This is part 1 of a two part article on the topic of sacred geometry and the energy theory of magick. We will be introducing this subject in these two articles, and then expanding on it in future articles. At this point, let us establish the foundation for this discussion.
Continuing with our discussion of the use of prismatic energy forms in the discipline of ritual magick, we should touch upon the fact that these prismatic structures emulate a form of simple sacred geometry. If that idea can be accepted as a fact, then we can then consider examining these structures as they exist in a symbolic formulation as archetypes, as well as actual energy structures which have a direct practical application.
Sacred Geometry is defined as the geometrical physical shapes that are deliberately used in the architectural design of buildings and precincts that are used for religious or spiritual purposes. There is an entire discipline that is devoted to identifying, classifying and deriving the meaning of such geometric shapes. This article isn’t going to discuss the elements of sacred geometry as found in sacred structures; instead, it will demonstrate the more limited domain of sacred geometry as found in the extended energy theory of magick. While very complex and dense magickal rituals can use an extensive repertoire of different prismatic energy shapes in regards to the magickal power generated and deployed, we are going to concern ourselves with the fundamental structures that a beginning ritual magician might use.
First of all, magickal energy is a deliberate action or movement of some kind within sacred space. Therefore, movement/action generates magickal energy when the conscious mind is attuned to subtle and spiritual phenomena. Whenever a ritual action is performed it produces some kind of energy signature. Also, energy is generated through a contrast or polarization, which can be implicit (through symbols and archetypes) or explicit (through obvious sexual activities, whether direct or indirect).
Another important consideration is that magickal energy is best perceived and manipulated when one is in the proper mental state, which is the kind that meditation and simple breath control can produce. So the first step is learning to become competent with alternate states of consciousness, mastered through the basic processes of asana (assuming a comfortable posture), prana-yama (fourfold breath counting technique), and perhaps even some mantra work, such as the ubiquitous mantra AUM. Performing these techniques, one should focus the mind strictly on what is occurring - in other words, to be a witness to what is occurring within the body and the mind, but to avoid and side step distracting thoughts and emotions.
Performing these techniques as a meditation session will produce a refined state of consciousness that will allow one to perceive subtle and paranormal phenomena. Learning to attune to the subtle will assist one in being able to sense phenomena that normal conscious states would typically omit, and it will allow one to perceive magickal constructs and sense magickal energies, such as prismatic energy shapes produced through the use of strategic energy ritual structures.
From this foundational state of consciousness, as produced by the meditation session, one can then perform actions that will produce magickal energy. So how is it generated? There are seven techniques in the repertoire of the basic ritual magician, and these techniques should be practiced and used until they become automatic.
- Circumambulation (around the sacred space or consecrate magick circle)
- Slowly turning in place (dervish dance)
- Sacred dance (alone or with a small group)
- Ritual actions (drawing lines of power, etc.)
- Breathing techniques (advanced forms of prana-yama - cool breathing, hyperventilation)
- Visualization - building mental images (moving the mind)
- Sacred sexuality.
The symbolic analogue representing magickal power is the union of the archetypal masculine and the archetypal feminine. So this could symbolize the joining of Light and Darkness, Life and Death, the Yang and the Yin, the Lingam and the Yoni, or the joining of a god and goddess. From this state of union, all power and energy proceeds. This is how visualization alone can generate magickal power, since one would visualize this sacred union of opposites. One can surmise that prismatic energy structures as used in ritual magick would employ the use of polarity (mutual attraction and resistance) and fusion (union).
Techniques of using magickal power have a fourfold progression, which begins with the generation of magickal power through one or more of the above methods, qualifying (defining with a magickal device), focusing and imprinting the energy, intensifying it to a climax and finally, releasing the energy. This fourfold pattern, taken from the beginning to the moment of release is called “resonance”, because it represents a process of both iteration and intensification. However, when you think about it, this process sounds a lot like the human sexual cycle, too. And indeed, it is quite significantly analogous. Perhaps this is why sacred sexuality has always been an important part of the practice of ritual magick.
Prismatic energy shapes generated in a ritual working are defined by the ritual structures inherent in a magick circle and qualified through the use of specific magickal devices. To truly understand these shapes, we need to define the magickal devices and the methodology of specific ritual patterns. A ritual structure has both a ritual pattern and uses specific points in the magick circle to give it a characteristic shape, and the devices placed at those points help to further qualify it. A prismatic energy structure is used by a magician when performing any variation of a ritual of empowerment - it is often found throughout the basic ritual repertoire. So let’s carefully examine all three of these qualifying components.
