What the hell is “Volantia”? Read this, from the blog of the inestimable Jack Faust. It’s an except from Paschal Beverly Randolph’s Mageia Sexualis. The entire book is downloadable from archive.org, in several formats, but because Randolph insists on the total universality of sexual polarity (polarity being a touchy, tricky subject for me and maybe fodder for another post, another time), and thus he pissed me off, though he’s long dead, I don’t feel like finding the book for you. I didn’t take you to raise, as the old people used to say. (No offense, I hope, but I didn’t.)
Simply put Volantia is active visualization, the creation of willed hallucinations in the external world, and ultimately, when you’ve mastered the technique, of easily creating nifty and useful thoughtforms and astral constructs. As Randolph says: “Five or six months later – if he methodically exercises every day – the student will have acquired the capacity to create, in calmly staring at a white surface, a mental form clothed in a corresponding astral body. This body will manifest before the student so that communication is established between the two.”
The method is very simple — Inside a white circle you make a small, not too small though, black circle (during the months of practice you use inner circles in all six or seven colors of the rainbow, depending I suppose on whether or not you believe indigo is a color unto itself or just another shade of blue as is the contemporary orthodoxy). You stare unwaveringly as you can at the center of the, e.g., black circle for 60 seconds. Then you turn your head and look at a white wall and stare at the retinal after-image. This will fade, but it will return again. I’ve found that for me the image will fade and return, each time more blurry, up to four times. (Read the link above as I’ve omitted some crucial instructions.)
Extremely cool. I felt I had to start, although I had my doubts. I’m very weak at visualization, an absolutely essential skill in my opinion, even if you’re not primarily a visually oriented person but an auditory or a tactile sort (like me). I’ve always doubted to the point of disbelief stories of practitioners of Golden Dawn and Thelemic pentagram rituals turning out the lights and actually seeing their blazing blue pentagrams hanging in the air.
—But I’ve been slack, not practicing Volantia for the last week or so, after faithfully doing so for about three weeks. That’s going to change because of something I accomplished yesterday.
It won’t sound like much to the average magician. This is 101 level stuff. But I skipped or skimmed some of the 101 level stuff. I was in crisis mode when I began learning magic all on my own (now the story of how that came about will make for a wild post some day), so for me what I did was an amazing breakthrough. As I was sitting in a waiting room yesterday, I had a blank white wall in from of me. On a lark, for no reason I know of, I willed the retinal after-image of the white circle to appear on the wall. And a large circle appeared on the wall, much darker than the white paint. (The after-image of course in the inverse color of the original image.) Then I willed the after-image of the smaller circle to appear in the center of the dark circle. And the white circle inside the dark circle which you see with Randolph’s technique appeared.
Then I played, just a little bit, with other shapes of white and black — external and appearing as though I were somehow casting shadows on the wall or shining a strangely mutable flashlight at it. I don’t have any more doubts. “I’m a believer.” – (The Monkees)
I’m so going to practice today.
PS — I don’t know where Randolph got the term Volantia. In Latin it’s the nominative and accusative present active participle of volare, to fly. It means, literally, flying things … hmm, that’s suddenly giving me ideas for the future possibilities of Volantia … thoughtforms … astral constructs…