten it and I’ve never resolved what that experience was.
So I am just loving all of this interaction. It’s such a trip and I’d love for more people to jump in and speak their peace. And if you’d like to reach out, I am most easily reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send a message through the website which is middleagedwitch.com and if all else fails, you can DM me on social media at @middleagedwitch. The Facebook group is called Middle-Aged Witch Coven and I will link it in the episode description, and you can find me on my Discord server which is also called Middle-Aged Witch Coven, and I’ll link that as well.
This week we are going to talk about a witchcraft concept that’s a bit more obscure than the usual topics that we cover here. We are going to talk about Thoughtforms, specifically the thoughtforms that are sometimes called Servitors. This is a concept from Chaos Magick, it’s also something that’s been explored in so-called ceremonial white witchcraft and even has roots in Tibetan Buddhist mysticism in the form of Tulpas. Now, this topic was a suggestion from a witch called Daksha, and in the course of our discussion, we also talked about getting more into the subject of chaos magick at large, but that is such a vast concept.
I feel like we can dip our toes in the chaos waters a little by talking about thoughtforms, just to begin. And maybe we can begin to wade into chaos magick a little at a time in future episodes. But chaos magick kind of puts people off sometimes, so we are just gonna begin where we are. So in a very simplified sense, a thoughtform is just an entity that is created by a witch to carry out specific tasks on the witch’s behalf. It’s basically a splinter of the witch’s consciousness that is sent out separately from the witch to do any number of things.
The witch may send out this thoughtform to collect information, it may be created to act as a healing entity, the witch may task it with divination, or protection, or whatever the case may be. There are different methods that a witch can use to create and designate the purpose of a thoughtform, and it mostly just depends on your preferences, really. As with literally everything else when it comes to witchcraft, there is no one right way.
In his book, Condensed Chaos, published in 1994, chaos magician Phil Hine writes at length about servitors, how to create them and how to use them. Artist and occultist Austin Spare, who developed a lot of groundbreaking magickal concepts, and who developed the method that I personally use to create sigils, believed that the same method he devised for creating sigils could be used to endow those symbols with sentient thought, essentially transforming them from regular old sigils into thoughtforms, although he didn’t’ use that term. In his writings, he declared that feeding sigils with free belief incubates “obsessions”, which in turn gives rise to these entities. Basically, we believe in it, and therefore we make it a reality.
Another book called Helping Yourself with White Witchcraft, this one published in 1972 by Al Manning, pares the idea of thoughtforms down to a very manageable proposition. On the topic of thoughtforms, Manning writes this:
“Essential to your progress in becoming an effective Witch is a knowledge of the reality of non-physical entities… We will call the entities that you build or create yourself thoughtforms. The real power of your ritual work will come as you learn to build a fully living entity by moulding the energy generated by your creative imagination with your constructive will.”
In so many words, we are creating a consciousness that is separate from ourselves and then projecting it out into the world to do whatever we want it to do. I know, this is some pretty out-there shit, and chaos magick is like that, you know, as a concept it is very nebulous, it is very slippery. But stay with me, because there is solid ground beneath all of this.
I’m going to give kind of a crash course in Manning’s method for creating thoughtforms, which is a bit simpler in its approach, and then I’ll go through the Hines method, which is a lot more complex, but that’s because the servitors it creates are themselves more complex. They’re capable of more complex operations.
Manning’s method really only requires, as he puts it, the energy of your hands, your heart, and your mind. Before you begin his method, you need to know exactly what your thoughtform’s purpose is going to be. If you want it to help you find a new apartment or something, visualize the exact specifications of this new place, how many bedrooms, monthly rent, eastside of town close to shopping, or whatever. Know very clearly what you want this thoughtform to do. In this example we want it to help us find this new apartment.
Now that we know exactly what it’s for, I’m going to read directly from page 54 here and just let Mr. Manning teach us how to create it:
Hold your hands a comfortable distance in front of you with your palms facing each other. Let your fingers curl in a relaxed manner and bring your hands together until your fingertips are about two inches apart. Now, WILL the vital energy to flow between your hands and FEEL the energy build up between them. Even the slight sensation of heat or tingling indicates that the energy is flowing in response to your direction. As energy builds in power, begin to program it by projecting your clearly formed thought into it from your mind while you add love energy from your heart. Picture your thought (the realization of your desire) clearly in the energy between your hands, thus it is easy to love. Continue to program and love the energy field until you feel it take on a life of its own. Then you can release it in love to gather the physical matter it needs to manifest.
