Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Secret History of the World - Book Review

I have recently finished reading the book “Secret History of the World” by Mark Booth (2008 Overlook Press, NY), and I must say that it was a very interesting read. It took me a few months to plow through it, since I mostly read it just prior to going to sleep. That doesn’t at all mean that the book was boring or uninteresting, it’s just that I am used to reading three or more books at a time, and one of my time slots for reading is just before bed. So I spent half an hour to forty minutes reading it most every night, but in the end, I must say that it was well worth spending the time and diligently reading it to the end. At 550 pages, it’s not a slim book, and it’s very dense, each chapter has many ideas and facts to think about. This isn’t a book that you’ll be able to scan through in a few days.

The main premise of this book is that there is another perspective or way of looking at reality and history. We live in world that is dominated by science, which strongly proposes the theory that matter evolved before the advent of mind. But what if there was another valid way of looking at reality, where mind would exist before matter, and in fact, was a participant in the shaping and evolving of matter? The mind before matter model is the guiding principle for this book, which examines the entire history of the world - not from the perspective of science, but from the perspective of occultism and secret doctrines. Anyone who has studied both the sciences and esoteric philosophy know that they stand in stark contrast to each other, one seemingly contradicting the other. Superficially, initiates often find themselves in the unenviable situation of having to choose one perspective over the other. If they choose to side completely with the esoteric viewpoint and either ignore or deny the scientific perspective, then their ideas typically seem absurd or even ridiculous. Yet to deny the esoteric perspective and agree wholly with science produces a world view that is rigid, incomplete, without wonder and devoid of love and creativity - and might I add, empty of all magick.

For myself, I have straddled the fence by accepting the obvious scientific theories about the universe and the physical world, but I also know all too well the limitations of science. For instance, I believe completely in physical evolution, but I also believe in the evolution of Spirit emanating through the world of matter, powerfully shaping and influencing it. There is no contradiction in these simultaneous perspectives, since they operate in completely different worlds. Science has its domain, and Spirit has its domain, and only sometimes do they intersect (with the most amazing results, too). Since I have been practicing ritual magick for well over three decades, I can say without equivocation that I know the essential nature and peculiar quality of the domain of Spirit. I talk to spirits and they talk back to me. Yet I am not a fool nor a delirious madman, since I am able to live in the material world and deal with all of its limitations and frustrations, occasionally bending the rules and gaining insights, wisdom, and more than modest windfalls. So I found this book to be quite rewarding and fascinating, since it takes the premise of esoteric philosophy to the extreme, allowing me to find the central balancing point.

Mark Booth admits in the very beginning of the book that he is not an initiate of any order or mystery school, but for someone who is “outside” of the system, he has an understanding of the occult and esoteric perspectives like no one I have every read before. How is this possible? According to Mark’s own words, he just researched all of the available information. He did receive some inside assistance from a few occult friends, but it was mostly his own work, which is a remarkable feat. What was produced by such a research regimen is a history of world distilled and condensed from sources as accessible as the Bible, to the Secret Doctrine, and numerous other sacred texts, East and West, and many other obscure occult dissertations - all of them receiving the most thorough exposition and translation into terms and ideas understandable to the average lay person.

I found some of the ideas and concepts in the book to be completely “hair brained” and totally at odds with what I know and understand about history - these were hair pulling moments of acute frustration. Other insights were pure brilliance that allowed me a eureka moment or two. Yet much of book illuminated a world perspective not very much different than my own, tutored as it has been by decades of occult research and personal magickal experiences.

The Secret History of the World proposes a four part evolution of animate matter in the world, beginning first with the mineral world, then to the vegetative, and the animal, and finally, to human nature itself. Human beings went through all of these stages, becoming more tightly impacted and subjected to the material world, and losing their natural direct contact with the spirit world as their skulls closed up and entombed the human spirit in the fleshy brain and boney head. Humans traveled from a state of preconscious enlightenment to post conscious isolation and individuality. One might ask, where do we go from this point of greatest extremity of materiality and the dominance of brute nature - why, back the way we came, except in possession of total consciousness, reason, and mastery of the material world. The history of the world in the pages of this book aren’t the dry perspectives and speculation of academia, but the ideals of those who had never lost their connection to the worlds of spirit. That history, as absurd and profound as it must be, should be artfully and carefully integrated into the world-view of the occultist and spiritual seeker, so that confusion, absurdity and insanity is never propagated, neither sterility, hopelessness, nor a loss of soul. The key is balance - and a healthy imagination!

Perhaps the most fascinating statement in Mr. Booth’s book is found in the last chapter, where he pulls everything together in a monumental fashion.

“Esoteric philosophy calls for a rediscovery of the spiritual hierarchies ranged above us, and, intimately connected with that, a discovery of the divine capabilities ranged within us. This was the secret preserved and nurtured by geniuses as diverse as Plato, St. Paul, Leonardo, Shakespeare and Newton:

1. If you can think so deeply that you can rediscover the spiritual roots of thought, if you can recognize thoughts as living spiritual beings...
2. If you can develop a strong enough sense of your own individuality that you can become aware of your interaction with the Thought Beings that weave in and out of yourself, yet not be overwhelmed by this reality...
3. If you can recreate the ancient sense of wonder and use this sense of wonder to help awaken the willpower that lies sleeping in your deep, dark recesses...
4. If the fire of love for fellow human beings rises from your heart and causes you to weep tears of compassion...

...then you have been working on the Four Elements. You have begun the process of their transformation.”

I found the above four axioms to be brilliant and deeply insightful. I would have expected such a profound statement only from someone who was a wise and great adept, but instead, it was just the words of a researcher and a writer. Perhaps the greatest lesson that one could derive from this incredible great work is that the knowledge is out there in the world, accessible to those who are willing to seek and who deeply thirst to know the answers to the riddle of Spirit and life itself.

And to think that I bought this book because it had some very interesting information about the Nephilim, which turned out to be a scant three or four pages. The rest of the book was a trial and a privilege to read. Thus, I recommend this book to all of my readers - it is worth purchasing and reading.

Frater Barrabbas

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Anniversary of the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal

On November 16, 2009, during the advent of the New Moon, I began a seven week ordeal to see if the proposed Abramelin Lunar Ordeal would actually work. It seemed feasible, and the structures of the ordeal were apparently quite sound, but it had not yet been tested. It was, at the point of conception, an inspired but theoretical process. On the weekend of November 21, I began the process of invoking all four Seraphim and Cherubim (eight Super-archangels in total), and that intensive process lasted four weekends in a row, being completed on the weekend of December 13. Then through the Winter Solstice, Christmas weekend and through the days leading up to the grand event, on the evening of December 30, I successfully completed the steps required to set the ordeal fully in motion. Much has happened to me during the year that followed. I continue to be astonished by every turning of event that seems to reward and gift me, all emanating from the very active Higher Self, or HGA, which is now very much part of the magickal and spiritual revelations that I continue to experience.

As a note during this festive holiday of Thanksgiving (November 25), I want to state that I am deeply thankful for the occult muse that has been inspiring me all of the years of my life. It has been continuously and creatively assisting me to come up with new ways to work with old magickal systems, and to invent completely new ones. I am very lucky, fortunate and blessed that I can still be as creative as I was when I first began this path in the early seventies. As a middle aged man who is looking at old age, decrepitude and immanent decline, I feel happy about my lot in life. The spiritual and magickal process that I began so long ago just seems to be improving with the passing of every year, ultimately leading, (I hope), to complete illumination.

I have been processing the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal all this year, and at times the process seems kind of quiet, other times it has been amazingly revealing. As I head into the anniversary of the original performance, I sense that there will be some completion, as some of the final pieces are put into place. I will then be able to write up the entire ordeal and hand it over to members of the Order, who may find it useful and instrumental in their own self revelations.

I will also pay particular attention to the coming Winter Solstice, when not only the Full Moon will occur, but so will a complete lunar eclipse, observable here in the northern Midwest. I will consider that date to be highly auspicious, as well as the days of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. On this coming December 30, I will seek to reconnect with the previous year’s Bornless One invocation rite, perhaps seeking to redo it at some point during that time. I will have from December 16 through the New Year weekend off from work, so there will be time to reconnect and to complete what was started a year ago.

