Thursday, June 24, 2010

Importance of the LBRP to Ritual Magicians?

“One more...Its been suggested by Nick Farrel that the LBRP is overused and the LIRP is preferred. he says, essentially that the LBRP cleans too well and defeats the purpose of any personal work you do. I feel the LBRP seals in the work. Thoughts?” asked by DeusLux

I got this question just today. The questioner had sent an earlier question that was frankly out of my league, since it was a very technical question about Enochian Magick, which is not a subject that I consider myself an expert. I have sent off that first question to a couple of experts, so we’ll see if they respond, otherwise I will have to demure on that question.

Anyway, the question is about the use of the LBRP, or the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. First off, I don’t even use this ritual, or its companion, the LIRP (Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram), and haven’t for a few decades. Why is that? Because as a witch, I incorporate a magick circle into every magickal working that I do within a temple. If I consecrate, set and charge a magick circle with the four wards covering the four cardinal directions, that would seem to do pretty much the same thing that the combination of the LBRP and LIRP would do. Not only that, but in some of the circle consecration rites that I use, the circle also gets squared, and the wards are always set with invoking pentagrams of the four elements. Typically, when a ritual working is completed, then the results of the working are banished by doing what is basically a reverse circle setting, particularly drawing banishing element pentagrams to the four wards. So that pretty much covers why I don’t use the LBRP or LIRP. They are redundant and it might also undo what the circle consecration rite is supposed to do.

Then there is the matter of managing a vortex energy structure, which is used extensively and often in nearly all of my workings. A vortex can’t be banished, only overlaid, so the LBRP is essentially completely useless when a vortex is deployed. A vortex is erected or unsealed when it needs to be used, and then sealed when it is no longer needed - no banishing is ever performed.

Remember that a ritual magician performs magick using the methodology of immersion. A magick circle is integral to establishing an enclosed focus where the power is raised and spirits are invoked. There is no barrier between the ritual magician and whatever is generated or invoked in a ritual working. How the ritual magician insulates herself from any backlash, contagion or a bleeding link is that she has assumed her personal godhead as part of the preparation of the working. As a representative of the Godhead, she is completely protected, since the powers or linkages would have to travel far up the levels of conscious being to affect her. It is more likely that such energies or occurrences will just find a common ground and harmlessly dissipate rather than harm the magician. The godhead assumption also insulates the ritual magician from all spiritual invocations, whether theurgic or evocative. 

A Golden Dawn magician does not work within a magick circle unless a goetic evocation is going to be performed, otherwise, either a temple space or even one’s living space will suffice for the kind of work that such a magician would wrought. So the LBRP and the LIRP become quite important in such a working where there is no magick circle or any kind of circle consecration rite is performed. The LBRP is performed to clear the area of any unwanted energies or spirits, and the LIRP establishes a connection to the spiritual domain, allowing other magickal rites to be performed. You can find my articles on both the Golden Dawn and the techniques that I use in earlier articles on this blog. Just look at the index keywords to the left of the blog entry text.

David Griffin, in his wonderful book “The Ritual Magic Manual: A Complete Course in Practical Magic,” (1999 Golden Dawn Publishing) does indeed assume that the LBRP will erase everything, so he assiduously wraps up all his tools, sigils and talismans before performing it. He also does use the LIRP pretty much as I have described it. I would recommend his perspective if you choose to use the Golden Dawn system instead of a more Wiccan or Neopagan based system, such as what I use. David has shown himself to be a rigorous and consummate magickal practitioner.

Hope that answers your question?

Frater Barrabbas

Ask me about ritual magick



  1. Greetings,

    I use rituals of a similar design to the LBRP in all of my workings to re-enforce the specific cosmological tradition I am then working with, however I do not use the specifically 'banishing' formula within my temple space, as this would be in opposition to the function of the temple.

    I do use the banishing formula when 'out in the wild' for a general purpose temporary sphere of working, to clear away the unwanted distractions, however this is not intended to separate myself from the world, but to sanctify the immediate area.

    In my adaptation of the ritual, in addition to the regular 'four archangels' I add these three for the 'middle pillar' Zadekiel to the heights, Sabathiel to the earth, and Annael within.

