Casting Sacred Space: The Core of All Magickal Work, by Ivo Dominguez Jr.
Weiser Books, 9781578634996, 207 pp., 2012
Everyone in the occult community knows the usual complaint: there are too many 101 books, too many books for beginners. What could be more 101 than an entire book on creating sacred space? Despite the deceptively simple title and seemingly simple topic this book is not 101.
The subtitle of the book refers to making sacred space as the core of all magickal work, and it’s true most magickal systems, as most magickal workings involve some sort of delineation of space. But how hard could it be? You make a circle, you toss everything you don’t want out, and you begin — how could an entire book be devoted to that? As anyone who has dealt with multiple traditions knows, not all spaces are made equally, or in the same way. Dominguez does a brilliant job explaining a great variety of methods for the creation of sacred space, and the reasons why some methods are more appropriate in some situations than others. The majority of the methods in this book are unique being “re-created, from my past-life memories, visions, and careful thought based on this life’s learning.” If you’re the type of person to be turned off by the mention of past-lives in regards to something like this all I can say if give the exercises a try first, then decide.
The book is divided between two sections, the first is more theoretical and the second is more practical. In the theoretical section you get the basics expected in most books currently: what is energy/magick, how to sense it, how to ground and centre. What is surprising is that, without complicating matters, Dominguez manages to give a more in-depth look than most books. I found his description of the personal energy fields the most complete and accessible at an introductory level, and his advice on when to ground or centre is more sensible than most. In the practical section Dominguez provides several examples of casting space, and each section includes not just the instructions but advice on when a specific type of sacred space is more useful than another, the limitations of a specific method, how it can interact positively or negatively with other magick, and how to move beyond just casting it to mastering it.
The instructions start with the basic methods we’re all familiar with, such as calling elemental forces into the quarters while making a circle, but then they quickly become more intricate and interesting from there. Western magick draws heavily on astrology, and the creation of a circle, the placement of the elements stem from that source, but what happens when the focus is shifted from the elements in the zodiac, to the modalities, creating circles that are cardinal, fixed, or mutable? This is just the first of the new ideas that Dominquez brings to the circle.
Instructions are given for making sacred space that is heavily dynamic and active, for space that is very silent and still, space that emphasizes the energies of the Earth plane and ones that make leaving this plane easier, space that is cast externally and space that is cast internally. No matter how long you have been involved in the occult, there will be at least one new and useful method of creating sacred space in this text.
This text also contains some extra bits of useful information, for instance there is advice (complete with a chart) on how to plan the space needed for group rituals, by knowing how active the ritual will be (do they stand, sway, or dance?), and how many participants you can figure out what the diameter of the circle needs to be. It’s something simple, and useful, and yet I’ve never seen it addressed before, and have been at rituals where that knowledge would have been helpful.
If you’re just getting into magick this book will provide you with an invaluable foundation of understanding and technique for creating your sacred spaces, and if you’ve been involved in magick for a long time this book will undoubtedly provide some new insight, inspiration, and refinement to your Work.
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Kalagni is a Buddhist Ceremonial Magickian living in Toronto. Kalagni recently finished attending university for multiple degrees in fields of study including history and English, and is now hiding in the corporate world.