As insights and inspirations occur to me, I will share them with you. Of course, I need to be prudent about what I can say during this auspicious time, since not everything will be either relevant or even capable of being communicated. Still, I can at least say that I am seeking to know the final parts of this blessed ordeal, and for the mystery of the HGA to finally become fully manifest. Perhaps that blessed event of fullness will occur during the coming holidays, or maybe it will require more time to completely process. I don’t know the answers yet, but the clues are all there.

For my readers, and those who have found a great utility in what I have written, I send a blessing to you during this shortened period of the year, as we head into the time for holidays, feasting and deep thoughtfulness. May you discover all that you are seeking to know. May the powers that you are aligned to bless you and enrich you with the joy of the Spirit and material fulfillment. May all your endeavors be successful and fulfilled, and may you discover your higher self amidst your trials, ordeals and blessed discoveries.

Frater Barrabbas

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Magician as Sacramental Technician

This article is about a veritable obscure role for the ritual magician, that of magician and priest. When I say priest, I am referring to the role of acting as a spiritual mediator, a channel of divine blessings and a producer of transubstantiated sacraments, such as wine, ale and hosts of unleavened bread. One might ask what these things have to do with pagan ritual magick, but truly, they are important if we consider the liturgies that produce these sacred things to be essentially magickal. The sacraments themselves are magickal products, and can even be used as magickal tools. The Mass rite itself can be considered a ritual that exteriorizes and unleashes great spiritual powers that could be harnessed and used to potently charge a temple or a grove, preparing it for further magickal work. What I am proposing may be considered new and perhaps even a radical idea, but it is actually a very old idea whose importance was lost over the last few centuries. I would also like to propose that these liturgies, taken as they are from Catholicism, are actually quite pagan and also magickal.

If we carefully look over the old grimoires, we can see that certain operations, particularly with the tasks of consecrating tools and vestments, required the employment of a priest. It would seem that the performing of blessings, consecrations and even the saying of Mass were background disciplines that required someone to not only possess the knowledge but also the supposed authority to perform these services. Some have speculated that perhaps the real audience for the practice of ceremonial magick in the late middle ages wasn’t secular practitioners, but clerics, who not only knew how to read and write, but also had knowledge of liturgical processes that would make the rites and practices of magick much more effective. These perspectives are especially true for the early grimoires, such as the Heptameron or the Sworn Book of Honorius (Liber Juratus).

Whatever the role of the cleric or priest as an auxiliary to the ceremonial magician, by the 18th century, it would seem that either these requirements were circumvented or ignored altogether. During the grimoire revival of the late 19th century, the need for the services of a priest was completely forgotten, as secular members of esoteric organizations based on the Masonic model dominated the occult practices and writings of the time. It wasn’t until Aleister Crowley popularized the inclusion of the Gnostic Mass and various Thelemic based liturgies into the corpus of the magick and ceremonies of the O.T.O. that occultists began again to ponder the role of sacramental technology in the practice of magick. Perhaps one of the strongest proponents of this approach was Michael Bertiaux, duly noted first in the writings of Kenneth Grant and later in his own work. Yet even he didn’t perceive that the liturgical rites could be used solely for magick.

During the twentieth century, the historical knowledge and the actual texts from late antiquity started to become much more available, and as that occurred, it became more evident to scholars and occultists that the Gnostic and Hermetic practitioners of magick apparently had blended the role of magician and cult priest into a single vocation. It’s quite conceivable that the mixing of roles represented a very old tradition in the practice of ceremonial magick. It might even be accurate to say that the high magick of antiquity was practiced by cult leaders officiating as priests or priestesses for one of the various (chthonic) gods or goddesses. Later on, philosopher magicians would appear, but even they still seemed to function as a kind of priest. Apollonius of Tyana is probably a good example of the kind of practitioner that I am talking about here, where the combination of philosopher, priest and magician was very much the avocation of the Neopythagorean and the Neoplatonist.

So it would seem that it was once quite natural that a sorcerer or magician would also have been a priest and a liturgical cult expert of one of the pagan gods or goddesses. These insights have only bolstered the argument that modern practitioners of magick should also combine the role of magician and priest into a seamless discipline. There are some very compelling arguments that can be made to support this perspective, and I will seek to state them here for my readers to consider. They may either acknowledge or repudiate them, as they see fit. My reason for proposing this combination is actually based on personal experience, undoubtably due to the fact that I am a witch, ritual magician and a gnostic bishop.

It has become something of a fad or a bonafide for authenticity lately for one to be both an occultist and a cleric, but they seem to be employed as two distinct disciplines. None of these organizations or individuals has promoted using the liturgies as a foundation for the work of magick. They appear to be performed as separate disciplines, as if one might contaminate the other if they were mixed. The mass and its liturgies are performed as they are in Catholic churches, as a religious celebration enacted for the benefit of the congregation. Magick is performed by individuals or small groups for the benefit of that individual or group. As my wise lady has so adroitly said, “for them, the mass is a destination, for you, it is just the starting place for working magick.”

Therefore, unlike the various organizations and individuals who have adopted the mass and other liturgies as part of an occult discipline, I don’t see any difference between magick and liturgical rites. That perspective probably comes from my foundation in Witchcraft, where it is often the case that liturgy is blended with magick, and magick becomes liturgy, or as some would say, it becomes “confused” with it. I make no apologies for the way I do things, and in fact, I think that it has given me some advantages. I have rediscovered a tradition and a methodology that is quite new, but also very old. For me, the mass and its various ancillary rites are the starting point for all of my major magickal workings.

Still, in functioning as a witch, ritual magician and a gnostic bishop, I have brought all three of these disciplines together into a single avocation, which is what I call the “Magician as Sacramental Technician.” These methodologies are tightly integrated into the manner that I invoke spirits, angels, demons, and various gods, goddesses and demi-gods. The use of the Mass to generate the requisite energy to perform exalted ritual workings, and the use of sacraments to sacralize the magick circle and to quicken the manifestation of spirits is likely unprecedented. I know that when I revealed this discreet practice to Stephen Hoeller years ago, he was quite shocked and horrified. As a proper priest it may seem sacrilegious, but from the stand-point of a “nuts and bolts” pagan ritual magician, it isn’t disrespectful or abusive to use sacraments in this fashion - as long as one isn’t playing the role of the proper cleric. In the context of sorcery, all of this is permitted because it is an act of loving and venerating the gods, goddesses and the whole range of the spiritual hierarchy. The flesh and blood of the Godhead is given freely, and the magician as sacramental technician uses it to empower, sacralize and quicken spiritual and magickal processes.

One might ask how I managed to find myself in the situation of being able to mix these roles together. Who would have given me holy orders, knowing that I was a witch, pagan and a ritual magician? Obviously, I had to have gotten an ordination and a consecration at some point in my magickal career from someone who knew what I believed and practiced. These events did indeed happen, although I don’t want to identify the individuals who aided me in this quest. The final elevation to a bishop was both appropriate and done by someone who I have respected and found common purpose with for more than a few decades. My lineage consists of both the Vilatte and Mathew succession of the Old Catholic Church, but the practices that I have employed from that lineage are fully pagan, Hermetic, Gnostic and magickal. The lineage itself is quite important, and I can actually feel and sense the power and authority as well as the responsibility that comes with it. I can see it in my mind as a long line of practitioners going back into the forgotten past. I suspect that I am imagining this connection, whether or not the actual lineage I hold goes back that far (it probably doesn’t). Even so, I sense the long succession of prelates going back in time. Supposedly, this line goes all the way back to Melchizadek himself, and I suppose that in a symbolic and mythic way, it does connect me with that exalted magician and priest. I choose to see things this way, and for me, they are indeed a reality.

Let me now carefully define the nature of the magician priest as a sacramental technician in broader terms, so perhaps my readers can understand this role from a theoretical instead of personal perspective. As I said in the beginning of this article, the magician-priest is a spiritual mediator. We should examine exactly what is meant by that phrase.

A spiritual mediator is a person who has the ability to summon, invoke, assume and communicate as an intermediary to the Godhead, however that aspect of Deity is defined. It is not enough to officiate at liturgical rites where the Deity is invoked and given offerings. A spiritual mediator has the ability to assume that Godhead fully, to allow for a kind of possession, and in that hallowed state, perform actions that manifest the will and essence of that Spirit into the material world. Those actions typically consist of consultation, various kinds of communications (oracular or advisory), and the blessing of material substances so that they become imbued with the spiritual essence of that Deity. The relationship between the priest and the Godhead is one of extreme intimacy, if that priest is truly mediating the Deity. Such an intimate contact would give the priest permission and the authority to act in the name of that Deity, to perform duties and assume obligations that would further the divine will of that Godhead. Thus the priest would know through this close association what is sanctioned and what is forbidden. One would assume that a magician-priest would serve as a mediator to a godhead that allowed magickal work and the use of sacraments to further its greater divine will. To choose a godhead that forbade such work would be completely counterproductive.

