Excitatory actions are the second basic type of action that a magician can use to induce an altered state of mind. Excitatory actions involve hyperstimulating yourself through activity. A runner's high is an example of an excitatory action. The adrenalin caused by the running helps to stimulate euphoric state for the runner, which in turn can allow him/her to ignore more pain and tiredness. The benefit of doing excitatory actions is that they can help you achieve an altered state of mind in a relatively quick and easy fashion. However, it's also worth noting that some excitatory activities don't leave you with as much control. For some people that can be preferable, but it also has its own dangers. Below are some examples of Excitatory Actions:
Running, Weight Lifting, & other Exercises: I mentioned the example of the runner's high earlier, but you can also experience such a high with other exercises. Exercising long enough will push the person into an altered state of mind that can be used to focus on a magical activity. I used to do a series of exercises that I would use for my daily practice, to help me exercise my body, while also using the exercise as a purging/purification from whatever issues I was dealing with at the time. It was definitely effective in both regards.
Dancing: Dancing, especially combined with some kind of repetitive, rhythmic music can be used to induce an altered state of mind. I've also witnessed cases where a person would wear an animal skin and do a dance to the animal in order to create a trance state where she connected with the animal spirit. Dancing is particularly effective as a way to invoke the spirit, allowing it to possess your body and move it through dance. A person can just let themselves go in the movement and then invoke the spirit to allow it to take over.
Entheogens: Entheogens are foreign substances used for the purpose of inducing an altered state of conscious. Alcohol is an entheogen as are drugs, both legal and illegal. While these substances definitely work, it's worthwhile to be cautious in employing them, both in terms of avoiding addiction and also avoiding overreliance on them for achieving altered states of consciousness. If you are going to use them, make sure you have someone on hand who can watch over you and keep notes.
Video Games: I include video games, because of the sensory stimulation, and also because played long enough they can cause altered states of consciousness. I've used video games for sigil work and know of one case where a person used a game to help him coordinate his physical exercise. He created a character that represented him and used that character to model the changes he wanted to accomplish with his exercise. It seemed to work rather well. Video games can be addictive, so it's important to employ some caution in utilizing them for magical work. There are cases, particularly in South Korea, where people have killed themselves because they focused on playing games to the exclusion of anything else.
Yoga, Tai Chi, etc: Yoga, Tai Chi, and related activities uses specific postures and motions to achieve an altered state of consciousness. Some movement is slow, some fast, all of it is used to create a hyper aware state of the movement. Moving meditation is an example of a hyper aware state. The focus is on doing the movements and using them to meditate in the process. This kind of movement is different from dancing, because the movement is far more controlled and focused. Moving meditation can be quite useful for both internal and external magical work. The movements can be thought of as aligning the magician with a particular goal or purpose, with each movement directing the magician toward that goal. The focus on movement is ideal for also focusing on the goal, and incorporating the purposeful movement into the achievement of the goal is useful because the movements condition the magician to pursue actions that will bring the goal about. Doing the moving meditation every day conditions the mind and body of the magician to achieve the goals s/he invests into the movements.
BDSM: BDSM involves using pain, either physical or emotional, to create an altered state of mind. It can also involve using sensuality and arousal for the same purposes. For some people a need to submit or dominate will also be part of what puts them into an altered state of mind. In BDSM, you can encounter cases where some use of sensory deprivation is involved, but it's usually done for the purposes of enhancing other senses. The end goal is to create an altered state, which along with the ritualistic aspects of BDSM, makes it ideal for magical workings.
Sex: Sex has been used for magical purposes for a long time. Tantra and Taoism include sexual practices that can be used for magical purposes, and Western magical traditions also have sex magic practices. Whether a person is masturbating or is have sex with a partner or partners, sex can be used as an excitatory action. It does take some discipline and focused will to effectively use sex for magical purposes, and many people who think they are doing sex magic usually aren't, especially if they end up focusing on the pleasure to the exclusion of the specific purpose they are supposed to be focused on.
Excitatory actions are useful for achieving an altered state of consciousness quickly. A person can get caught up in the feeling and sensations and use that to put them into the proper mental space to pursue magical work. But the magician shouldn't focus solely on using these types of activities. A good balance of inhibitory and excitatory actions is wise to cultivate. I've known people who tend to rely exclusively on excitatory actions for their magical work, and what I've found is they tend to be more strung out and find it hard to do meaningful internal work. That said, excitatory actions are especially useful for doing magical work that is focused on the world around the magician. Since such actions already involve raising energy, the magician can easily direct that raised energy toward the specific problem or goal that s/he is using magic to achieve. As I mentioned above with moving meditation, the magician can imprint on him/herself specific goals s/he wants to achieve by using excitatory actions. The actions will reinforce what the magician wants to achieve by fully conditioning both the body and mind to seek to achieve those goals.
Anything I missed? What would you include or add to this information?
Book Review: Practice of Magic (Affiliate Link) by Draja Mickaharic
This is an excellent book for both beginners and advanced practitioners. I was impressed by the clarity of thought and focus, as well as the author's definition of magic. I was also impressed by his willingness to critique Crowley's thoughts and ideas, which is always refreshing to see. The author also provides some useful exercises that can help the magician enhance his/her own practice. What is most evident from reading this book is that the author has done the work.
5 out of 5