7 + LESSON: The Secret in the Center + the Void
In our previous lesson we refined our definition of the Center and clarified that in Human+Spiritwork, most of the time, we’re talking about our personal Magical Center.
[ 6.02.06 Re-visiting & Re-visioning the Center ] “My Magical Center is the place or places where my conscious presence influences the intersection of my manifest Self and my un-manifest Self.”
So, what’s the secret in the Center?
The Secret is that the Center has a Center, which I call the Void. And, I’ll warn you right now, it’s disturbingly peaceful in there.
Picture a hurricane. The whole storm is like what we’ve been calling a Center, an intersection of manifest and un-manifest change and identity, soul and spirit. The Void is the eye of the hurricane, the center within the center—calm, quiet, and still.
The word void comes from Latin vacare meaning to be empty.
There are many reasons a spiritworker should be interested in the Void, but for this lesson let’s go with my top three. First, the Void is the Cauldron of Potential. Second, the Void is the Gateway of Fire. And third, as I already said, the Void is disturbingly peaceful. Let’s look at each of these three reasons in more depth.
The Void is the Cauldron of Potential. What does that mean?
Let’s start with the cauldron part. I call the Void a cauldron, because a cauldron sits on the fire for cooking, just as our Void sits in the Blaze at our Center.
Another reason I call the Void a cauldron is because in traditional witchcraft the night sky is sometimes imagined as an overturned cauldron, the iron mound. We are looking up into the belly of it. And, yes, there are stars, but there is also space. So much emptiness. When entering the Void in your Center, I invite you to imagine the transcendent sense of scale that one might feel gazing up at a clear night sky. The eye of a hurricane, after all, can be forty miles wide.
I also call the Void a cauldron because cauldrons and voids are both spaces in which magic can be brewed, in which strange new spirit can be created.
Recall from our lessons on Bringing Forth Life in Phase Five the four roles of creation: Conceiver, Catalyst, Contributor, and Creator.
[ 5.05.02 Bringing Forth Life Part I: Conceiver, Catalyst, and Creator ] “As the Conceiver we hold the unborn spirit in our womb, in our mind, in our heart, in some kind of space or vessel within our spirit.”
The Void is a space inside our Magical Center. It is the nothing from which wholly/holy new something can arise.
Most of the time when we create, we don’t utilize the Void. We use some kind of space, but we don’t use that space. We don’t create things that are wholly new. We create things that are mostly new, or that are new to us, or that are a new combination of the old.
Why is the Void capable of conceiving these holy, novel spirits?
Recall that we must eat of any realm in which we wish to be enfleshed. The Void is empty, it eats nothing, so it is of no realm.
And, recall that a realm is defined as a place with shared rules. So, if the Void is of no realm, the Void has no rules—no limits.
That lack of rules is where the Potential part comes into the Cauldron of Potential title. The Void is a place in which anything can be conceived, because the Void has limitless potential.
You might be thinking: “Sweet witch’s titties! I can go into my Center, catalyze the Void, and manifest anything! No rules! Woo!”
It’s a little more complicated than that. The Void is the eye of the storm. For what is conceived there to be created, it must be born out of the eye, through the storm, and into a realm, which will have rules.
And, it’s a little more complicated still, because what is born from the Void can change some of the rules. Specifically, it can change the rules of the Inner Realm of the spirit that created it.
If you’re wondering what the rules of your Inner Realm are, consider applying what we learned in Phase Five about finding our Purpose.
[ 5.11.02 Identifying my Purpose ] “If purpose is the thing we put forth, then we can play with the idea of it being something that flows out from us, not something we strive towards.”
As you start to identify, through high-contrast consciousness, what your spirit is putting forth and what it’s holding back, you can consider that this may be a reflection of your rules. What do I allow myself to share and express? What do I always hold back? What inside of me do I force to conform to certain expectations or requirements before I express it?
Notice which of your rules seem healthy, and which seem like:
[ 4.05.02 Suffering and Over-Analyzing ] “How does this prove that I’m not good enough? That I’m not capable. That I’m a fraud.”