Since I am an advocate of working ritual magick while under the assumptive influence of one’s personal godhead, then the act of spiritual mediation is an integral part of it as well. By extension, the use of sacraments and the emanation of spiritual power from that godhead would also be a natural part of that relationship. All I have done is to formalize this relationship by reclaiming the Mass rite and its various ancillary rituals (such as the Benediction) to be aligned to my pagan spiritual beliefs. I found that this transition was pretty easy, since the Tridentine Catholic Mass is saturated with magickal beliefs and practices. So for me, it was a simple matter to bring all of these various practices together into a single magickal discipline.

The historical precedence for a magician priest as prelate or bishop can be found in the very word or term used to define this individual. A magician-prelate is actually a hierophant, which is a Greek term that comes from the words “hiera” - holy, and “phainein” - to show. A hierophant is someone who brings others into the presence of the divine. This is, of course, another way of saying mediator. The hierophant was a title of the chief priest officiating at the Eleusinian Mysteries in antiquity. A hierophant is a master of both the spiritual and material worlds, and has two symbolic keys (one gold, the other silver, tied with a red ribbon) to engage with them at will. As it is said “whatever is bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.” This is a profound magickal statement, since it also ties in with the Emerald Tablet. I feel that the word “Hierophant” is a good title for anyone who is a pagan prelate - for they are a hierophant of the magickal mysteries. The central mystery is the Mass rite, and all other liturgical rites that are associated with it. This central mystery ties in to all of the other mysteries, such as the mystery of life and death.

Then there is the sticky issue of how a pagan can reconstitute what is, essentially, a Judeo-Christian lineage. How can I connect with this line of prelates going into the past when I am not a Christian, or even a Christian apologist? The solution is quite simple, there are different qualities of the lineage entwined together - mine is one that is purely occultic and magickal. Because I have adopted both Hermetic and Gnostic philosophies into what I believe and practice as a pagan and a witch, I would be considered much more a member of that line then one that is in alignment with apostle Peter. My lineage, based as it is on my practices, is therefore, an anti-apostolic line or “succession.” Because the Gnostics and Hermeticists were considered enemies to the apostolic succession and persecuted as heretics, I find that I am more in alignment with them. Therefore, I would represent the other succession, and I am not at all the first to have this connection. Whenever there have been individuals who received the consecration of a prelate, and who also practiced occultism, paganism or magick, they have been representatives of this succession. There is a long line of these individuals, and Crowley, Wedgwood, Leadbeater, Bertiaux, and many others have been or are members of this unofficial group. I believe that this line is just as valid and important as the more exoteric apostolic succession that comes from Roman Catholicism.

All prelates outside of the apostolic succession are considered auto-cephalus, in other words, they are autonomous and free to establish their congregation and spiritual domain as they see fit. They are completely independent and answer to no one except the Deity that they represent. As such, many prelates in this line seek the more empowering and rewarding paths of occultism and esoteric philosophy, and some have sought out the art of magick and deeper forms of occultism. All of this is valid and properly sanctioned, since the prelate is independent and may seek whatever inspires him or her, or do whatever is necessary to serve the Deity. Therefore, as a prelate and a magician, I may serve my Godhead and do whatever is necessary, allowed or required. I can be a pagan, witch, and a ritual magician without committing apostasy or blaspheme.

Finally, we should discuss what is required of one to function as a priest, prelate and pagan ritual magician. First of all, to become a prelate requires that the candidate receive a proper consecration rite, performed amidst a special votive Mass. These acts by the bishop consist most importantly of the laying on of hands onto the candidate’s head (cheirotonia), and the blowing of the breath (pneuma) on the crown. There is also an application of consecrated balm (anointing) placed on the forehead and the index and thumb of each hand, and the consecration of a special jeweled ring (usually amethyst), which would seem to seal the process. Often the newly installed prelate will be given new vestments to wear, and perhaps even a miter or tiara crown of some kind. Thus a consecration rite would appear to be an intimate and hallowed gift of hands, breath and chrism from the standing bishop to the candidate. Within orthodox circles, two or three bishops are required to consecrate a new bishop, but in the uncanonical circles of occultists and magicians, only one is required. In this manner, the lineage is passed from one prelate to another, as it was in the beginning of the Christian church, and more likely, long before even that time.

The vehicle for the consecration is a Mass rite, said by the Bishop to invoke and make manifest the tangible spirit of the Godhead, so it may descend through the person of the prelate into the body of the candidate. The Mass rite is the key to this whole process, and a candidate prelate must have completely mastered this key before being made a prelate himself. I would require a candidate to write their own high and low mass rites, as well as a Benediction rite and other ancillary rites, as needed. It would also be helpful but not absolutely necessary if the candidate had received a lesser elevation to that of a priest or pontifex, where he or she would function as a practicing mediator while under the authority of the prelate. Once the candidate is consecrated, then he or she is completely independent of any spiritual authority, having become an authority vested and autonomously aligned to a specific godhead.

A priest or pontifex must master the following liturgical practices in order to be considered a proper hierophant. These practices are also incorporated into the core magickal practices, so they would be seamless to one learning the art of ritual magick.

  • Performance of the Magickal Mass and its ancillary rites,
  • Production of sacraments and their proper use in ritual workings.
  • Alignment to a specific Godhead - which would include devotions, spiritual service, invocations, godhead assumption and communion,
  • Godhead mediation in all its various forms,
  • Acting as the channel for the spiritual mysteries of the specific Godhead,
  • Teaching, training and elevating worthy candidates into these mysteries.

 As you can see, the assumption of these practices are a seamless addition to the practices of ritual magick. Some of these practices and responsibilities are already a part of the regimen of ritual magick, so it would be a small matter to add a few other practices and skills to complete the process of becoming a fully functioning prelate and ritual magician. I believe that I have fully made the case for you, the reader, to consider whether or not this discipline would be relevant to you. The Order of the Gnostic Star has incorporated the anti-apostolic succession into its degree structure, using it instead of the Masonic system for the conferring of initiations.

Frater Barrabbas

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sacred Geometry and Advanced Ritual Magick

We have already covered the basic concepts associated with sacred geometry and its use in the more simple structures of ritual magick. Now we need to examine the actual geometric shapes and what they signify. Before we do that, I would like to introduce the additional devices and ritual patterns that are used in the rituals of the Order. Previously, we had covered the basic six devices, these included the star and the cross. Under those two categories, I would like to add the following additional devices.

Additional Star Form Devices

The following star forms are used in the more advanced systems of ritual magick. Since these star forms are very complicated, they are usually colorfully illustrated on a rectangular board, and then charged and consecrated. The resultant talismanic device is then placed in the center of the circle after an inner circle is drawn and opened. The inner circle causes the energies unleashed to be focused and compressed when the talisman is used.

Septagram - this star is used to invoke the seven planetary intelligences (instead of the unicursal hexagram). Because the septagram is difficult to draw from memory, I have opted to instead trace the angles on a large painted septagram talisman. If need be I can draw a septagram in the air with a pointer, but keeping the structure intact and visualizing the drawing of the lines of force is often a bit too complex to be reliable.

Enneagram - this star is used to invoke the ten Sephiroth of the Tree of Life. It can also be used to invoke the nine contemporary astrological planets.

Undecigram - this star is used for a number of different workings, including the 12 zodiacal signs, and various arrangements of the numbers seven and four.

An octagram has no use at present, but could be used to focus the invocation of one of the eight phases of the lunation cycle, or any other matrix system based on the number eight. This is also true of the decagon or the dodecagon, but either could be used to invoke the ten sephiroth or the twelve astrological signs, respectively.

We have already mentioned the lesser hexagram forms, where the triangles are not joined but exist in eccentric or overlapping relationship to each other. In the Golden Dawn tradition, the lesser hexagram is used in a kind of banishing and invoking rite, much like the lesser pentagram. Four forms of the hexagram structure are used, including the basic hexagram itself. Still, I have found little use for the lesser hexagram rituals, but I have discovered a use for three of the lesser hexagram structures (minus the one that looks like a hexagram). I needed a way to define the three basic astrological qualities of ascendent (cardinal), cadent (fixed) and succeedent (mutable), and these three structures seemed perfect for expressing these definitions. I have incorporated them as such in my rituals where they are used in combination with the device of an invoking pentagram of a specific element to perfectly express a zodiacal sign.

