Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
In this series on Beginning Meditations, I’ve been teaching the practices that I find most useful and that I most frequently recommend to students and clients. Today I’d like to introduce you to The Middle Pillar Exercise, which is the standard practice in the Western Mystery Tradition for clearing and strengthening the energy centers of the body. You might even call this a qabalistic chakra balancing. Today’s post includes written instructions for how to perform the Middle Pillar Exercise, and a 22-minute mp3 recording of a guided meditation that you can use to start learning the technique. Please also check out the other meditations in this series!
- Fourfold Breath Meditation with Tarot Ace Visualization – July 15, 2018
- Jôshin Kokyû Hô Reiki Meditation – August 15, 2018
- Discursive Meditation – September 15, 2018
- The Middle Pillar Exercise – Today’s post!
- TBD – November 15, 2018
If you enjoy this series and would like to follow my future work, I encourage you to sign up to receive an email notification when a new post goes up. You can sign up on the top right of this page (totally free and you will only receive notifications of my blog posts, published 3-5 times a month). If you’d like to subscribe to my once-a-month newsletter with notifications of classes, talks, meetup groups, special events, and a recap of my blog posts from the month, please sign up on my website or through my Facebook page.
About The Middle Pillar Exercise
This practice is based on the symbolism of the Middle Pillar of the qabalistic Tree of Life. Alternately, this pillar is known by the titles Equilibrium, Balance, or Mildness. The Middle Pillar Exercise imagines bright spiritual light descending and flowing through the central axis of the body, marked by a series of energy centers (circles 1, 6, 9, 10, and the unmarked throat center in the diagram). Visualizing certain colors and using intense vocalization, called vibration, of the associated name of G-d activates these centers. Then the light is circulated, or directed into a certain pattern of flow, throughout the whole energy field.
This practice connects us to the Divine, clears and recharges our personal energy field, and increases our capacity to channel spiritual energy. Additionally, it brings us a sense of peace and harmonious balance.
Many teachers recommend performing a clearing ritual prior to practicing the Middle Pillar Exercise. The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) is frequently used. I have used the Middle Pillar Exercise with students for many years without a prefatory clearing ritual and with no ill effects. However, if you feel your energy is disproportionately out-of-balance, please consider using the LBRP or otherwise setting sacred space before beginning this meditation.
Middle Pillar Exercise Instructions
- Visualize your body growing larger until your feet rest on the Earth as though on a ball a foot across. See the bright light of a star far, far above your head. Reach up with your right hand to the light and draw it down touching your forehead. Vibrate ATEH (pronounced “Ah-tah,” means “To you”).
Touch your chest. Visualize the light following a line down your body to the sphere of the earth at your feet. Vibrate MALKUTH (pronounced “mahl-koot,” means “Kingdom”).
- Touch your right shoulder; sphere of brilliant red light, Vibrate VE-GEBURAH (pronounced “veh geh-boo-rah,” means “and power”).
- Touch you left shoulder; sphere of brilliant blue light. Vibrate VE-GEDULAH (pronounced “veh geh-dyoo-lah,” means “and glory”).
- Hands in prayer position. See the cross of light outlined on your body. Vibrate LE-OLAM, AMEN (pronounced “leh o-lahm, ah-men,” means, “from now to the end of time, Amen”)
Descent of the Light
- Transfer attention to that region immediately above the crown of the head and there visualize a sphere of white brilliance.
- Vibrate four times, slowly, the name AHIH (“eh-heh-yeh,” I am)
- Feel that a beam of brilliance is emitted downwards from the sphere above the head towards the nape of the neck, forming a brilliant sphere. This can be white or blue-gray in color.
- Vibrate four times, slowly, the name YHVH ALHIM (“yud-heh-vav-heh ell-oh-heem,” The Lord God)
- Feel the beam of light descend to the heart. This can be visualized bright white or glowing sunny yellow.
- Vibrate four times, slowly, the name YHVH ALVH VDAaTH (“yud-heh-vav-heh ell-oh-ah vah-dah-aht,” Lord God of Knowledge)
- Feel the beam of light descend to the genitals. Visualize the brilliant white sphere, or a glowing violet sphere.
- Vibrate four times, slowly, the name ShDI AL ChI (“shah-die ell kye,” Almighty Living God)
- Feel the beam of light descend to the feet. Visualize again a brilliant white sphere, or a black or dark green sphere.
- Vibrate four times, slowly, the name ADNI HARTz (“ah-dough-nye ha ah-retz,” Lord of Earth)
Circulating the Light, Part 1
- Place your attention again at the Kether center above your head.
- Breathe the light in at Kether and pull it down to Tiphareth.
- Feel the Tiphareth center glowing brightly as you breathe out.
- Repeat four times, feeling the Tiphareth center blazing more brightly on each circulation.
Circulating the Light, Part 2
- For a four-count in-breath, breathe the light into your Tiphareth center and feel it pass from your heart down your left arm and left side to Malkuth.
- Feel the energy building in the Malkuth center as you hold your breath for a count of four.
- On the out-breath for four counts, breathe the light from Malkuth up the right side of your body and back to your Tiphareth center.
- Feel the energy again building at the Tiphareth center as you hold the breath for a count of four.
- Repeat for a total of four circulations.
- Repeat the Cabalistic Cross to close.
The Middle Pillar Exercise Recording
Although it is best to practice this meditation at your own pace, the following 22-minute guided meditation mp3 recording of the Middle Pillar Exercise can be used to help you learn the practice. Once you are comfortable with it and know it well, you can discontinue using the recording and do the exercise on your own.
This technique was promoted by occultist Israel Regardie, and can be found in his The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic, edited by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero (Llewellyn Publications, pp. 69-83 (Regardie explanation); 210-212 (Cicero version)). I learned this practice from the writings of John Michael Greer, ceremonial magician, ecologist, and former Grand Archdruid of the AODA. He teaches the Middle Pillar Exercise in such books as Learning Ritual Magic (Weiser Books, pp. 107-109), Paths of Wisdom (AEON Books, pp. 289-290), and Circles of Power (AEON Books, pp. 144-149).
What is your experience with using the Middle Pillar Exercise? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.