So, for instance, if one of my rules is that whatever I create should prove that I’m a fraud, and I write a book that I haven’t conceived in the Void. Then, while it may be a wonderful story, while it might be very successful and make me rich and change my life, it will still have to prove that I’m a fraud. Creating it won’t have changed my inner life much, won’t have influenced my self-loathing rule. I mean, there may be some ripples from this act of creation that create subtle change, but the rules of my Inner Realm won’t be radically altered.
The mark of the Void is this: if I write a book that originated in my Void, creating it will completely change my Inner Life. It will coincide with a personal paradigm shift, a re-birth.
It’s possible the book’s extraordinary power will stop there. It completely changes my Inner Life. I put the story forth into the world, and it doesn’t change the world so much. I mean, maybe it touches some folk, maybe it doesn’t, but it certainly doesn’t change the rules of the world; it doesn’t mark a greater paradigm shift in human society or anything like that.
But, every now and then, books do change the rules of the world. Books and other kinds of creations and expressions. Why is that?
Well, we’ve been focused on our Void as the conceiver, but who’s the daddy?
Okay, gender neutral: who is the catalyst?
There are two possible answers, both divine.
First, the catalyst can be our own Divine Self. The union of my Great Wholeness (my Divine Self) and my Great Emptiness (my Divine Void) would yield a divine child, a new divine spirit greater than the sum of its parents. If this child is born from my Magical Center into my Inner Realm, then what we’re talking about is a new Divine Self emerging—my Divine Self—reborn.
My new Divine Self would not have to conform to the rules of my previous Self, because it would be born through the Soul Key of Blood, the temporary union of Soul & Spirit, in which all of my identities become change and change becomes my identity. At that moment, all of my old rules are mutable.
Of course, not all new Divine Selves express themselves as books, but we are all, always, putting something forth. And, whatever we are putting forth during those moments, minutes, or months of transformation as the new Divine Self fully emerges will bear the mark of the Void.
So, what’s the second possibility for a Divine catalyst?
It’s God. Or a god. (I’m using god as a gender-neutral term here.) It’s some divine spirit greater than myself. That spirit, too, could create a spark in the center of my center that would initiate my re-birth and trigger my transformation.
In some spiritual cosmologies this can be rather literal. A free-thinking divine spirit chooses a mortal, touches their life (right in the Void), and that mortal is changed in some fundamental way. A new Divine Self emerges. Maybe they become a healer. They have some new artistic gift. They are charged with becoming the Traditional Spiritworker for their people.
[ 4.02.05 Wounds & Wisdom Part I: Belief Priorities ] “…why must one be, literally, struck by lightning to become a Yatiri healer in the tribes of the Andes mountains?”
In a less literal sense, we can consider what experiences in life might put us, at our very core, in contact with greater divinity: a brush with death or birth, opening to a profound grief or joy, or an experience in the Heights. Sometimes the same transcendence by which we grasp the Blade opens us to the Blood, and, rather than a god touching us, it’s more like we, for a moment, touch God.
To clarify: Why can only my Divine Self or a Greater Divinity make contact with my Void?
We must be in a state of wholeness to access our Void, we must be grasping the Blade, the edge of our soul, because the Void, too, is an edge.
This is why the Heights are associated not only with inspiration and ideas, but with divine inspiration and holy vision! Because, as soon as we stretch from bottom to top and grasp the Blade, and embrace ourselves from Edge to Edge, we have embraced our Void as well.
[ 6.02.06 Re-visiting & Re-visioning the Center ] “You might have been picturing the Blade, our Edge, as something like a skin that surrounds us, an exterior, outermost surface by which we can touch and be touched. But, in truth, there’s a secret in our Magical Center. There is an Edge in the Center—an innermost surface which, too, is a point of contact with the Outer Realm.”
And, this talk of touching God brings us to the second of the three reasons for entering the Void: the Void is the Gateway of Fire.
Instead of picturing the Void as the vast eye of the storm, picture it as a hidden doorway inside the Blaze. The Void is a means by which we can access a few of the strangest and most potent Outer Realms that we’ll be working with: the Abyss, the Chaos, and the Continuum, which leads to the Center of All.