Additional Cross Form Devices

The bulk of the additional devices are variations on the cross device. These ancillary crosses are used in very specialized ritual structures, so they wouldn't be immediately useful to the average ritual magician. I will list them here along with a short paragraph to indicate their possible use.

Trapezoidal Cross - formed by a trapezoid and a diamond cross embedded within it. Sometimes I will place an invoking spiral in the center. The trapezoidal cross has the effect of causing temporal and inner dimensional distortions, based on the famous Law of the Trapezoid. I use it to erect a separate reality that is non-Euclidean and isometrical to our own, producing magickal extensions of reality. I have often thought that the trapezoidal cross would be the perfect device and tool of chaos magick, but that would assume that a chaos magician would prize any tool or device above any other. Often, I will use the trapezoidal cross as a device to qualify the ritual structure points of the trigon and tetrahedral gateway. I have found this use to be very efficacious.

Iron Cross - formed by an equal arm cross with the arms curving downward to touch the line of the base. The iron cross is a powerful device used to aggressively manifest and empower a ritual structure. It is exclusively used in the Iron Cross ritual, which is employed to exteriorize a spirit that has the magician's bonded purpose attached to it. Exteriorizing a spirit is the final step of a process that I refer to as evocation, or projecting a spirit into the mundane sphere.

Pentagramic Cross - formed by an obverse or inverted pentagram superimposed over a five part cross form (a cross with an extended base). The invoking pentagram is drawn to generate either the feminine or masculine spiritual quality. There are, then, four possibilities for this cross - masculine and feminine Spirit, and an obverse and inverted pentagram (ascension or emanation). The pentagrammic cross is used to express the concept of the human avatar, where the cross symbolizes the guiding grace of the godhead, and the pentagram is an emblem of the human trials of spiritual ascent. This is a complex construct that has many meanings, but I typically use it as a cross charged with the element of spirit. However, I often employ it to represent the qualities of the gnostic current of Thelema.

Hexagramic Cross - formed by a joined triangular hexagram with an equal arm cross superimposed over it and a roseate core (invoking spiral). The hexagramic cross symbolizes the gnostic current of Agape, representing the power of harmony, spiritual love, friendship and world peace. Since both the cross and the hexagram symbolize a form of spiritual union, merging them together emphasizes and elevates that quality. 

Pshent Cross - looks like the zodiacal symbol for Pisces with a roseate core (invoking spiral). The pshent cross is used to characterize the qualities of death, transformation and the pure ascension of spirit and mind in eternal union - life transcending death. This cross is used to express the qualities of the gnostic current of Thanatos.

Inverted Ankh - an ankh drawn so that the base is above the loop. Another name for this cross is the regal orb, symbolizing the sacred reign or sanctum regnum. Thus, the inverted ankh represents the powerfully manifested grace of the godhead residing in a domain that is considered holy or sacred ground. The regal orb represents the domain of the sacred and magickal king, an aspect that is explored and mastered in the Order’s sixth degree. The saying “a man’s home is his castle” does approximate the effect that this device produces when it's used in a magick ritual.

Vesica Pisces - consists of two intersecting curves, drawn facing away from each. The Vesica Pisces symbolizes the womb container of the feminine archetype (goddess), so it is a device that represents the creative powers of regeneration. Often an equal arm cross is placed in the center of the device, symbolizing the manifestation of all potential.

Swastika - also known as the fly-foot cross. It is an equal arm cross with all four arms bent at 90 degree angles in the same direction (clockwise or counter clockwise). A swastika is a solar spiral or wheel, being the combination of a cross and a spiral. The direction of the arms indicates whether the sun wheel is positive (clockwise) or negative (counter clockwise). I typically superimpose either an invoking or banishing spiral in the center of the swastika, depending on the direction of the arms. Although the swastika has been made infamous by its use on flags and emblems associated with the German Nazi party, the swastika is still an important and positive sign, if one can get past the infamy. I have used this device to represent the pure expression of solar powers, whether positive (life giving, nurturing, illuminating) or negative (destroying, killing, obfuscation - also atonement, purification). The negative swastika is also called the Black Sun, and was the variation most often depicted by the Nazis on their flags - no surprise there.

Roseate Grail - looks like the more elaborate sign for the zodiacal symbol of Pluto with an invoking spiral in the lower cross structure. The grail device characterizes the Holy Grail in all of its various manifestations, representing the mechanism in which the material reality is powerfully imbued with the sacrament of Spirit.

Additional Circle Points

More advanced techniques in ritual magick can expand the number of the points used in the outer periphery of the magick circle. Four points can produce a square, and eight points, an octagon. However, if points are placed either side of the four Angles, then more structures can be erected. A total of sixteen points can be used if all of the Watchtowers, Angles and the in-between points are used. The sixteen point circle is a true compass round, representing the sixteen directions that the wind can blow - this would certainly be useful for weather magick and treasure locating magick, as well as the Goetia-Theurgia grimoire working. 

If the Angles are omitted but not the in-between points, then twelve circle points can be employed, one for each of the twelve signs of the zodiac. A twelve pointed magick circle would be ideal for certain kinds of zodiacal magick.

Another set of points can be placed vertically at any of the points in the outer periphery of the magick circle, emulating the three points established in the center of the circle. Thus there is a possible infra, meso and ultra-point at each point on the magick circle. These additional points allow for the placement of a pylon in any of these locations. In most cases, the meso-point would be ignored, and the infra and ultra-points would be incorporated when a pylon is employed. We can easily see that having pylons along the periphery of a magick circle allows for a greater variety of possible structures in terms of the kinds of prismatic shapes that can be produced. 

All of these extra-point magick circles have a very specific use, since employing them will add a level of complexity and density to a ritual that might otherwise prove unwieldy. It would be prudent if some kind of markers were placed at the points in between the four Angles, to clearly indicate them when used. This would help the magician to visualize them. (I already work with a system of magick that has the Watchtowers and the Angles marked by small altars and oil lamps.)

The twelve pointed magick circle can be used to establish an in-circle dodecagon, and the sixteen pointed magick circle could be used to establish an in-circle double octagon. To produce these structures, each of the points would have to be deliberately drawn together along the periphery of the magick circle. The only actual variances would be the vector used in joining the points together, whether clockwise or counter clockwise. In addition, whatever ritual structures were employed in the center of either a duodecagon or a double octagon would add to the over-all prismatic field, producing very elaborate structures.

A dodecagon with an internal combined structure of a pyramid, a tetrahedral gateway and a mid-point would produce a dodecahedron prismatic structure. That prismatic shape would emerge because the initial energy structure of a sphere would imprint and carry the design to both hemispheres of the magickal circle structure, even though, technically, only half of it would be visual. Such a prismatic energy shape, besides being one of the Platonic solids, would represent an elaborate and fully empowered mystikon or telesterion (chamber of the mysteries).

Correspondingly, a double octagon with an internal combined structure of a double tetrahedron gateway and a mid-point would produce an icosahedron. The prismatic shape of an icosahedron is also a Platonic solid, and when deployed, it would represent a trans-dimensional para-reality or meta-domain, such as one of the eighteen Qabbalistic Dimensions. (A Qabbalistic Dimension is defined as one of the eighteen triangular shapes produced by the lattice structure of the Tree of Life - sephiroth, pathways and vectors. Two of the shapes are actually trapezoids.)

In both cases of the dodecahedron and the icosahedron, the ritual structures that produce them do not produce all of the vertices associated with those polyhedron shapes. This is particularly true due to the fact that a ritual structure is erected in a hemisphere, where the full sphere is occluded by the floor of the temple. What is actually occurring is a kind of symbolic modeling, where the basic components are established, and through the artifice of magick, these components lend themselves to producing the actual polyhedron shape when all of the components are brought into symbolic union. The dodecahedron has twelve faces consisting of pentagons, which can be emulated by a dodecagon and a pyramid. Similarly, a icosahedron has twenty faces consisting of triangles, which can be emulated by a double octagon and a tetrahedron - the second tetrahedron supplies the triangular shapes.    