Manning’s book has so many examples of how to effectively use thoughtforms, and I do recommend his book. It is like, 50 years old but there’s so much to it. Not just thoughtforms, but all kinds of cool, early-70s era magick.
Hines’ method asks a bit more of us up front, because rather than simply using our own will and energy to create the thoughtform out of thin air, Hines invites the witch to use symbols and correspondences to really specify and bolster the servitor’s abilities and its functions. Hines uses the term servitor rather than thoughtform, but for the purposes of this episode, we will use these terms interchangeably.
Hines breaks down the creation of a servitor into several steps. First, define the general intent for this entity that we are creating. Is this a protective servitor? Is its purpose to bring us luck? Success? What is its general purpose? Figure that out, and that’s step one.
Step two is to define the servitor’s specific intent. According to Hines, this is where we create the core of the servitor’s purpose. Its Mission Statement, if you will. This is where we need to intimately understand what exactly we want this servitor to do, and how. If its general intent is to bring us love, then step 2 is where we get real specific about what that looks like, and what it definitely doesn’t look like. We don’t care how perfect this new lover is if they’re already married with a baby on the way. Make a very clear mission statement for your servitor.
Step three is to curate some symbols that are appropriate to the servitor’s task. You may recall that I spoke about Austin Spare earlier, and the Spare method of creating sigils. I’ll link to the Sigil episode that we did that goes into Spare’s sigil making method, but what is so powerful about his method is that it combines the written word with a number cipher to create a symbol. That symbol is the sigil and it represents our manifestation, whatever it may be.
And this ties into how Hines creates his thoughtforms, his servitors. His method uses the Spare sigil method as one of the possible steps to create the servitor. Hines also recommends using planetary symbols, or color correspondences, or numerology, or herbs, or specific scents, incense, whatever else you may decide to use to impart meaning and significance to your thoughtform. Hines suggests meditating on, focusing on, any and all of the possible correspondences that you can think of that will help to make this servitor as real and as vivid as it’s possible to be. The more layered and rich the symbolism, the more powerful your servitor will be.
The next step is to determine the time factor for your servitor. Will it be working continuously? Or off and on? Or for a limited duration, after which it won’t be needed any more? Figure out the answers to these questions, and then work the answers into the symbolism that you’re creating for it. If this is a healing servitor, you may incorporate its duration into its creation. Hines gives an example for a healing servitor, which he encodes as follows:
To promote rapid recovery and health in (the name of the target), working at intervals of seven minutes, every seven hours, for seven days, the sum of which is the spell of your life.
There are a few other minor considerations, such as naming the servitor, or assigning a specific shape, but these are entirely at the discretion of the creator. And so is, for that matter, the method of “launching” your servitor. There are a hundred different ways to do it, and whatever method you typically use to work any sort of spell is going to work for you. Cast a circle, light a candle, focus your intent, speak your words, visualize, raise energy and release it.
As it happens, sex magick is a fantastic way to launch a servitor. The Hines method, as I said, is a lot more involved than the Manning method. And if you’re just barely considering getting your feet wet with thoughtforms, probably the Manning method is gonna be more your speed. But there’s a lot we can do with these entities. I recommend Manning’s book wholeheartedly, but for the Hines method, I really do love Condensed Chaos or another book called Prime Chaos, also by Phil Hines. He just has a way of getting to the point that a lot of books on chaos magick just don’t.
There is a tendency in chaos magick to almost be deliberately obscure. There is a lot of gatekeeping in this discipline and a lot of overcomplication. And I do not truck with that. The purpose of chaos magick is actually to strip away all of the unnecessary dogma and pomp and circumstance and levels and degrees of other magickal traditions. Chaos magick is all about fuck around and find out. Trial and error. It is intimidating, but we don’t need to be intimidated.
I hope you’ll consider giving this a go, I hope you’ll consider checking out these books. These are weird concepts, I know, this isn’t what you’d call normal, probably. But what the hell are we doing this for? Not to be normal, that’s for sure. As always, transcripts for this and every episode are available on the website. I hope you have a magickal full moon, and we’ll talk again next week. My name is Eli Ro, and this has been the Middle-Aged Witch podcast.
Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine (1994)
Helping Yourself with White Witchcraft by Al Manning (1972)
Prime Chaos: Adventures in Chaos Magic by Phil Hine (1998)
Facebook Group link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/941149357051804/
Discord server: https://discord.gg/KW65UFvF3A
Sigils Episode: https://middleagedwitch.com/sigils/