The Abyss is the common ground shared by all spirits and only spirits. The Abyss is a realm without Soul. It is a pure realm. We will be learning to enter the Abyss later in this phase! It’s a trip!
The Chaos is the common ground shared by all soul and only soul. All power for change exists within the Chaos. It is also a pure realm. We will be learning how to avoid the Chaos later in this phase. It is not a place humans should go. Such a bad idea. Although, it can sometimes be tapped into, but mostly we avoid it. AVOID.
The Continuum is the common ground shared by all Centers. We usually engage with it by following our own path of emergence. My parents manifested me. Their ancestors manifested them. Humanity manifested the ancestors. The Earth manifested humanity…and so on out until the Center of All Things. In this context, a nice shorthand for the Divine Spirit of All is simply to call it the Creator. The Creator is All Creation, personified.
[ 4.02.03 God has a Plan ] “We think the most divine spirit, the sum of all other divinities should be all-powerful. And this child says to me: I am all-powerful. I am Unconditional Love. And I saw that I thought powerful meant, the power to make people do or not do things that were terrible. I wanted the love to be conditional. I wanted other people’s freedom to be conditional. I wanted God to take responsibility for the power that is, in fact, in our hands.”
My Center is connected to the Creator’s Center. My Void is the single breath that separates my Will from the Will of the rest of Creation. The Creator’s Center, the Center of All, is the realm into which initiation is offered here in Phase Six, so we’ll be discussing it in great depth as the phase progresses. This will be our first initiation into an Outer Realm! Although, as we’ve just learned, the way Out, in this case, is to go In.
Now, it’s kind of meta, but this whole my-heart-is-connected-to-the-creator’s-heart thing probably isn’t even that hard to believe. It’s a common sort of super spiritual thing to say.
But, how does that fit with what we learned about our Magical Center not necessarily being in the heart, about how it can be anywhere our conscious presence engages with the intersection of our Manifest and Un-Manifest Self?
Does that mean we can connect to the Creator through our hands, our toenails, our left kidney?
Yes, it does. And, since you’re not the only spirit with a Center and a Void, it means you can connect to the Seat of Creation through anyone’s Center, any thing’s Center, any being’s Center (ya know, with consent).
Nicholas of Cusa, 15th century German philosopher and humanist, said it so eloquently: “God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
The Gateway of Fire is everywhere.
Which, brings us to our third and final reason for entering the Void. We said it’s the Cauldron of Potential, it’s the Gateway of Fire, and lastly: it’s disturbingly peaceful.
Many folks imagine the Void as a state of no-mind, a place with no thoughts, no internal chatter. But, we haven’t been Centering in our head.
[ 5.11.02 Identifying my Purpose ] “For our workings, thus far, we have practiced Centering into a single point in the heart.”
So, for our workings, the Void will feel like no-heart instead of no-mind.
Before we consider what an empty heart might feel like, let’s think about what a full heart feels like! The heart circulates our blood. The heart flutters when we’re in love. We imagine the heart as soulful, emotional. If we are outwardly expressive of our love, we say that we wear our heart on our sleeve. When we’re grateful our heart is over-flowing. In grief, we say my heart is heavy, and in tragedy that my heart is broken. We believe a heart can be True. We make a pledge with cross my heart and hope to die.
Even outside of spiritwork, the Heart is something most of us relate with in a multi-dimensional way, which is part of what makes it so easy to Center there: we already think of the Heart as both physical and symbolic, an intersection of manifest and un-manifest spirit and soul.
So, taking all of this into account, what would a Void inside the Heart feel like? In the physical realm our heart-organ would keep beating, but we would become aware of the threshold between the physical substance of the heart and the hidden world of the heart. And upon that threshold, that intersection, that Magical Center, our consciousness would attune to the space between our heartbeats. Our passions would cease to pull us. Our emotions would grow still, like undisturbed water. Our solid, loyal, sense of Truth would become soft, illusory. Our grief and brokenness would lift, rising from us like smoke.