Most of the advanced rituals of the Order use variations of the four and eight point outer circle structures, since these appear to provide for more than enough ritual structures. However, one variation that might prove useful would be a circle structure that would employ five points in the magick circle, such could be derived by using four Watchtowers and one Angle, or four Angles and one Watchtower. The five points of such a magickal circle structure would be joined to the ultra-point of a central pylon, producing a pentagonal prismatic shape, which I have jokingly referred to as the Eye of the Demon (although I am sure that the Chrysler corporation would not find it at all amusing).

Artful Declarative Statements
We have previously touched on declarative statements that can be used to further qualify the points in a ritual pattern. Magicians could conceivably write their own declarations, which would encapsulate certain occult ideals associated with the formula letter and the function of the ritual structure. The better that one writes these declarations, using brevity and succinctness as a guiding rule, then the more effective they will be in helping to give greater insight and definition to the ritual. I have warned the reader that declaration statements can easily make a ritual too dense or too loquacious, slowing down the timing or the flow of a ritual. The words should also be inspiring and even a bit profound, which would require a certain skill in word smithing. Using poor word selection or writing a statement that is hard to read or doesn’t flow can be a problem - it can literally make or break a ritual.

In this article on advanced ritual magick I will make the proposition that sometimes using actual quotations from famous poems, plays, songs, or the writings of famous authors or philosophers will produce far better effects. Since the ritual is usually not going to be published, extensive use doesn’t require the permission from an author. However, it is good form to always cite the author and the source where the quote came from, so others who might use the ritual will know.

Using actual literary sources for the declaration statements can help build rituals that are elegant and highly aesthetic. Not everyone is a great word smith, so quoting famous authors can make a dull or monotonous ritual into something very exciting and deeply meaningful. Using an author’s writings (and citing the source) can also act as a celebration of the greatness and majesty of that individual’s writings. For instance, one of my rituals uses quotations from T. S. Eliot’s great poem, “The Wasteland,” and it adds a dimension of verbal drama and power that the ritual wouldn’t have had otherwise.

However, the theme of the quotation should fit seamlessly in with the other attributes of that particular point in the ritual structure, where the device and the formula letter, as well as the overall theme of the ritual match what is being quoted from some author or poet. Sometimes a very simple statement is much more efficient and complete than some artful or flowery statement taken from some long dead author or poet. A simple test is to read over the declaration statements in the ritual while performing the actions in your head (or one can even practice the ritual without actually doing it). If you stumble over the words or if they are awkward and clumsy, or too verbose, then they will need to be edited and carefully crafted until they easily flow, adding a poignant and powerful meaning to the ritual.

Of course, declarative statements, even if they are deeply meaningful and dramatic, would seem kind of empty without some kind of musical accompaniment. For the sake of efficiency, I would recommend recorded music instead of a live band, and usually classical, new age or ambient music is better suited for ritual than something that would be distracting or even overpowering. A musical track carefully crafted along with some truly inspiring words would make a powerful impression, even if the only one attending the ritual working is the magician celebrant.

Advanced Ritual Structures

Now that we have discussed all of the additional devices and the additional points that can be used, we can turn to the actual ritual structures used in the advanced ritual workings of the Order of the Gnostic Star. We should keep in mind that these additional features allow for the ritual structures to assume a far greater array of possibilities than what we considered previously. It is very likely that some of these combinations have not yet even been deployed in the ritual lore of the Order, and await future use and experimentation.

We begin our examination of ritual structures at the point that we left off in the previous article. The last two structures examined were the pyramid and the tetrahedral gateway. We saw that these structures can be doubled, to produce a double pyramid or octahedron, and a double tetrahedron, which forms a kind of hexahedron. Let us now proceed with the rest of the known and possible structures, beginning with the cube.

Cube - A cube is produced with a foundation of a circle squared, using either the four Watchtowers or four Angles. Then four pylons are set to each of the points at the base of the square, and a pylon is erected in the center of the circle. As you can see, the very first prismatic shape in my list calls for the use of setting pylons to the periphery of the magick circle. The four outer pylons are then joined to the center pylon, where the ultra-points in the four outer points are joined to the ultra-point in the center of the circle, and the infra-points are correspondingly joined to the infra-point in the center. When the forces are drawn to union through the central meso-point, a great volume of power is released. The power charge for a cube is considerable because all of the energies are polarized into the central ultra-point and the infra-point before they are fused. The pylons erected in the periphery of the magick circle could be set with invoking pentagrams, thus generating four distinct Elementals,  and then drawing them to the center of the circle, where they would be combined with either another Elemental energy, or an energy that is aligned to Spirit alone. This ritual structure is used to create the outer elemental envelope used to give substance and form to a spirit that is invoked. It is, therefore, part of the Quintedecim complex, although typically, the four other points in the circle are used for some specific qualification as well (i.e., the tetra-sacramentary).

Great Pyramid - This shape is similar to a cube, except that the ultra-point of the four pylons set to the outer points of the circle are joined to the ultra-point of the central pylon, omitting the joining of the four infra-points to the central infra-point. Instead of a cube, a great pyramid energy structure is formed. This slight variance produces a very different kind of power signature, where the energy is focused at the central ultra-point instead of at the meso-point. A great pyramid is used to project powers outwardly, and the cube is used to hold powers within the magick circle, focused at the mid-point.

Elemental Octagon - A double circle squared ritual structure is established, one square at a time (to establish the base element, then the qualifier), and then the four Watchtowers are joined to the infra-point, and the four Angles are joined to the ultra-point. The two middle points are then drawn into fusion in the meso-point. This ritual structure produces a prismatic energy field similar to a cube, except that it has the qualities of a vortex (one square is drawn clockwise, the other, widdershins). There can also be some variance in regards to the direction used to draw the Watchtowers and the Angles to their corresponding central points. The Elemental Octagon is used to generate Elementals. Still, another distinct ritual has to be used to project the Elemental into the fabric of the space-time continuum - thus, the elemental octagon only generates it.

Septagramic Vortex Gateway - This ritual structure is a pyramid with a tetrahedral gateway enclosed within it. The seven points consist of the four points of the square base and the three points of the gateway trigon. In most configurations, the ultra-point is occupied by both the apex of the pyramid and the tetrahedral gateway. If the pyramid is omitted, and there is just the circle squared with the tetrahedral gateway in the center along with a central pylon, then the resultant structure is called an etheric sword or dagger, due to the shape produced. In this manner, the infra-point would be the handle, the square would be quillon or cross-guard, and the tetrahedral gateway would be the blade.

Enneagramic Vortex Gateway - This ritual structure consists of three interlocking tetrahedral gateways. Two of the gateway trigons consist of the Western and Eastern gates, and the third gateway is produced with the addition of a Northern or Southern gate. The triple gateway is an emblem of the triple goddesses, although any three gods or goddesses would work (such as Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva). The triple gateway is a hallmark of the empowered manifested domain of the godhead, usually deployed with three charged and animated statues of the specific deities at their core (erected in a shrine).

Step Pyramid - This structure consists of four concentric pyramids, one set within the other, and all having the same structural points in common. The theme of each pyramid structure would resonate to one of the four attributes of the Divine Tetrad, so when they are joined together, they would form a gradation from the lowest attribute to the highest, generating a step pyramid prismatic structure, where the final apex would be analogous to the ultimate level of one’s spiritual expression. Whatever ritual structure is placed at the very apex of the highest pyramid would represent the core attribute of the ritual working. This ritual structure is used as the base for the revised and reworked Bornless One Invocation rite.

Quintedecim Complex - This structure consists of an outer cube (using cross angular attributes) combined with an inner circle set with a septagram talisman. On top of the inner circle is set a tetrahedral gateway. The septagram talisman is used to invoke all seven planetary intelligences, qualified by one of the twelve zodiacal aspects (element and triplicity), and these are fused into union through the tetrahedral gateway, joining the intelligences and the cubic elemental envelope to formulate and generate a spiritual intelligence. This structure is used to perform a full invocation of any kind of spirit. The septagramic vortex gateway (using pylons set at each point) can also be used to perform this task.

Double Star Pylon - Since some of the other ritual structures have been doubled, I finally discovered a use for a doubled pylon structure. A double pylon is where two pylons are crossed, forming an ‘X’ with their mid-points in union, and their twin ultra-points and infra-points drawn into union with an invoking spiral set to each. A double pylon is also a double conduit, allowing for a simultaneous two-way direction of energy and communication binding the domain of Spirit and the material world together. It also has the ability of doubling the number of points for each point of a magick circle, multiplying them from one point to two (single pylon), and from two to four (double pylon).