A magickal device is basically a geometric symbolic shape that is drawn to one of the points in a magick circle. For the beginning ritual magician, there are a total of six devices. These six devices consist of the following forms:
Ritual patterns, which incorporate the points in a magick circle to generate a prismatic shape, consist of seven basic patterns that are analogous to the six magickal devices. These formulations produce the following energy shapes:
- circle - sphere,
- pylon - two points and a line of force,
- trigon - triangle, tetrahedron,
- square, cross-roads, circle-squared,
- concentric spiral - electric/magnetic conical container,
- eccentric spiral (with three revolutions) - inward/outward spiral,
- pyramid - circle squared and central pylon.
The eleven points in a magick circle consist of the classic six (four cardinal directions, and the zenith and nadir occupying the middle of the magick circle) with the addition of the four angles (cross cardinal directions) and the central mid point, which is between the zenith and nadir. I prefer to use the nomenclature of the ultra-point (zenith), infra-point (nadir) and the meso-point (mid point) when speaking about the three points in the middle of the magick circle. So the eleven points consist of the following directions:
- Four cardinal directions - also called the Watch Towers,
- Four cross-cardinal directions, called the Angles,
We have now examined the three different components that are used to shape magickal energy into prismatic geometric shapes. The six devices, seven ritual structures and eleven points of the magick circle aren’t exhaustive, so one can see that more complex structures are possible through the use of additional components and more complex ritual patterns. We will limit ourselves to discussing the basic energy shapes that can be defined with the above devices and ritual structures.
Six Archetypal Devices
As stated above, there are six archetypal devices that are used to qualify a magickal energy structure. The devices are represented in the order of the most simplistic to the most complex, arranged as they are on the numbers one through seven. Let’s examine each of them in greater detail.
Point - the most simplistic device is a point, symbolizing a single dimension of reality or existence. From the standpoint of a ritual device, a point is a specific place or location, often indicated with a pointing device, such as the index finger, wand or dagger. The ritual action of making a point with a pointer draws the attention to that location and highlights it. Such an action is one of “declaring” that something exists or has been made. The point is most often an imaginary one, perceived in the mind after the pointer reveals it.
Line - this device is called a line of force, since it is the linear structure that connects two points or two features. A line of force is drawn with a pointer, like the finger, wand or dagger, and characterizes that an energy conduit has been drawn and established. Lines of force are used to connect points together, forming a bond, where energy may travel in either direction. Like the point, the line of force is perceived in the mind, but may not actually exist as a physical phenomenon.
Triangle - a triangle is where three points and lines converge to produce a pure two dimensional form, which is defined as a plane. A triangle is also a gateway or doorway, and represents the quality of harmony as the dialectic process of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. A triangle may be drawn with the vertex pointing up or down, symbolizing the archetypal male or female, respectively. When joined together, a six-pointed star is formed, which symbolizes the union of male and female. A triangle is more often used in a ritual pattern than drawn as a device with a pointer.
Cross - a cross has a variety of forms, each with its own specific meaning, but it generally represents the union of heaven and earth. It is defined as the confluence of the polarities of spirit and matter, joined into an indivisible whole. Crosses are usually drawn with the hand or a wand to produce a softer and more invocative form than a dagger. Some of the cross variations that are used in basic ritual magick have the following designs.
Equal Arm Cross - this cross is a pure representation of union, the confluence of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, where precedence is given to neither one. It can also symbolize the union of the four elements, where each identical sized leg demonstrates that the cross consists of four outer dimensions with a hidden fifth where they join, which is the quintessence.
Rose Cross - this cross has an extended base that gives it five parts instead of four, so the aspect or attribute of spirit is no longer hidden or implied. The rose is an invoking spiral that is superimposed over the center of the cross, where the five parts are joined to form a hidden sixth. The rose symbolizes the passion, pathos and material seduction of sorcery; when the rose occupies the center of a five part cross, it symbolizes the passion of spiritual and magickal redemption, which is the ultimate power of healing, protecting and spiritual guidance. A rose cross projects a powerful solar force that is closely associated with the solar godhead.
