For the last half year I've been memorizing a ritual. What that process has looked like is I would spend a week memorizing the lines for one particular segment of the ritual and making sure I really had those lines memorized. Then I would move on to the next segment. In the midst of this memorization I also ended up modifying the ritual and adding some additional lines of my own, so those also needed to be memorized and integrated into the working. I needed to get a feel for how what I added fit into what already existed.
Why do all this memorization? It's a lot of work to memorize lines, but the reason I did is because the memorization process allowed me to intimately connect with what those words represented, the powers behind the words. I wasn't just memorizing words. I was also creating and developing relationships, with the spirits and the powers they mediate, but also with my internal reality and identity.
Still its a lot of work to do all this memorization. It's not for the faint of heart or the impatient.It's a slow process of relationship building and development of the actual power behind the ritual. And this doesn't stop when you've memorized everything. Once you've memorized all those lines and developed those relationships, its time to put it to work.
The other day, for the first time I did the full ritual. I've been doing parts of it previously, again to put into practice what I knew, but this time it was the entirety of the ritual being established, spoken, experienced and embodied. And it was so different from memorization, because I wasn't trying to remember the words. Instead I was simply opening myself up to letting the words and powers they represent be spoken through me. I was taking this relationship I had built up and putting it to work, connecting with the spirits, with the powers they represent and letting all of that come into manifestation, both within and without.
And now this is something I can do any given day. The ritual is part of me, embodied in me, something that can be brought forth, because all the effort was already made to memorize it. Now I just speak it and allow the ritual to commence.
It's a different approach to magic, a slower approach in one sense, but the difference in how I feel, and what happens when I start the cants up and create a ritual space is profound. It comes from within me and without, the marriage of the external spirits and powers with the internal embodiment. It's not doing magic...its being magic.
I've also integrated this ritual I've memorized into other magical work. Once I had done the chants, I pulled out some tools I use with space/time magic and got to work with those. The ritual I did set the space and time up for what I needed and allowed me to do that working.
This entire process has me rethinking some of my approaches to magic. I do see value in doing off the cuff magic workings, but I also see value in doing memorization and really investing some effort into fully embodying something I want to work with. Taking the natural gifts we have such as memorization or using are voice and body in ritual is mostly underused I think. But when we learn to use what we have, we open ourselves to discovering different relationships, both with ourselves, and with the world around us.