    Generally speaking I do not care for the perspective of the Judeo-Christian based branches of western esoterica, they place the individual at odds to everything, that which is 'out side' is deemed at best impure and otherwise evil that must be dominated, restricted, and controlled.

    The individual is technically powerless and only through the agency of God, his angels and Jesus can the individual have any power over those external forces, or to gain the wisdom and blessings of God.

    The individual becomes only the conduit of the divine,
    and if deemed worthy blessed and granted there desires.

    You can see this in the design of those evocation rituals (in your previous post) the magician is sealed within, segregating himself from all else, that which is 'out there'.

    This is evident with the triangle into which the spirit is conjured, it is not a symbol of containment but of radiant energy, its angles push energy outward, which is likely the reason it was chosen, to amplify the energy matrix of the spirit being contacted.

    Personally I have the perspective that is best summed in two of my core philosophical axioms "We are the many, we are the one", the purpose of existence is not to 'divide and conqueror' but to "unite the many together as one" through the process of spiritual alchemy, transmuting the lesser into the greater, degree by degree until all is made perfect.

    This "unity" is not the sublimation of every individual into the absolute as in some eastern traditions, but the harmonizing of the many.

    I also work within an established (permanent) temple space, as you said a 'vortex' that is composed of multiple layers, activating the appropriate layer before and then sealing that layer when done, although within the whole temple construct all layers are united as one, as within my mind and soul.

    PS. "it was a very technical question about Enochian Magick" do you have a link to that article ?

    I consider myself some what of an expert of the Enochian system, and would be interested in someone else's technical perspective.

    By the by.. there is no 22nd letter, the whole system revolves around 3 and 7 (7x3=21;2+1=3;7=2:3+1;1=7+3=10;21=2,1=7,=49) as stated in the 'golden rule' of the lore "Seven lay be seven, seven are in seven, for seven hath government over all" --liber mysteriorum primus


  2. @Serapis - We aren't that far apart in how we perceive and work magick.

    However, in regards to Enochian, I am working with the material that I have received from the same sources that Dee and Kelly worked, but I am still developing the lore. We can agree to not agree about the 22 letters, though - it's just my opinion.

    That being said, I would like to communicate with you more readily, so if you could provide me with an email address, I will be happy to communicate and also send you the other question that I was given but couldn't respond to. I also have a proposition for you.

    Thanks for your response - most interesting.

  3. The LBRP is microcosmic (pentagram) so it shouldn't be affecting tools or talismans. I'm well aware that the wrapping up of implements when performing even the LBRP is a traditional Golden Dawn practice but I've never found it necessary and I've never found my tools adversely affected by it. The LBRH is macrocosmic (hexagram) and another matter entirely - that one can dispel items if you aren't careful with it. So if you're opening your temple the way a lot of GD magicians do with the LBRP/LBRH, it is wise to wrap up your implements.

    I generally use what I call the operant field to open my rituals - the LBRP followed by the LIRH. For those who are interested, I explain my rationale for doing so here.

  4. Care Frater Barrabas Tiresius,

    Thank you for your kind words about the Ritual Magic Manual and about my work. I thoroughly disagree with Nick Farrell's above statement. This is unsurprising as Nick and I have a long history of disagreeing about nearly everything!

    The Lesser Invoking Ritual Pentagram (LBRP) is not a Banishing Ritual at all. It is indeed used in certain Golden Dawn temples following the initial banishings in order to raise power in the temple.

    I am not much of a fan of the LIRP for personal magical use, however. Within the Golden Dawn context, there are other rites that are far more effective in everything that the LIRP accomplishes. If I do a ritual invocation, I prefer to call in a specific magical force according to the nature of the intention of the ritual.

    As far as simply raising pure power (LVX current), the Middle Pillar is far more effective, as it thoroughly charges the energetic body of the magician with raw force. In the Third Order of the Apha et Omega, we charge our auras with amounts of current that would fry the average Neophyte, using advanced techniques of Hermetic Inner (Sexual) Alchemy.

    The way you describe you cast a circle, using the correct invoking pentagrams for each element in each quarter (then correctly banishing later) is quite powerful, amounting to about the same thing as the SIRP. I would recommend against this, however, if the ritual is to invoke a planetary or stellar force, as you are beginning by casting an elemental matrix far to course to later immerse yourself in the more subtle planetary of zodiacal energies.

