[Ivy's Pentacles]


One does not actually "turn into" an animal, plant, or other person during shape-shifting, but by "becoming" something or someone else, a magick user can become more aware of the universe and its tenants, and gain new perspectives. It can also allow a person to take on characteristics that may make him or her appear more like the model to others. Here is a tutorial of how to shape-shift.

1. Study your model with an artist's eye. Get to know every line and curve of it. If it's an animal, plant, or stone, research its folklore, its preferred habitat, and so forth. The more you know about the prototype, the easier it is to replicate.

2. Prepare yourself. Take a bath or shower to cleanse your body and smooth your aura. If physically and routinely feasible, spend a day beforehand in fasting, prayer, reading, and meditation.

3. Try to get your mind off other matters. You want to be wholly focused on your model and its characteristics.

4. Add as much sensual input as possible. If the model has an aroma, texture, sound, or whatever, try to have this surrounding you. This way you can build your aura into a new image one dimension at a time.

5. Release self-images and stop thinking in the physical. Your spirit is not limited by the body's structure. Also release your expectations; let change happen of its own accord. Give yourself to your inherent magical instincts; give yourself over to the thing or person into which you wish to transform.

6. Begin visualizing the transformation in successive, slow steps. If it helps, prerecord a guided visualization for yourself starting with your feet and moving upward. One very effective visualization is seeing yourself as liquid light that can pour into any container and accept that pattern as its own.

7. Give yourself plenty of time to assimilate the changes as they take place. Shape-shifting cannot be rushed. You'll know you're succeeding when your awareness begins to change. You will take on new dimensions of sensation--in the way you perceive light, for instance, or aromas in the air. It will be like waking up to a whole new world in which the self is set aside momentarily, and the cloak of another person or thing covers your soul.

8. Once you've finished the transformation, follow your instincts. People who become animals often find themselves behaving like that animal. People who become stones might feel heavy, ancient, and very grounded.

9. Make a mental note of all the changes you feel, especially the sensory ones. What are you learning? What's the most important thing about this experience that you can take back into real life?

10. At some point, you will feel the energy of the shift wane. When it does, transform back by reversing the earlier process. Do not, under any circumstances, just "poof" back into yourself. This causes an incredible headache.

11. Relax, breathe deeply, and eat something like fresh vegetables to ground yourself in reality again.

12. Make notes of your experience and return to them when you try again. Look for the parts of your approach to shape-shifting that worked really well and concentrate on using these, making minor adjustments for the difference in model.

Source: Patricia Telesco's Advanced Wicca, 2000. Introduction original.

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