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revised 16 May 2001

...we've only just begun

I'm working on a set of pages which have sprung from my pages on the Great Rite and the Sacred Marriage. Some of the material came from other sites which I've had, and rather than repeat the absolute basics, I've decided to put these three techniques into a separate page. If the concept of magic, sex or any combination of the two is likely to offend you, you might as well stop reading now (but I don't understand why you came here in the first place, really). I've given these pages a contrasting colour scheme and title typeface from the main ffetcher pages, so you can tell when a link takes you away from the exercise material.

These techniques may seem trivial or obvious. If they're obvious, then you're lucky and if you have any suggestions or improvements please let me know. If they seem trivial, then do me the honour of reading through to the end before writing them off. Many of the most effective methods are actually extremely simple.

First, time to relax. This and the breathing exercise that follows can be done solo or together as you see fit. Lie down and begin to relax. That's all there is to it, but you'll rapidly discover that it's not as simple as it appears - if it were, many masseurs would be out of business. Focus on each area and muscle of your body in turn and intentionally relax it. Feel the connection between the relaxed part and the rest of the body and brain. Go slowly and try to reach every part, including the scalp and face. Feel the tension ease out of these, just as everywhere else.

If you find you're failing utterly, don't worry: stop and try again later, but before you stop, try to identify which parts are still really tense and knotted. I find that the jaw and the arches of the feet are the hardest parts, for example, and if you know that, you can take extra time next time. Having to make an effort to relax may seem odd: it takes serious practice before it becomes instinctive, but it's worth the effort.

Now for breathing. If you've discovered how long it took to get the hang of relaxing, you'll have an idea of the effort you'll need to put into this bit as well. Lie fully relaxed and then start to slow your breathing from its normal rate to about six or seven breaths per minute (you can get much slower with practice). Count slowly to five as you breathe out and again as you breathe in. Don't hold your breath or rush the air in or out: having got nicely relaxed, use that relaxation to its fullest effect. You shouldn't feel rushed or out of breath. If at any time you find that you're running out of air, gulp a few breaths and then return to counting.

Begin to imagine that you're breathing in light with each in-breath - perhaps the first rays of dawn catching the water in a well - and staleness leaving the body as you breathe out. If it helps, think of the incoming air as fresh silver and that leaving the body as tarnished grey. Whole books have been written about this breathing and visualisation method alone, since it's the building block of a good deal of what is to come. Spend as long as you feel you need at this stage. Even after you've mastered it, you'll need to spend as much as ten minutes before continuing with whatever else you're going to do. Once it's become natural, you probably won't notice it happening unless you lose the beat, but equally, breathing will form the whole focus of the body. This focus is part of the working mechanism - hard to explain, but you'll know when you're there.

Finally, let's hug. Clearly you need a partner for a hug, but for anyone working alone, a formal recognition of your own worth is still important and you should certainly substitute it where the "Melting Hug" is mentioned. It's the recognition of each others' worth that is important in the hug and it makes a great way to start off every day, as well as to start off a working.

Start by standing a little way apart, holding hands and looking into each others' eyes. Now, maintaining eye contact, draw yourselves together in a languorous embrace, arms around each other, firmly but not harshly. Seek a place of safety and relaxation within each other. Your bodies should make contact all the way down, avoiding the subconscious "A-frame effect", which people tend to use to avoid genital-to-genital contact. This tends to happen even between lovers and even when the partners are fully clothed. The hug is much more effective when you can eliminate it. Hold the hug for as long as you can take the time, still maintaining eye contact. There, that wasn't so hard, was it?

There are some overtly sexual exercises on a related page.If you're inexperienced, though, I'd recommend gaining confidence with the exercises here, before you continue.

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