    For final banishing, I first banish the specific force that was invoked, followed by the LBRP and the LBRH.

    The LBRP is general banishing for elemental and zodiacal force as is the LBRH the same for planetary and zodiacal force.

    I open each ritual with this general clean-up as well. (kind of like magically sweeping the room and taking out the trash before beginning ritual). The purpose of this is not merely for protection, but rather to be able to fullly feel and perceive the invoked force in all its purity, untainted by the energies of other magical forces lingering in the room. This is the magical equivalent of always drinking a new wine from a fresh wine glass, so that the purity of the new taste is not changed by the few drops from the last bottle still lingering in the bottom of the old glass!

    - David Griffin

    Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Yeheshua
    G.H. Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis
    Imperator Ordinis, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
    outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega
    "Ex Deo Nascimur.
    In Yeheshua Morimur.
    Per Sanctum Spiritum Reviviscimus"

  5. Sorry for the above typo! The first sentence of the second paragraph above should read:
    The Lesser Invoking Ritual Pentagram (LIRP) is not a Banishing Ritual at all.

  6. @David - Thanks for your post. It's always good to have the expert opinion of a GD magician. I must admit that only a few of the GD rituals ever made it into my repertoire - the Rose Cross was one of them. I noted that it's the first ritual that showed me how a vortex would work, since it creates a powerful solarian field around the worker and fills the very room where he or she is performing it.

    As for the invoking pentagrams in the circle consecration rite having an impact on the magick that is subsequently worked, I have not found this to be the case. The reason is that the invoking pentagrams are set at the very periphery of the magick circle and become a part of it, acting as the four wards set to the four cardinal directions. The invoking pentagrams thus enable the circle to remain intact and fully empowered in regards to the wards while other rites are performed within it.

    I have used this methodology since I was a teenager (which was a long time ago!), and I have never had any workings either influenced or affected by it. It would seem that because the pentagrams are part of the circle architecture, that they don't bleed over into the workings.

    If I wasn't using a magick circle in such a manner, then it probably would affect what I was doing. Also, it's my intent to use the pentagrams to erect the field of the magick circle. Once it is fully established, then I move on to the main workings and the magick at hand.

  7. Wow....I asked a question and look at the answers! I am humbled, thank you all!

    I did not truly resonate w/ the idea that the LBRP sanitized a space so completely as to strip it bare. So I wanted the opinions of other Magicians. I also want to thank you Frater Barrabbas for answering my question on the "Complete" opening by Watchtower ritual as per Regardies "Ceremonial Magic"

    The LBRP, from my experience, has been a way to clear my space of unbalanced energies then bring in the balanced elements to bring myself back to balance. Daily use is a reminder of the harmony I seek and to carry it out into the world after my daily rituals are completed. The stronger my aura or the more in tune I am...the longer I remain so through the day. That to me is a part of the LBRP I find endearing. It did not seem right that a ritual such as OBW would be completed w/ a ritual that would, render all your work useless. That is how I understood the reasoning by Nick Farrel. However....His explanation of the LIRP as a way to invoke higher energies into your life makes sense...but isnt that what I do w/ the Middle Pillar or Rose Cross? Ive 20 years practicing ceremonial Magic but it many ways im not much further along the path now as I was then. I appreciate your patience.
    En Pax,
    Puer Aeternus

  8. Greetings,

    "I would like to communicate with you more readily, so if you could provide me with an email address"

    Please do, I enabled the email link on my profile page.

    "We can agree to not agree about the 22 letters"

    Yes, of course, I would be interested in discussing that topic more some time, I have heard/read some interesting arguments both for and against it, and not less then a couple suggesting that there should be more then 21, one which I (somewhat) agree with is that the total should be 49, one for each Key, and each Tablet of Liber Loageth.