Crown Shield - A crown shield is a fancy title for a rather complex ritual pattern. It uses the double pylon ritual structure, which is deployed at either the four Watchtowers or Angles of a circle squared. There is also a double pylon in the center of the circle, but all of the double pylons in the periphery of the magick circle are joined at their mid-points to the mid-point of the central double pylon. Another variation of this ritual pattern is an octagon with each point set with a pylon, and all of the pylons are joined at the mid-point to a central pylon. The simplest version of this ritual pattern is a simple octagon where a Watchtower and Angle pair are joined together with a horizontal pylon, thus fusing the two points together. This is done so that all four Watchtowers and Angles are fused to their corresponding pair, causing the octagon to become a polarized square with a central pylon. The crown shield is a powerful protective magickal field used to ward all who are within it. It’s vastly more powerful than the Rose Cross ritual, which is also used for protection against negativity of any kind. 

Double Vortex Grail Chalice - Another variation on the vortex is the double spiral magnetic vortex. This ritual pattern is formed with a base vortex (negative concentric spiral and a cross-roads), then an inner circle is drawn, and from that another vortex is established within it. The apex of both structures occupies the same space, but the cross-roads base is set within different but concentric magickal circles. The double vortex structure is then set with a grail cross device in the infra-point, imprinting it as a simulacrum of a Grail Chalice deployed as an energy field. This ritual pattern is used to emulate the power and mystery of the grail within a magick circle. It can be used for oracular workings or as the foundation for a deep invocation and assumption of the Goddess. If an inverted tetrahedral gateway is added to its center, then it becomes a channel for the Great Goddess of the Underworld, revealing all of her mysteries.

Grand Gateway - A grand gateway is a gateway structure where the third and fourth points of a tetrahedral gate are collapsed into a single point, forming a two dimensional equilateral triangle. The base points of the gateway always consist of two points in the magickal circle that are in opposition, such as the East and West. The apex of the gateway is set in the ultra-point, and the portal opening gesture is performed in the center of the circle towards the zenith. Additionally, a pylon can be erected in the center of the circle to emphasize the ascension qualities of this gateway. A grand gateway is a gateway of ascension, and is used to establish the maximum connection between a magician and his or her Godhead.

Dragon’s Eye - This ritual pattern uniquely uses a trapezoid base instead of a square. How this is done is that the structure employs three Watchtowers and one Angle, or three Angles and one Watchtower. In the center of the circle is set a pylon, and all of the four points of the trapezoid are joined to the ultra-point. The resultant prism of energy that is formed is like a trapezoidal lozenge, which resembles an eye. The trapezoidal prismatic energy field creates a powerful sensation of an alternative reality, or even a kind of causal collapse, with extreme time dilation and reality distortion. Because of its special powers and features, I have chosen to use this ritual pattern at the very summit of the step pyramid structure in the Bornless One Invocation rite. 

Conclusion - Prismatic Energy Fields and Sacred Geometry

We have now covered all of the components and attributes used in the crafting of rituals, both rudimentary and complex, using the expanded energy theory of magick. What is left to discuss are the mythic qualities of the prismatic shapes that these ritual structures generate. We have covered and gone over quite a large number of different shapes, but let us enumerate them and examine them from the perspective of sacred geometry, at least in a succinct and simplistic manner.

Interesting enough, all of the basic shapes can be collapsed into ten basic configurations, perhaps one for each of the ten Sephiroth of the Tree of Life. Five of the shapes conform to what is famously known as the Platonic Solids, which would give them a specific Element attribute. Two of these shapes are emulated rather than actually erected, so there would be some speculation as to whether or not they are properly generated when fully deployed. (I will leave that to the experimentation of the student magician, since what I have experienced and encountered is already well established in this document.)

As I have said previously, the sphere is the simplest of all ritual structures, occurring naturally wherever a magick circle is erected on sacred space. The sphere is a magickal domain, a world within a world that is separated by the boundary of sacred space. The magickal domain of the magician’s circle can appear to function and act with it’s own laws and temporality, causing an experience of time dilation and temporal distortions. Inside a simple magickal domain, these occurrences are quite subtle, even imperceptible, but they quickly increase in intensity and frequency and become quite noticeable when other structures are erected within it.
Pylons and the various vortex Cones are related ritual structures, acting as conduits from the higher spiritual realms to the lower. A pylon, also seen as a pillar or column of light energy, is a classic transitional device that produces a two way transmission of energy and spirit between the macrocosmic world and the microcosmic world of the magickal domain. Cones, on the other hand, are weighted, having a base and an apex that causes a compression of force into a singularity. This feature makes the cone useful for setting and exteriorizing magickal power.

Spirals of various kinds represent the most essential kind of movement and convolution, from spinning galaxies and black holes to the twisting of strands of DNA. Spirals are the essential building blocks of all material and living things. When used in ritual structures, they become the very source of movement, which is the essence of all magickal power. Spirals are used to invoke, banish, seal and unseal, to generate positive and negative force fields, and to compress and exteriorize them. The spiral is integral to all magickal work, particularly through the artifice of ritual magick using the extended energy model.

We also need to consider the odd shapes of the Dragon’s Eye and the Demon’s Eye. These prismatic lozenge shapes would represent a special variation. They are defined completely by their distinct function and do not explicitly represent any category amongst the shapes considered in the formulations of sacred geometry. Perhaps because they are outliers, we can give them a special functional category to consider - and it would also keep the total number at ten.

Then we come to the five Platonic Solids, whose elegance and purity have been the subject of geometers for over two millennia. These shapes are convex polyhedrons that are regular and congruent, with the same number of faces meeting at each vertex - all of its edges, vertices and angles are congruent. Plato assigned Element qualities to these five shapes, as if to indicate that these elements are made up of particles or structures that have this form. We can look at this configuration in a more symbolic manner, realizing the true beauty and majesty of this system when applying these shapes to the magickal domain of sacred space. Let us briefly examine these shapes in the precise sequential order as determined by the number of faces that each one contains.

Tetrahedron has four faces and is assigned to the Element of Fire. A tetrahedron, as it is used in a magick circle, is a gateway between realities and levels. It also has the power of unifying all previous levels (of a multilevel spiral vortex) into a single and higher expression. What we have established here with this definition is something more like a symbolic quality, which is quite evolved. Such a definition is much more significant than what we might consider as represented by a simple definition of the Element of Fire. A tetrahedron, then, causes a synthesis to occur for all previous structures and energies - it is a divine unifier. A double tetrahedron produces a variation of a hexahedron, which is also a cube. A hexahedron in this configuration is a double gateway, where ascension into union occurs simultaneously with the process of emanation that ensouls the universe.

Cube, or hexahedron, has six faces and is assigned to the Element of Earth. A cube is used to polarize and highly empower a desire or act through the drawing of the forces from the zenith and nadir into the mid-point. A cube is generated through the artifice of a circle squared and the erection of five pylons - four to the square points and one in the middle. The ultra-points of all of the pylons are joined together, as are the infra-points. Where the forces converge is the meso-point, where stands the magician as supreme artificer, focusing the magick on herself. It would seem that the cube is much better defined as the mechanism of magickal creation than represented by the Element of Earth, but perhaps in a philosophical manner these concepts are congruent.

Octahedron has eight faces and is assigned to the Element of Air. An octahedron consists of two pyramids, one obverse, and the other, inverted, thus they are polarized along their common base - a circle squared. A pyramid is the perfect generator and transmitter of magickal power, and a correspondingly positive and a negative charged pyramid joined together generates the ultimate in the transmission of ideals and desires into reality. A pyramid transmits its generated force, unlike a cube, which focuses the energy to the mid-point. However, a polarized double pyramid, used as the structure of an octahedron, is as close to a perpetual generator of magickal power as one could possibility erect. An octahedron doesn’t need a compressing or exteriorizing spiral to perform its work - it just needs to be imprinted, and then it begins to transmit magickal energy in pulsing waves.

Dodecahedron has twelve faces and is assigned to the Element of Spirit. We have already discussed this magickal structure in some detail, but as a complex prismatic structure, it generates a magickal field that is analogous to an etheric eclesia - a powerful temple of the highest mysteries.

