On Vibration

Fr sifr
June 2013

Vibration is the procedure, during the performance of ceremonial magick, of visualising and calling key phrases or god names with the whole body. There is a degree of confusion over the technique, as the writings of Regardie and Crowley on the subject have been rather vague, however they can help us piece together an idea of how to go about it, and also some later commentators give more practical advice.
In Magick in Theory and Practice, Crowley writes the following:
“As a further means of identifying the human consciousness with that pure portion of it which man calls by the name of some God, let [them] act thus:
Stand with arms outstretched.
Breathe in deeply through the nostrils, imagining the name of the God desired entering with the breath.
Let that name descend slowly from the lungs to the heart, the solar plexus, the navel, the generative organs, and so to the feet.
The moment that it appears to touch the feet, quickly advance the left foot about 12 inches, throw forward the body, and let the hands (drawn back to the side of the eyes) shoot out, so that you are standing in the typical position of the God Horus, and at the same time imagine the Name as rushing up and through the body, while you breathe it out through the nostrils with the air which has still been till then retained in the lungs. All this must be done with all the force of which you are capable.
Then withdraw the left foot, and place the right forefinger upon the lips, so that you are in the characteristic position of the God Harpocrates.
It is a sign that the student is performing this correctly when a single “Vibration” entirely exhausts [their] physical strength. It should cause [them] to grow hot all over or to perspire violently, and it should so weaken [them] that [they] will find it difficult to remain standing.”
Which is a good foundation to work with, and it is clear from the above, that the action should be quite physically demanding.
In Regardie’s books The Golden Dawn and The Middle Pillar he describes the visualisations that should accompany the vibration of the god names, as for example in the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram;
“In vibrating the Divine Names, the Operator should first of all rise as high as possible towards the idea of the Divine White Brilliance in KETHER - keeping the   mind raised to the plane of the loftiest aspiration. ...
The ordinary mode of vibrating is as follows: Take a deep and full inspiration and concentrate your consciousness in your heart, which answers to Tiphareth....
Then formulate the letters of the Name required in your heart, in white, and feel them written there. Be sure to formulate the letters in brilliant white light .... Then, emitting the breath, slowly pronounce the Letters so that the sound vibrates within you, and imagine that the breath, while quitting the body, swells you so as to fill up space. Pronounce the Name as if you were vibrating it through the whole Universe, and as if it did not stop until it reached the further limits.”
“The name having been inhaled into the lungs by means of an inspiration, it should be silently and powerfully vibrated, the entire attention being concentrated upon this to the exclusion of all else. While in the lungs, the white light of the Kether ought to be felt descending upon the name, consecrating it to the service of the higher self. Then the name should be visualized, whilst the breath is retained, as descending from the lungs via the Middle Pillar to the feet. Here it should be again vibrated very powerfully. When the entire Tree of Life within is pulsating sympathetically to this vibration, the name rises rapidly once more to the lungs where once more it is subjected to a silent vibration.
The exhalation of the breath accompanies an audible vibration of the name. It also accompanies a gesture to be made which consists of two movements. The first is the placing of the left foot about six to twelve inches forward. The second is the raising of both hands to the side of the head, on a level with the eyes, and then flinging them forward as though to project a force emanating from within. As the arms are flung forward, the exhalation and powerful vibration aloud of the name takes place. This gesture is called the Projecting Sign.”
So it is clear from this that the visualisation is a key part of the process, as much if not more than the actual vocalisation. In the example of the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram I have seen the god names each rendered in a four letter form, which are visualised and absorbed into the heart chakra, and exhaled forcibly in the projecting sign, which we may also know as the sign of the enterer.
The four letter names to be visualised in each corner are  yod heh vav heh for the tetragrammaton aleph daleth nun yod for adonai aleph heh yod heh for eheieh aleph gimel lamed aleph for agla
Some more practical advice is given by Donald Kraig in his book Modern Magick, which describes a separate internal and external process for vibration, the internal process being appropriate for the performance of the Kabbalistic cross for example, as in that procedure one is drawing the energy of the universe into oneself, and expanding ones field in order to encompass all things. In this process you ‘vibrate’ that part of the body that is being activated (and consequently direct your intent to the sephira, as the tree of life is mapped onto the body). The word should be drawn out with the whole breath, and resonated within the body; by choosing different pitches different parts of the body can be made to resonate, however this takes some practice.
The second formula is described as the external formula as it describes a projection of energy outwards, wherein the practitioner forms and inhales the god name, and casts it out to the edge of the universe. So the exhalation and ‘projecting sign’ should be quite forceful and project outwards, vibrating the air around you.
But what of the vocalisation itself? How do we go about it and how do we know if we’re doing it ‘right’? As Regardie indicates, purity of intent is important. A key  thing seems to be to create some sort of resonance in the body, as strongly as one is able; obviously different people have different vocal registers, so for each person the method of creating this resonance will differ.
The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn gives some practical advice, and suggests creating a cavity in the back of ones throat, as if yawning, and also experimenting with pitch. A higher pitch should cause a resonance in the head so that you can actually feel it vibrating, and progressively lower pitches can resonate with other cavities in the body, which correspond to the chakras, right down to the deepest pitch of the Muladhara chakra, in which the whole body can be felt to vibrate. Another key thing is projection, and the techniques to enhance this are the same as the techniques that musicians and stage actors use. One should use one’s diaphragm to breath deep into one’s lungs, breathing deeply enough to distend one’s belly (which is the effect of pushing one’s diaphragm down. Then when vocalising the breath can be projected outwards using the strength of your whole core, for example like the kiai in certain martial arts, except the exhalation is elongated, and the vocalisation continues until there is no breath left. Also it is easier to project and resonate if you vocalise at volume, with the mouth open wide.