  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Serapis,
    The technical question about Enochian Magic was about the difference between the Opening by watchtower that is readily available and the "Complete version" that Regardie has written about in his book "Ceremonial Magic". I was curious as I had been doing the Completed ritual and comparing w/ a friend. He had the whole thing memorized and took considerably less time to complete it. Feeling a little slow, I began to compare his version and others in my books and online to discover they were all based on Regardies "2nd Elaboration" which is considerably shorter. I was wondering why that was used instead of the "completed version". According to Regardies instructions, the 1st and 2nd elaboration are steps to master before you attempt the completed version. So why would the "Incomplete version" be the one most often used. Frater Barrabbas posted an answer here:

  11. @Puer

    Well, add another one to ye old 'books to acquire' list...

    I must confess I do not have many of Regardie's books (The 'Big Gold Brick', and the 'Little Black Brick' and 'The Middle Pillar', and those concerning "Uncle Al") the others are still on the list (with about a 1,000 others..).

    I have not heard of this title before, so I really cannot comment on the difference.

    Perhaps you could ellaborate on the specific details in question ?

    there are enough pages posted here to see the 1st, 2nd elaboration and the completed ritual.

  13. Oh..if it is not apparent...Thank You David Griffin for taking the time to add your insights, I am humbled and thankful!

  14. Greetings, @Puer:

    Thanks for the link, I will look into that and get back to ya on that question.


  15. @ Frater Barrabas
    Regarding your use of the GIRP pentagrams for a purpose other than elemental invocation, for which they are used in the Golden Dawn system:
    At the end of the day, it is the will of the magician that empowers any magical symbols!
    Thus, if you choose to use invoking elemental pentagrams with the intention of merely setting guardians at the edge of a circle, why not? You could likewise use them so summon planetary demons, I suppose!
    However, magical symbol systems have their function and use, and it is extremely important for beginners to learn and master a complete symbol system, much like learning the grammer of a language.
    I encourage my students to ultimately develop their own, personal magical systems. However, to use merely one piece of a magical language for a purpose other than it was intended, in a fashion negates the rest of the system.
    The question thus begs to be asked, if you so lightly use invoking elemental pentagrams for a purpose other than to invoke elemental forces, what then do you use to actually invoke them?
    - David Griffin

  16. @Barrabas
    Moreover, there remains the question of magical egregores created through use of a magical language. Your choosing to use elements of a magical language for a purpose other than they have been intended since the beginning, is problematic as it flies in the face of the established magical egregore connected with the symbols.
    Let me give you another example. I am a great fan of and passionate collector of magical sigils. My "Liber Sigillum" now contains well over 3,000 sigils collected from various magical grimoires, etc.
    Admittedly, at one time or another, each of these sigils were created by magicians for a specific purpose. I am of the opinion that sigils should only be used for the purpose for which they were originally created, due to the energy of the magical egregore they have been invested with through creation and use.
    To use them for another purpose is much more difficult. In fact, it is easier to simply create entirely new spirits and sigils for specific intentions, than it is to attempt a magical egregore once establishes.

  17. Correction:
    "In fact, it is easier to simply create entirely new spirits (yes, they are created too!) and sigils for specific intentions, than it is to attempt a redirect a magical egregore once established."

  18. The art of the creation of magical spirits and of magical egregores are two aspects of magic that still remain secret until today. I fact, even that have no objective, "a priori" existance, but are created by magicians has been carefully kept under wraps as well. Is it not nice to see that there are still a few secrets left in the Art?!?!?

  19. @David - Gardnerian and Alexandrian witches, and now a host of book taught wiccans all use the invoking pentagrams to set the four wards of a magick circle. This has been a part of the standard practice for many years, probably at least since the 1950's, when Doreen Valiente reformed the rituals in the Book of Shadows. What can I say, other than it works remarkably well. Not only for me, but for many others. So either we scratch our heads and try to fathom how that could possibly be, or we accept that symbols and signs are much more mutable then what one would ordinarily assume.

    In regards to working with elementals, I have a special ritual and system that does that quite well. It uses an eight point magick circle (cardinal directions as Watchtowers, and cross-cardinal directions as Angles).

    As for generating an egregore or a spirit, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I already have a system and methodology to do that as well. Whenever I perform theurgy or evocation, I am actually generating the specific spirit based on its matrix of associated correspondences, merging elemental energies with multiple planetary intelligences and fusing them into a whole. The magickal mass provides the energy and sacrament to quicken and manifest the spirit thus formed.

    We can talk more about offline if would like to.