Icosahedron has twenty faces and is assigned to the Element of Water. This ritual structure was also covered previously. An icosahedron, like the dodecahedron, produces a magickal field that acts like a temple. Where the dodecahedron is a temple housing spiritual mysteries, the icosahedron produces a temple field that houses spiritual mysteries that underlie the sacramentation of the whole material world. Where the dodecahedron temple teaches the wisdom of spiritual ascension, the icosahedron temple teaches the wisdom of sacred manifestation, the art of the master as avatar, which is the very nature of sacred geometry itself.

Building an etheric temple or a prismatic eclesia is the highest form of accomplishment that one could achieve when working an advanced system of ritual magick. It is a demonstration of what can be attained when carefully building and establishing complex and beautiful prismatic energy fields. These fields can only be perceived when one has adopted the proper altered state of consciousness, but under these conditions, geometric structures appear to blaze with a subtle and majestic etheric fire. Still, even if these structures can only be vaguely sensed, their effect is both profound and amazing. I consider all of these advanced and complex structures to represent the highest expression of this art, taking a basic set of rules and bringing them to their fullest expression.

The energy theory or model of magick has some truly wonderful, subtle and incredible uses, causing the operant model of magick to become much more structured and rigorous with its expert use. Correspondingly, if one has developed complex tables and matrices of the various hierarchies of spirits and their qualities using the spirit theory of magick, as well as a highly evolved elaboration of the psychology model of magick, then the final product would a very powerful and mature system of ritual magick. It would represent a mastery of ritual magick that could be quite capable of guiding and assisting the magician to obtain complete and full illumination, mastery of all worlds and perfect at-one-ment with the Godhead. It is conceivable that the master ritual magician as an avatar would not only be able to commune directly with the Deity, but would be well placed to aid the Godhead in its ultimate divine plan for the planet, and even the universe at large.

Frater Barrabas

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sacred Geometry in the Energy Theory of Magick - part 2

Continuing on with the second part of our on-going discussion about Sacred Geometry and the Energy Theory of Magick - let us consider the basic ritual patterns that form the prismatic energy structures. 

Seven Basic Ritual Patterns

There are seven basic ritual patterns that incorporate selected points in the magick circle. These seven ritual patterns represent the elementary structures that are used in my system of ritual magick. Ritual patterns are merely the parts that are used in combination to build fully functional rituals. It has always been my perspective that building functional rituals would be a lot easier if one had a finite tool set of ritual patterns that could be used, combined and qualified by devices for a specific function. If students can understand the significance and effect of a ritual pattern and the devices used to qualify it, then they should be able to build a functional ritual knowing full well what its effect will be even before it’s performed. That’s the whole purpose to using modular ritual structures and building functional rituals from a finite tool set. The following are the seven basic ritual structures placed in the order of their complexity.

Circle - the most basic and integral of ritual structures is the circle. In the tradition of magick that I work, a circle is the foundation for all magick performed. A circle is also associated with sacred space, symbolizing that the area defined within it is considered sacred and open to spiritual and magickal influences. When deployed, a circle will automatically generate a prismatic shape of a sphere, which is the most elementary one. A circle can also be drawn within an already existing magick circle, becoming a world within a world, or a more elevated sacred domain than what is defined by the outer circle.

Pylon - a pylon consists of two points (ultra and infra) with a line of force connecting them together. Often, the two points are established first by the drawing of magickal devices, such as a pentagram. The pylon fuses these two points together, producing a unified expression of their joined energies.

Trigon - usually depicted in the form of an equilateral triangle, the trigon as a ritual structure has many uses, but generally it functions as a gateway. A gateway trigon incorporates one of the Watchtowers and two opposite and corresponding Angles. For instance, a western gateway uses the Western Watchtower and the Southeast and Northeast Angles. The trigon is erected in the magick circle, so the gateway it establishes is inside as opposed to outside of the circle. A trigon gateway, when it is established over existing ritual structures, causes them to be fused together at a new level. A gateway can also be used to formulate a transition from one working to another.

Square/Cross-Roads - a square is where either the four Watchtowers or four Angles are drawn together with lines of force around the periphery of the magick circle, usually done with a dagger or a sword. The direction or vector, and the starting and finishing point are the two components that can have an impact on the quality that this ritual structure produces. A vector of clockwise will produce a decidedly masculine energy signature, and the opposite vector of counter clockwise, will produce a corresponding feminine energy signature. Typically, the masculine version is used, although the feminine variety can be used to create a hybrid structure that can produce a highly charged conical spiral vortex. Starting at a particular point (Watchtower or Angle) can also have an effect. Often it symbolizes the sequence of the four Elements associated with the specific points of the magick circle. This ritual structure tends to produce a polarization of forces that automatically generates magickal energy, particularly due to the fact that it is drawn within a magick circle. A square within a circle has its particular quality of polarized magickal power.

A cross-roads ritual structure is where the four Watchtowers or Angles are drawn together, using lines of force that cross the center of the magick circle. Thus the points that are the polar opposite of each other are joined together, causing an energy signature of fusion and union to occur. The center of the magick circle draws the polarities of the four points so conjoined into a singularity, which is the fifth or quintessential element. The mid-point also becomes an access point for the translation of matter into spirit and spirit into matter, allowing for a two-way communion or communication between both domains. A cross-roads erected in a magick circle has all of the mythic and metaphysical qualities of an actual lonely country cross-roads, the place where sorcerers are reputed to conjure spirits and meet with diabolical agents.

Concentric Spiral - a concentric spiral is one that is performed usually as a circumambulation by a single practitioner around the periphery of the magick circle, although it can also incorporate multiple individuals engaging in a form of circle dance. A positive concentric spiral is one where the vector or direction is clockwise, and a negative concentric spiral is one where the vector is counter clockwise (widdershins). A concentric spiral is expressly used to generate a magickal power that forms a cone. The point of the cone, whether to the ultra-point or infra-point, also determines the quality of the energy. There are four possible outcomes to this combination of vector and the placement of the apex of the cone, but in many traditions only one is used. In addition to the ever popular cone of power (clockwise, ultra-point), there is a spiral vortex (counter clockwise, infra-point), a negative cone of power (counter clockwise, ultra-point) and a solar spiral vortex (clockwise, infra-point). Each of these ritual constructs has a unique power signature.

Eccentric Spiral - an eccentric spiral is one that moves from the periphery of the magick circle to the center, or from the center to the periphery. An eccentric spiral intersects the outside edge of the magick circle with its center, thereby either concentrating the force in the middle or dispersing them  to the outer edge and beyond. To make the spiral a complete ritual structure, three revolutions of the magickal circle must be performed, since three is the number of completion and manifestation. There are four possibilities in how the eccentric spiral is deployed, but only two are actually used. An eccentric spiral that travels from the outer periphery to the center always moves in a clockwise direction, compressing and focusing the energy into the very middle of the magick circle. Conversely, an eccentric spiral that travels from the center to the outer periphery always moves in a counter clockwise direction, dispersing and exteriorizing the collected forces from the middle of the circle to beyond its outer edge. Obviously, compressing the magick power would occur just prior to exteriorizing it, so these two ritual structures are typically used in the order of compressing the power, and then, exteriorizing it.

The above six ritual structures are the most basic in the repertoire of a magician who is using the extended energy theory of ritual magick. However, two more structures, which are related, can also be examined. The first is the pyramid, which is the seventh ritual structure, and the next is the tetrahedron, which is uniquely associated with the trigon gate.

Pyramid - a pyramid is formed when the four Watchtowers or Angles are joined around the periphery of the magick circle to form a square, and then a pylon is established in the center of the circle. The final step is where the magician draws lines of force from the four points of the base of the square to either the ultra-point or the infra-point, establishing an obverse or inverted pyramid. In an elaborate ritual structure, the magician could erect both an obverse and an inverted pyramid so that they would be joined at the four points of the square. This double pyramid structure is known as the prismatic structure of an octahedron, where the negative and positive pyramids would super charge the energy signature of the magick circle through the combined polarization and fusion of their generated powers.

The Tetrahedron is a three dimensional gateway, incorporating the trigon as its base, and projecting a fourth point into either the ultra or infra-point. An obverse tetrahedral gateway would have a corresponding positive energy signature, and an inverted tetrahedral gateway would have a negative one. Typically, the obverse tetrahedral gateway is a more refined structure than a gateway trigon because there is the fourth point, which is a spiritual attribute that consists of the combined expression of the three nodes of the gateway. It represents the final resolution of the three part transformative ordeal.