If our work was to enter the Void and sit there for as long as we can manage for the sake of drinking in the peace, then it might not really matter where we Center, and which Void we enter. We’d probably pick whichever part of ourselves felt most restless, most in need of the medicine of peace. For many of us that would be our mind!
But, for spiritwork, we want to be able to navigate within the Void. We want to be able to do work in the cauldron of the Void, to open the doors to other realms that are hidden in the Void, and to return from the Void by our will.
Since we want to be able to navigate, we need to think carefully about what aspects of ourselves will be going quiet. If we Center in our Head and enter the Void there, our thoughts will go quiet and we won’t be able to use them to navigate. We will have to consciously follow our heart or our gut instead.
If we Center in our Heart and enter the Void there, we won’t have our aliveness and passion by which to navigate, so we’ll have to follow something else, like our head or our hands.
Most of us have a great deal more experience navigating by thoughts than by the gut, so, for most folks, that’s the way to go for spiritwork, at least when we’re first learning. Plus, for this course, it means I can offer guided word-based journeys without it disrupting your experience of the Void.
Now, that said, even if we enter the Void in the Heart, so that we can navigate with our Head, that doesn’t mean the Head won’t be influenced by the intoxicating peace.
Remember that our Center is the Seat of Manifestation, so what happens in the Center can manifest, meaning, it can influence the physical realm. If our working crossroads have been extended out across our whole body, then our whole body will be influenced to some degree by the Void’s unique flavor of peace. If we extend our crossroads across our whole living room, then all of the spirits in that area may be touched by Voidliness. In this state, we may still be able to navigate by thought, but it will be more challenging. Words may feel heavy and difficult to pull to the surface. On the other hand, our mind may feel clearer, and the words we do pull, more impactful.
In the beginning of our Void practice, we’ll keep our crossroads nice and small, just across our Heart. Then, as you feel ready, you can extend the crossroads a bit further and see what feels sustainable and functional for you.
That said, we don’t have to enter the Void with the intent of using the cauldron of potential or entering the gateway of fire. Creation and contact with the Creator is not our only purpose as Humans. Wombs, spaces, openings, and quiet places are not only valuable when they’re fertile, when they’re productive, when they’re a bridge to something else. The disturbing peace of the Void is worthwhile as its own destination.
In fact, the reason most of us become interested in the kinds of meditation that bring us into contact with the Void is because we just want to taste peace. We want to experience a kind of peace we haven’t known since we were in the womb, our Whole Self emerging for the first time from our mother’s Void.
Instead of the Zen koan about one hand clapping, how about a Ren koan: What is the sound of no Fiend barking?
If you feel the call of peace, ask yourself with compassion and caution: what would it serve?
[ 0.06.04 Soulflight Risks ] “Remember one of the Five Pillars was: desire to live greater than desire to check out.”
You may have seen an older person who has checked out. The eyes seem to have no fire in them. They’re in soulflight, hands and feet cold, breath slow: their very presence, elsewhere. They’re in spiritflight, identifying with some other place and time. Pain, whether physical or mental, is a trance ingredient.
If you had a practice that granted you peace, would you use it to grow your capacity for love, to deepen your relationship with life, or would you use it to get high and avoid discomfort?
What might a peace that isn’t about escape look like? Imagine the peace of the Hallowed Elder, sitting by the fire, looking at you patiently as you tell your story, a twinkle in their eye. They are willing to hear your cries, knowing your words won’t bind them, at least, not for long. They are willing to hear the cries of the whole world, knowing their empathy won’t crush them; rather, it lifts them up like the swell of the orchestra moving through a melancholy minor key. They do what they can, and it is enough.
[ 0.07.09 Am I Enough? ] “Enough is a compound word with two roots [ … ] ge + nok, with/together + lift/attain.”
The Hallowed Elder embodies a peace that comes from joining with the troubles of the world and raising them up, from knowing that just connecting and supporting matters.
The Hallowed Elder finds peace, not in false control or expectations, but in potential. I stare at my Divine Elderself in wonder. I’m a mess, how can they be so put together, so whole? What’s their secret? They smile and whisper:
The secret is in the Center.