On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

3 French Hens

Oui, oui!

This post is inspired, of course, by number three — and relates to something you might not expect to read about here: breathing! Specifically, breathing to center before a reading.

Many readers have their own rituals before consulting the cards. This may be a formal set of actions, such as lighting a candle and saying a prayer of some sort; or informal, such as laying out a particular spread cloth and shuffling the cards. Some of you like to make a cup of tea (I’m coming over if you serve earl gray!), or lay out a bowl of water. Any action that is repeated consistently over time will become one that queues the right state of mind, due to the constant association. In NLP terminology this is an “anchor.”

I would like to offer a particular anchor that I use to start most of my work that requires going within: three breaths.

To help shift my mind to a state suitable for divination, I take three deep breaths; not intentionally slow but not rushing either. My out breaths tend to be a bit louder than the in breaths; and a little bit longer as well. There are surprisingly many ways to approach intentional breathing.

There are refinements you can add to this as well. For each out breath, imagine yourself letting go. Pretend, if you have to. Give yourself permission to relax, picture yourself relaxed or let your muscles go limp — within reason. You probably don’t want become a rag doll in front of someone! The idea is for the relaxation to be tied to the exhaling breaths. To enhance this effect you can try holding each of the three inhales for a moment, before letting them out. Of course, if you have health issues tied to your breathing, please use common sense for this and any other breathing technique.

A refinement that I use a lot, which I learned from my practice of self-hypnosis and the Silva course, is to add an internal count to the breathing. That is, as you take the three breaths, count down for each one as you exhale: 3… 2… 1. Also picture each number in your mind. You can imagine seeing the number before you, large and perhaps in color. Or you can see something that represents the number, such as three birds on a branch (have one fly away after each count) or a person’s hand emphatically “throwing” the number of fingers for the count. Just mentally count and imagine to the best of your ability. For self-hypnosis and Silva both there is more conditioning that goes into this, but again, I do believe repetition brings results.

That’s a lot of writing about three little breaths! Again: repetition will bring results. If you do these breaths then go into a reading, your subconscious will eventually link the breath work with the reading state of mind. If you want to practice conscious relaxation while using these breaths at other times, that will reinforce the state of mind as well. If you meditate, this is a good lead in to that. And of course, I see no reason this couldn’t preface your other reading rituals. An advantage of the breath is that it is always with you, so it may be helpful in a pinch where you aren’t able to do your normal ritual.

While it’s well known that deep breathing will physically relax the body, I wouldn’t expect the first few times you try this technique to magically produce that relaxation. It’s possible for people with a certain turn of mind (pun intended). Your intent will determine your results. The key is to not try to hard; just breathe and relax.

Whether you are interested in psychic abilities or not, Psychic Development for Beginners by William Hewitt describes how to achieve a 3-count relaxation cycle in more detail than I did, along with some other conditioning methods. Basically he is showing self-hypnosis without calling it that. If you’ve seen his older books, this one is more fluid than Hypnosis or Beyond Hypnosis, with their rigid 30-day programs. At any rate, if you like what I described above and want more information without diving into full self-hypnosis or a Silva course, I think this book is friendly and inexpensive.