Of Skrying & Travelling in the Spirit Vision


By V. H. Soror V.N.R.
(Moina Mathers)


Having acquired the general rules, it is probable that the student will discover for himself particular methods more or less suited to his own particular temperament. But it may prove useful to some for me to write in some detail the mode of skrying and of astral projection which I have proved likely to bring successful results, and which by reasons of its continual tests would tend to lessen the many chances of illusion. Before proceeding further it may be well to refer to the Microcosm Lecture regarding the theory of skrying and astral projection.

The rules for skrying and astral projection being almost similar, the two subjects can be studied together, the one being taken as the complement of the other.

You can commence the operation “skrying” simply. That is to say, not projecting the astral beyond the sphere of Sensation into the Macrocosmos, but retaining it and perceiving some scene in the Universe reflected in the symbol which you hold, this latter being to you as a mirror which shall reflect to you some scenes not within your range of sight. And secondly, you can continue the operation by using the same symbol, and by passing through it project yourself to the scene in question, which before you had only per­ceived as a reflection. The latter process will probably appear more vivid to the perception that the prior one, just as in material vision one is less likely to be deceived by going to a place and actually examining it, than by obtaining knowledge of it from a mere reflection in a mirror.

For example, in the room in which l am now, I see reflected in a mirror a portion of the garden. I obtain an impression of all within my range of sight, but not nearly so powerful a one as when I step out into the garden to the spot in question, and examine all the objects therein, feel the atmosphere, touch the ground, smell the flowers, etc.

But it is well to practise both methods. The latter will probably be found to be more instructive, though far more fatiguing, since you will, when pro­jecting the astral, have to supply it with much vitality, drawn mostly from the Nephesch.

In both skrying and astral projection, then, the key of success would appear to be, alternately to employ Intuition and Reason, firstly by permit­ting each thought-picture to impress itself on the brain in the manner com­prehended generally by the word ‘inspiration,’ followed by the reason applying its knowledge of correspondences to an affirmation or correction of the same.

You must be prepared to receive impressions of scenes, forms and sounds as vivid thought forms. “Thought forms” I use for want of a better word. There are distinctly in these experiences, things heard, things felt as well as things seen, which would prove that the qualities that we are here using are really the sublimated senses. That the faculty of clairvoyance, etc. exists is easily provable after a little patient exercise with one of the first methods given unto us for the practice of skrying.

Take the Tattwa cards, and from them choose one at random, without looking to see what symbol it may represent, and lay it down on a table face downwards. Then try mentally to discover the symbol. To do this make your mind a blank as much as possible (yet always keeping control over the same) chasing therefrom, for the time being, the reasoning element, memory, etc. You will find that after a few moments of gazing atten­tively at the back of the card, that it will seem as though the thought form of the Tattwa appeared to enter the mind suddenly, and later, when more practised, it will probably appear to you as if the Tattwa symbol were trying to precipitate itself materially through the back of the card. (1) But sometimes, especially if the cards have been long kept together in the pack in the same order, we may find that the back of the card in question is charged astrally not with the symbol upon its face, but with that upon the card whose face has been next its back in the order of the pack.

Some may find it easier to turn the card over astrally, that is in imagina­tion, and in imagination endeavour to perceive what flashes into the mind at that moment.

As it is with the Tattwas that our first experiences are made, I will choose one to illustrate the following rules, preferably one that shall be in harmony with the time that I commence my working. 

Rules for Skrying

*Work if possible in an especially prepared magical room, S. M. altar in the centre, on which stand the four elements and the Cross and Triangle, incense burning, lamp lighted, water in the cup, (3), bread and salt. As well as these, place on the Altar four four magical implements. Clothe your­self in your White Robe, and 5° =6° sash, wearing on breast your Rose-Cross.

Have by you your Sword and Lotus Wand. Sit at the side of the Altar fac­ing the Quarter of the Element, Planet or Sign with which you are working. Should any other Frater or Soror be with you, arrange that they shall sit in balanced disposition (5) around the Altar. That is, if the forces with which you work be in the West, your place is East of the Altar facing West across it. Should it be inconvenient for you to have your own consecrated room, or to have all or any of your implements for your experiment, do your utmost to imagine them as astrally existing about you, and in any case in astral projection wear the garments and insignia astrally all through the experience. In fact, after constant, most constant, practice you will not probably find the absolute physical so necessary. Yet remember, that though the material in magical working is the least important of the planes in one sense, yet in another it is of the utmost importance for it crystallises the astral plane and completes it. And also have before you the exact correspondences of certain universal formulae (for in the aforesaid insignia and implements you hold a perfect representation of the Universe (6), the contemplation of which should in itself tend to prevent your mind dwelling on irrelevant sub­jects, but on the contrary compel your attention to the sublime studies of the mysteries of the Macrocosm.) Also do these Insignia, which have been con­secrated, give you a certain power through their having attracted rays of force from the Infinite Invisible more or less potent in proportion to your development.