Rose Ankh - the Roseate Crux Ansata, or Rose Ankh, is also a five part cross, but the fifth element is a loop that replaces the upper arm, and the base is extended. The ankh symbolizes the power of eternal life, since it characterizes a cross that is “pregnant” with life. It is also the Egyptian hieroglyph of a sandal strap, signifying that life is integral to all living (animate) things. When a rose, or invoking spiral, is superimposed over the point where the loop, the arms and base join, it symbolizes the power of the life force that is fully activated and empowered. A rose ankh is often a proper symbol of the female godhead. It also projects a feminine, magnetic and mesmerizing force that is associated with the descending grace of the sacramental godhead.
Star - A star is a device that is drawn with a single uninterrupted stroke and whose structure has five or more points. Two forms of the star that are used are the pentagram and the hexagram, but there are many others as well, such as the septagram, octagram, enneagram, decagram, undecigram and the duodecagram. However, I have found that beyond the unicursal hexagram, the more complex star forms are generally too difficult to draw in the air by memory. Therefore, I tend to trace the lines of a septagram using a large painted talisman - the same rule of thumb applies to the rest of the star forms that have more than six points.
Pentagram - a star with five points, the pentagram symbolizes the four elements dominated by the fifth, which is spirit. A pentagram can be drawn to invoke a specific quality of an element or spirit by tracing a line along the pentagram towards the specific point that represents the target element. I usually prefer to start at the point opposite and draw towards the targeted point, and then continue following the line that makes up the pentagram until the point opposite the target point is achieved. I have a preference of drawing one last stroke from the point opposite to the target point at the end of the tracing, but others quit when reaching the point opposite the target point, which is also the starting place. Additionally, I finish with an invoking spiral drawn over the pentagram, which gives it added power. A banishing pentagram is drawn from the target point to the point opposite, with the motion going away from the target point, following the line of pentagram to the final repeated stroke. I then draw a banishing spiral over the pentagram. (When we get to spirals later on, we’ll go over the different types of spirals used.)
A pentagram can be drawn obversely, with the point of spirit above the points of the four elements, or inverted, with the point of spirit below the four elements. There are some who believe that the inverted pentagram is an evil symbol, representing the dominance of the four elements over spirt as a kind of chaotic revolt over the expected status quo. Satanists and some followers of the left hand path have made the inverted pentagram an emblem of the goat’s head, a symbol of Satan. However, the inverted pentagram has a simple meaning, which is the opposite of the obverse pentagram. The obverse pentagram symbolizes the ascent of the powers (as the elements) into spiritual union, and the inverted pentagram symbolizes the descent of grace or sacramental blessings from the godhead. Thinking about that distinction makes the belief that the inverted pentagram is somehow evil appear quite silly, and indeed, it is.
Hexagram - a hexagram is a six sided star that is generally used to invoke one of the seven planets of the ancients (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn). There are two types of hexagram in use. The old classic version consists of two triangles superimposed to create a star form, and the new version is called a unicursal hexagram, which is drawn with a continuous line. The unicursal hexagram is much more useful for invoking the planets than the classic version, since it then becomes more like the pentagram. However, I prefer to use the septagram for invoking the planets, and I use the hexagram in its classic form to symbolize a state of union between the archetypal masculine and feminine qualities.
Since planetary magick is more advanced, we will consider just the conjoined triangles symbolizing the union of archetypal polarities. There are also three lesser hexagram devices, where the triangles are not joined but in eccentric or overlapping relationship to each other. I use these devices to represent the three qualities of cardinal, fixed and mutable when working with astrological magick. Obviously, we will pass over a further explanation of these devices as well.
Spiral - a spiral is drawn to invoke, banish, seal or unseal. So there are four different kinds of spirals produced by only two different qualities - focus (inward/outward) and direction (clockwise and counter clockwise). A spiral is generally drawn with a wand, unless it is accompanying an invoking or banishing pentagram, then the dagger is used. The following four spirals are produced by a the qualities of focus and direction.
- Invoking spiral - clockwise spiral from the periphery to the center,
- Banishing spiral - counter clockwise spiral from the center to the periphery,
- Sealing spiral - counter clockwise spiral from the periphery to the center,
- Unsealing spiral - clockwise spiral from the center to the periphery.
An invoking spiral is used to invoke or empower something into manifestation. A banishing spiral causes something to become unmanifest or driven away. A sealing spiral is used to seal or preserve something, and an unsealing spiral is used to unseal something that has been sealed. Sealing and unsealing spirals are used in conjunction with magickal operations that cause a vortex to be warded (sealed) for future use, and unwarded to make it ready for use.