An obverse tetrahedral gateway, like a trigon gateway, can be oriented to any of the points of the four Watchtowers. If the fourth point of a tetrahedral gateway is occupying the infra-point, then the gateway has the quality of being negative, representing a powerful threshold to the deeper underworld structures (such as the Qliphoth). So for this reason, an inverted tetrahedral gateway always has a western or underworld orientation. Like the pyramid, a magician can combine the obverse and the inverted tetrahedral gate to create a fused double gateway, where the obverse tetrahedron would be oriented to the east, and the inverted would be oriented to the west. The fused structure would be a kind of hexahedron, and would represent the complete cycle of transformative initiation in a single holistic ritual structure.

Formulas, Declarations and Energy Colors - Use of Keywords and Concepts

In addition to using ritual structures and qualifying them with devices, the points of a ritual structure can also be qualified through the use of a formula letter, a declaration and a visualized energy color. These three additional qualifiers are used to give even more meaning and significance to the overall ritual structure, thus powerfully and significantly imprinting the prismatic energy shape with a symbolic meaning. Each of the points of the ritual structure are qualified with an occult ideal or concept, and in the case of a visualized colored energy, a specific component of energy as well.

Thus the points of a ritual pattern are qualified by occult symbolic ideals and a specific energy signature. They join together to formulate a fully empowered and intelligible ritual structure, to be joined with other ritual structures, fashioning a ritual with a very specific function and magickal effect. A functional ritual often has variables, where the points of the various ritual structures can be qualified by a small array of different devices, such as a different invoking pentagram to generate a certain Element. Typically, the devices in a ritual structure may be changed, but the declarations, formula letters and even the visualized colored energies remain the same, representing the fixed aspects of the ritual pattern. Sometimes, all of these qualifiers can be modified, thus producing a completely modular structure with a large array of variations.

Formula letters are specifically used to pull the points of the ritual structure together at the terminus or ending of that magickal event. This is done in a process that is called “Analysis of the Keyword” as found in the Golden Dawn ritual of the Rose Cross. Therefore, the formula letters (often in Hebrew, but also represented by Greek, Latin, Coptic or Arabic) are used to build the keyword, which acts as the touchstone for the entire ritual structure. How this is done is that the letters of the keyword are intoned at the associated points in the magick circle, along with the devices, declarations, signs (gestures) and visualized colored energies, and then when the ritual structure is complete, the formula letters are intoned together to form the keyword and a final declaration is made in the center of the magick circle.

In this manner, all of the points of the ritual structure are fused into a single keyword and a single declaration. The analysis of the keyword construct can be performed at the end of each ritual structure, and it can be performed at the end of the final ritual structure in a functional ritual. By establishing a synopsis of the fully functional ritual and the ritual structures that are contained by it, a powerful resonance of union and fusion is produced, representing the perfect expression of Spirit within a ritual magickal construct. Having this element throughout a ritual causes a subtle emulation of the spiritual essence of the godhead to be manifest in the working. This factor will ensure that the rite produces a transformative effect when it is performed.

Declarations should be kept brief and succinct, since if they are too wordy, the timing of the ritual will be expanded and the pace will be slowed down considerably. Energy visualizations should be meaningful but not distracting, if they are used at all. Formulas, declarations, keywords and energy visualizations are additional qualifications which can make a simple ritual much more complex, and even cause it to implode due to an overbearing burden of density. Special care must be used when deploying them in a ritual structure.

Conclusion - Putting It All Together

We have now concluded our initial analysis of the different components that can be used to generate geometrically shaped prismatic energy fields. All of the elements discussed above can be used to build ritual structures and fully functional rituals. An important consideration is that a fully functional ritual can stand by itself, or it can function as one of an array of rituals used to form a working, which is an event driven ritual performance where the variables (if any) have been set and a specific intent and purpose have been determined. For the competent witch or pagan, these ritual structures are used to build four basic add-on rituals that can dramatically evolve the kind of magick that is worked, from a purely wiccan or pagan basis, to that of the discipline of ritual magick. These four fully functional rituals are:

  • Spiral Vortex rite,
  • Pyramid of Powers rite,
  • Western and Eastern Gateway rites,
  • Lunar Mystery rite.

Spiral Vortex rite is where a widdershins concentric spiral is joined with a cross-roads circle structure, which produces a powerful magnetic vortex that has in its center, a singularity. A rose ankh device is set to each of the four points to give the ritual structure an obvious feminine energy signature. The utility of the spiral vortex rite, once it is activated, is that it functions as an impervious container with a negative core that can irresistibly draw together and contain everything within it. It can also impact and transform anything that happens to be symbolically linked to its released exteriorized wave-form.

Pyramid of Powers rite consists of a circle squared with a central pylon, and the four points of the square base are drawn to the ultra-point. The resultant power is drawn up and compressed with an inward clockwise eccentric spiral, imprinted with a sigil, and then released through the agency of an outward anti-clockwise eccentric spiral. Invoking pentagramic devices for a specific element are set to each of the four points of the square, and an attribute of the Deity (Qabbalistic Sephirah) is summoned and declared in the center of the circle. The pyramid of power rite is used to invoke and unleash one of the forty Qualified Powers upon a specific target as determined by the sigil.

Western and Eastern Gateway rites - these two rites, which act as a completed unit, represent the underworld access and the over-world ascension associated with the cycle of personal transformation. Both rites use a gateway trigon, with devices, formula letters and declarations made at each of the three points of the gate. The formula letters form a keyword, which is analyzed and declared as the final ritual action of the rite. The gateway points are usually qualified by three deliberately selected Tarot trumps, so the formula letters are tied to the Tarot trumps chosen. The underworld gateway, and the ascension gateway, have their own mythic themes, which don’t vary, but can be qualified by a combination of Tarot trump and associated formula letter.

Lunar Mystery rite - this is one of three different mystery rites, but it is the most important, since it is used to establish the astrological and lunar foundation for a basic ritual working. The Lunar Mystery rite has at least four variables, but it can have as many as eight variables, depending on whether the lunar phases or the lunation cycle are used. Other variables would be the astrological sign that the sun resides at the time of the rite (solar season) and the astrological sign that the moon is in during its specific phase. The Lunar Mystery rite has the following ritual structure (as taken from the generic mystery rite outline).

1. Spiral Vortex rite.
2. Underworld Gateway rite.
3. Cross-roads for mystery working - four points set to the specific qualities of the phase. The cross-roads can also be a double cross-roads consisting of eight points (for the lunation cycle).
4. Draw inner concentric circle focusing on where the cross-roads meet.
5. Establish the sacred pylon (link to the specific mystery godhead).
6. Godhead assumption and communion.
7. Mythic theme for lunar aspects established
8. Optional secondary inverted tetrahedral gateway (deep gate) - this rite would qualify and encapsulate the personal working of the Pyramid of Powers.
9. Pyramid of Power rite (performed within the mystery vortex).
10. Closing of optional gate (using sealing spirals).
11. Closing Western Gateway, and performing Eastern Gateway of Ascension.
12. Concluding feast and outer lunar celebration (if any).

As indicated above, an optional inverted tetrahedral gateway would be used to unify and build a deeper foundation for the performance of the Pyramid of Powers rite. The Lunar Mystery rite could also be worked without steps 7 through 9, omitting the Pyramid of Powers working and thereby focusing on the specific lunar mystery. This ritual outline characterizes how a completed ritual working would be performed, showing all of the required steps and components.

Our objective (in this work) is to examine this ritual working in greater detail, and carefully go over all of the individual rituals and examine how they are constructed and function. (Some of these rituals have already been examined in previous articles, others will be soon forthcoming.)

We have now thoroughly discussed all of the required elements for a basic modular system of ritual magick. What remains to be examined later is the mythic content and meaning of these ritual structures as they are deployed in the four basic rituals.

To recap the important points in this article:

  • Energy is movement/action performed in sacred space,
  • Energy is symbolized by the joining of the archetypal male and female,
  • Energy is perceived while in a powerful altered state of consciousness.

Prismatic energy shapes are determined by ritual structures, magickal devices, specific circle points associated with a strategic ritual pattern, and can be further qualified by formula letters, declarations and visualized colored energies. Keywords can be used to unify all of the points and components of a ritual structure.

Frater Barrabbas

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sacred Geometry in the Energy Theory of Magick - part 1

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:
  • point,
  • line,
  • triangle,
  • cross,
  • star,
  • spiral.

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,
  • Ultra-point,
  • Meso-point,
  • Infra-point.

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. 

Frater Barrabbas