The importance of using the implements on every occasion would appear to be great. For the implement assists the invoking of a ceremony, and the latter should help the implement, and therefore every voyage, for exam­ple, to the realms of Fire or Water should add a flame to the Wand and mois­ture to the Cup.

Next purify the room with Fire and Water and the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Imagine that we have chosen as a Tattwa, Apas­-Prithivi. For this symbol naturally, use the correspondences of Water and Earth, but bear in mind that the World of Water is here chiefly expressed, the Earth being secondary. Therefore in this particular example, it is well to use principally the Cup, the Pentacle only in a minor sense. To imply this, use the Cup to make even many of the Earth symbols, and only occasionally employ the Pentacle in working the particular symbol.

In this suppositious case of Tattva, thoroughly to fill your Sphere with the idea of this Tattwa, draw with the Cup around your Room the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram both of Water and of Earth. Then return to your seat, and for Process One, Skrying, do the following. Place the Tattwa card before you on the Altar, take the Cup in the right hand and the Pentacle in the left, and look at the symbol long and steadily until you can perceive it clearly as a thought vision when you shut your eyes. Vibrate the Names of Water and of Earth (Empeh Arsel, etc.) and try to realise the mental union more and more. It may help you to perceive it as a large cres­cent made of blue or silvery water containing a cube of yellow sand. Con­tinue trying to acquire a keen perception of the Tattwa until the Element and its shape and its qualities shall seem to have become a part of you, and you should then begin to feel as though you were one with that particular Ele­ment, completely bathed in it, and as if all other Elements were non-existent. If this be correctly done, you will find that the thought of any other Element than the one with which you are working will be distinctly distasteful to you.

Having succeeded in obtaining the thought vision of the symbol, con­tinue vibrating the Divine Names with the idea well fixed in your mind of calling before you on the card a brain picture of some scene or landscape. This, when it first appears, will probably be vague, but continue to realise it more and more of whatever nature (imagination or memory, etc., you may believe it to be — remembering that this is a passive state of the mind, and not yet is the time to test or reason. Only when the thought picture shall have become sufficiently tangible and vivid, and you find that you are beginning to lose the sense of confusion and vagueness should you begin to apply tests. Before this period, all reasoning, all doubting, is destructive to the therefore astrally fly or leap through it.

My first impression is to find myself standing on a boulder slightly out at sea, which! had noted as an important point in the picture. I realise that I am standing clothed in my 5 = 6 insignia and white robe, on this rock, facing the shore. Turning to the right lam conscious of the gallery of cliffs, and to the left and back of me the sea, everywhere.

(On the planes, it would appear well to act exactly as one would in a physical experience or a landscape, realising each step as one goes, not trying to look on both sides at once or at the back of one’s head, but turning first to the right hand and examining that, and then to the left, then turning right around, and so on. It is better as much as possible to remain in one spot (until very experienced) to avoid reflexes. In fact, the more prac­tically the experiences are worked, the more chance of success.)

I have an impression that the air is very cold. I stoop down and feel the rock, which I find is of a coral nature. I have already tested this vision in pro­cess One (skrying), but it is well to repeat the same, to see if lam sufficiently in touch with the landscape. I therefore trace with my astral Lotus Wand the symbols I evoked before, the TAU and the CAPH, in white light, making them very forcibly. In fact, I do not cease tracing them until I actually perceive them as vividly as I do the landscape. Seeing that the scene does not vanish or become dim I now with my Astral Cup and Pentacle, draw in Light very large Water and Earth Pentagrams, standing on the sea. These, even more than the former symbols should be continued and accentuated until they become to the impression of the mind as living entities as the landscape itself. If these latter be correctly drawn and sufficiently realised, there will be little chance of illusion during the rest of the experience.

The drawing of these Pentagrams standing above the sea appears at once to increase the vitality of the scene, for the rather intangible Elementals and Angelic Being that I had perceived in the reflected picture became more and more real to the impression.

