What are "Pathworkings?"
Within the organizations where I trained, the term has quite a specific meaning, and that is a fantasy journey, a journey in the imagination, that has been crafted along Archetypal themes to achieve specific result.
Although the term is often used interchangeably with "fantasy journey," I am using it here for a specific form of fantasy journey.
I came across a saying of an unknown originator. I state it thus: "The Tourists see and do what they came to see and do; and they experience. The Travelers see what is there; and they realize."
And why did I tell you this?
From my point of view, fantasy journeys are set up to lead you to an inner place where you can unlock experiences related to you yourself.
Pathworkings, on the other hand, lead to specific inner places created by magic workers and storytellers where you can experience your relationship with a collective archetype.
These are not universal, set-in-concrete definitions. They are just descriptions of how I am using the terms in The Magic of Pathworking. And my use is based upon what I was taught.
If someone asks you for directions to a place and you run through the route in your mind's eye while giving directions, then this is also a form of fantasy journey. If you re-live the events of a particularly pleasurable holiday, this, too, is a form of fantasy journey.
Fantasy journeys take place in the imagination. The imagination is the stimulation of the senses by internal means, rather than external. The same senses are used in a fantasy journey as an outer world journey. The differene is only in where the stimulus comes from: "outside" or "inside."
For most people, the visual sense is dominant with the other senses in a sort of ranking or hierarchy of importance. The same occurs in a fantasy journey. Usually, it is the visual imagination that is dominant and texts of fantasy journeys and pathworkings rely on this in their descriptions of the journey. But the other senses are really just as important and the more the whole range of sense can be brought into play, the fuller the experience will be.
The fantasy journey follows a pre-determined route. In this it differs from daydreaming and reverie. But though the journey itself is laid out beforehand, the experiences that a participant might have are personal, the individual reactions of that person to the events described.
If a number of people take a fantasy journey together, their experiences will be individual, yes. But it may turn out that some have similar experiences and responses to the events or details of the journey. And this is the same as when people reactive to events in the outer world. Some experience it in the same way and some do not. There is not much difference on the inner levels of the senses.
That is a description of fantasy journeys in general.
The Origins of Pathworkings
The term is derived from the magical lodges of the past, such as those of the Order of the Golden Dawn. The use of the word "path" indicated a line on the Qabalistic Tree of Life that joined two of the spheres (Sephiroth) of that diagram. The paths in those systems have particular attributions and correspondences and these were built into the images of the fantasy journey created to tread that path in the mind's eye. So the working had a particular place within a magical framework and was used for training magicians in the use of magical faculties and to open up access to different levels of thinking and experiencing in a structured, predetermined way.
The workings of the program I have in The Magic of Pathworking contain such themes drawn from Celtic, Grail, and English mythology.
An important difference between fantasy journeys and structured path-workings is the degree of undirected versus directed thought and feeling. A fantasy journey may take you to a place and invite you to note what feelings and thoughts arise. A path working, on the other hand, may take your to a place and invite you to create the thoughts and feelings that relate to the working. This is not to say that you will not also have your own reactions, but the invitations are for you to align the talents of your incarnate self with archetypal themes.
So Are these for Members of Magical Groups?
Put simply, yes, but not only for such. These workings draw on magical symbolism common to a wide variety of magical work. They also are woven through with myth and legend that I have found in common use in both Wiccan and Neo-Pagan groups. In fact, I have led pathworkings similar to these in presentation to both formal magical groups and wild magic groups, an unusual combination. These workings draw on my own experience, study, and practice.
Why Do Pathworkings?
Again, put simply, discovery and integration.
Let us suppose we are each a charioteer trundling along. Say we have a chariot and two horses. Suppose the chariot and charioteer represent the physical and energy bodies. Now suppose that one horse is Reason and one horse is Feeling. Then it makes more sense to train both horses than to focus on just one. It will give a smoother and more directed ride when required.
Can we train the feelings? Of course we can. Actors have been portraying feelings on demand, getting into character, for centuries. We can do it but commonly we do not.
So, in some workings, you will be invited not only to note and react in thought to features but also to allow suggested associated feelings to arise, or to generate such feelings. This is of course in addition to those that arise in you at the time.
And there is one other thing.
The western tradition teaches that our everyday world is in the outer plane of manifestation. It also teaches that there are inner planes. And a given plane is causal to that next outermost to it. A given plane is a plane of effects for those planes that are inner to it.
As our physical existence is the outermost plane, then all other planes are inner to this one and causal. It follows that anything undertaken on the inner planes can, under the right condition, produce effects in our outer physical plane.
So, you should understand that work done on an inner plane can, under the right conditions, produce changes in an outer plane, like this physical one we know so well.
However, inner plane changes can also come through in changes in consciousness, too, and it is this aspect that is the primary reason for performing pathworkings.
We place an archetypal impulse on the inner planes and it works out into either everyday physical life, or, more usually, into consciousness—ours or that of someone else.
This is the true meaning of magic—to produce changes in consciousness in accordance with will.
Excerpted from The Magic of Pathworking, by Simon Court.