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and heavy breathing

By Ed Richardson

BEYOND THE limits of the human skin, beyond the New Age aura, even beyond the real aura, there lies a subtle, but incredibly powerful and complex structure that creates resistance in things that we do. When this resistance is really strong we don't do what we really want at all but come up with excuses that we'll look silly, be immoral or even get arrested. Sometimes this is useful, but usually it is not.

I am talking here of body armour (as Wilhelm Reich called it), not only making us inhibited, but even affecting our posture and making us ill. This body armour is particularly noticeable with people in western, capitalist societies where our past and present work ethic have made us freeze our hips and loins like ice, given us puffed out chests and shoulders and a stiff upper lip to go with it. The tangled mess of neuroses, inhibitions and complexes that make us totally obedient, isolated and cold, prevent us from knowing and acting upon true magickal will and can take a lot of unravelling.

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However, dealing with body armour is not purely a Western problem and Tantra seeks to deal with it although it uses different languages. Tantra, a Sanskrit word meaning 'tradition' is a collection of originally pre-Hindu beliefs and techniques such as astrology, sorcery, yoga, medicine and mysticism. It compares well with much of Western magick, particularly Thelemic and post-Thelemic paradigms, including a concept of Sveccachara, or the path of following your will. However, fanatics have a series of Kleshas, or blocks to hinder them in their way. The five Kleshas are Ego, Revulsion, Attachment, Ignorance and Clinging to life, and these must be broken down for Sveccachara to proceed. These compare closely with the concept of body armour, which needs to be opened up to liberate the will.

Perhaps more familiar to Westerners, is the Tantric concept of chakras. Westerners frequently view chakras as energy centres, as do some Easterners. However, some Tantrics view chakras as knots, blocking the flow of Kundalini, or life force. Kundalini is supposed to rise up the spine, from the perineum (located between the genitals and the anus) to the crown, in 'Kundalini experiences' which seem somewhat like shamanic fits or seidr, seething trances. Not everybody will have Kundalini experiences of this nature, and Kundalini will remain a metaphor for body-mind awareness and doing your will. However, the problem of chakras needs to be addressed. If chakras are seen as limitations to be transcended, as manifestations of body armour, then unravelling them will allow the flow of Kundalini and give access to the true will.

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So, how is all this done? Well, apart from meditating on chakras and Kleshas to discover fetters to be transcended and then acting on information discov-ered, there is sex and heavy breathing. Perhaps heavy breathing is a bit strong here as I am really talking about deep breathing. Deep breathing, using the stomach and chest helps redress puffed chest syndrome, so popular amongst British people. The stomach is the centre of the body and by focusing awareness there it soon becomes apparent that mind does not only have to live in the head (or a chakra). The trick when deep breathing is not to force too much air in, but to breathe it all out! Breathe in through the nose, and out through the mouth, and keep a straight spine. In Karate this is called Mokuso (meditation). Once you can breathe you can try chanting vowels, runes, barbarous names or silly buggers and this can demonstrate further awareness of different parts of the body. Try AEIO and U and feel where the sound vibrates (beyond just the throat).

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There are various other armour breaking body-mind techniques, including martial arts, yoga and ballet, and most importantly, sex. Sex is fun, intimate and risk taking so readily attacks body armour. It also unfreezes the hips, making us more sensual and less obsessed with status and careers. Tantrists also say that sex is a kundalini liberating activity. It is this reason, along with associated altered states and creativity that makes sexual gnosis generally useful in magick. Ultimately, through liberating ourselves in this way from armour, not only will we achieve better health, but we will also make our magick an expression of ecstasy.

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