Had I commenced at once with astral projection without the introduc­tion of my Skrying experience, I should have had probably to evoke these figures. In such a case, using the Invoking Pentagrams of Water, I should con­tinue vibrating the Deity Names, etc. of these Elements (employing as well as the names before mentioned, those of the Angels and Rulers, such names as Tharsis, Kerub, etc., being very potent) and would call upon a force by right of these names and symbols to manifest, and I should con­tinue this process until some forms appeared.

After careful examination, by first receiving the impression and then testing it, I can describe the following. The Angelic being, feminine in type, pale brown hair and light grey-eyes, is draped in blue and white, draperies heavy in nature, and wears a crown formed of crescents. She holds in the left hand a curious cup, heavy, and with a squarish base, and in the right a wand with a symbol much much like the positive element of Water.

The Elementals vary in type, the majority being of the mermaid and merman nature, but again many tending to the Earth and Air nature.

Turning to the Angelic Being, I make the 5° =6° Signs and LVX Signs, and to the Elementals the 3° =8 and 1° =10° Signs, and by right of these (that is to say by the knowledge of the central spirit, and, in their instance of that of water and earth) I ask to have explained some of the secrets of the working of the plane of Tattva The Angel having answered my signs by similar ones, gives the impres­sion that she is willing to instruct me. (This can enter the mind as an ex­traneous thought, or may be heard clairaudiently.) She shows how even the work on this particular spot is varied, and according to the types of the Elementals is the labour allotted. Some of the Elementals tending to the gnome type are digging in the cliffs, with spiky instruments, and boring holes therein, thereby permitting the water to enter freely. (This may explain the spongy rather than broken aspect of the rock). The mermaid and merman Elementals, which are in the large majority, I think, receive some of the dust, which they carry into the sea. (Some of this may go to form islands.) Others also are bringing earth and weeds and such-like from the depths, also probably to form land. There are also figures holding funnel-like Cups who rise from the sea, and having drawn air into them, dive again, carrying that element into the sea. 

It can be understood how these investigations can be carried to very great detail, but to be as brief as possible I ask if I may be shown the effect of this Ray of Tattva on the Universe generally and on this Planet in particular.

I understand that the effect of the Ray is generating and fructifying generally, and on the whole beneficient, though everything would depend on the Force with which it was united. Its correlative would be thick rich water, containing such substance. I ask for its influence on the Earth. (To do this I can show as a thought-picture this planet of ours, with its continents, seas, etc., drawn thereon, and pray this Angel to send a ray first to one spot and then to another.) In answer I perceive the ray falling right through the water of the Earth, as if the affinity lay with all land underwater. “The Lifter of Earth in the Waters is its Name” does the Angel say. Nearly all vegetation attracts this ray, but very especially water plants, most of all those growing underwater. The Zoophyte only partially attracts it, this latter seeming rather largely composed of some active element, Fire, I think. Among animals the Ray appears to fall on the seal and hippopotamus, and has a general affinity for most amphibious animals. With fish, the link seems to be small, a tortoise, a frog, and a snail are shown me, and some water-fowl of the duck type, very few actual birds, a sea fowl to an extent.

Falling on man, on the savage it would appear to be beneficial to health generally, to give a feeling of well-being, and would also govern to some extent generation. Its tendency would be to accentuate sensuality and lazi­ness. On the intellectual man it increases intuition, with some desire to clothe idea with form, therefore the first vague development of form in the mind of the artist. (As before remarked, these experiences can be carried very far indeed, but as this experience has already become rather voluminous I will cease at this point — believing that sufficient is here expressed to suggest the manner of working these astral experiences generally.)

I salute therefore the Angel with the LVX Signs and the Elementals by the 3° =8° and 1° =10° Signs, and banish astrally the Pentagram and other symbols that I have traced upon the scene. The more powerfully the symbols have been evoked, the more powerfully should they be banished.

If you should be feeling a sensation of fatigue, as I before mentioned, make towards the symbols the sign of the Enterer indrawing their vitality into yourself again by the sign of Harpocrates. Then return by the way in which you came, that is through the symbol, and back into your room. Once in your room, perform the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagrams (Sup­reme) that you have evoked; supposing a scene to remain on the symbol of the Tattwa banish that also. When you have had considerable practise it is probable that such detailed care as is herein indicated will not be necessary. Should the operation be too complicated to accomplish at one sitting it would be possible to divide it into parts. It is certain that you will find that you have practised your spiritual vision and acquired more knowledge in one experience carefully worked and tested than in a hundred careless and vague experiments which simply strengthen mental deception.