Monday, September 27, 2010

Vortex - Magickal Domain of the Mysteries

We have discussed some different energy constructs that are used in ritual magick, but we haven’t gone into much detail about the specific use of such constructs. For this article, I would like to focus on one such energy construct, the Vortex. Unlike the cone of power or the pyramid of power, the vortex is characterized by a feminine gender, which powerfully alters the quality of the magickal energy generated and contained within it.

This should be old hat for my regular readers, since I have been talking about using a number of different energy structures that profoundly extend the basic theory of the energy model of magick. In extending and working with the energy model of magick, I have already discussed in previous articles that there are four different mechanisms used to qualify the concept of magickal energy as it is used in a temple. Let us review these four mechanisms as they are so defined here:

  • Four Elements - qualifying the energy with Fire, Air, Water, Earth;
  • Shaping - using the points of the magick circle to define geometric forms;
  • Vectoring - movement in a deosil or widdershins direction;
  • Gender - using the qualities of masculine and feminine to qualify energy.

Additionally, one can use colors, devices (such as spirals, crosses, pentagrams, hexagrams, etc.), formula letters, words (ideals), sigils, characters, talismans, etc. Accessing the imagination can make this list of qualifying mechanisms nearly endless. However, for our discussion we will limit ourselves to discussing shaping, vectoring and gender.

First of all, we need to be aware that the magick circle confines and condenses the energy generated within it, giving it a basic shape, which is a sphere. Other shapes can be determined by the 11 points of the magick circle, which I consider to be a major part of the temple energy architecture. We won’t get too deep into that discussion, since we are just concerned with the Vortex and its relative shape. Also, talking about the four Elements would bring us into the topic of working Elemental magick, which is not the theme for this article.

Shaping and vectoring play a part in the generation of a vortex, but they are minor elements when compared to how they are used in other more complex structures. We can shape energy into forms using vectoring, focusing inward and expanding outward - through involution and emanation. This is accomplished with ritual actions and movements within the temple area. We can also determine a relative gender quality to the energy based on the definitions of Fire and Water, and by other means as well. Still, gender is the preeminent topic for this article, since the Vortex is considered, by contrast to all of the other structures, to be a feminine based energy.

We also need to consider the definition of resonance in magickal energy work. Resonance is defined in ritual magick as an iterative increase in the intensity of action and motion to achieve a climax or ecstatic release. We will discuss a bit more about resonance later in this article.

The first real shaping of energy that most witches and pagans understand and probably use is the Cone of Power. For some, this is only energy shape that is used in a magickal working. I have proposed that the Cone of Power is an archetypal masculine energy, and I think that I have some good reasons for believing this to be true. 

The six reasons why I believe that the Cone of Power is an archetypal masculine energy:

  • Vectoring direction is Deosil, or Sun-wise;
  • Requires polarity of male and female in the Dance Round;
  • Energy is raised through resonance once to establish a “plateau”, a second time to release energy;
  • Energy is focused to the Zenith of the “magick sphere” in the circle, typically aided by a “director” standing in the center of the circle;
  • Energy is released as a “bolt” to its target through ecstatic resonance;
  • Circle must be banished after rite is completed

Doesn’t the pattern of this magickal structure sound a lot like the male sexual orgasmic cycle? It seems rather obvious to me, but some will maintain that the Cone of Power is not inherently masculine. However, I think that the six points shown above pretty much demonstrate my point.

The cone of power is used to generate an energy that projects itself into the mundane world like a bolt of lightening, where it travels to its target, irresistibly attracted to the imprinted magickal link like static electricity is to the earth, and similarly blasting the target with the full force of its latent charge. The cone of power is generated, imprinted and released, and what remains is banished, or cleansed from the circle, to eliminate any possibility for the power to rebound back to the sender.

So if it can be agreed that the Cone of Power is masculine, then what would the so-called feminine magickal energy structure look like? I believe that it would be almost exactly the opposite - instead of an upright cone, it would be a vortex spiraling down to a common singularity.

Vortex - Feminine gender quality of magickal power

The cone of power and the vortex symbolically imitate the masculine and feminine cycles of orgasm, and can be used separately or together. However, the vortex is used to contain energy and to amplify it over time. This is a very radically different kind of energy structure than what is typically deployed.

A vortex is an energy field that is deeply centered and internalized, but when it achieves a climax, which it does in a similar manner as the cone of power through resonance, it produces waves of energy radiating out in all directions, profoundly affecting the target through multiple waves of force that gradually and completely alter the target until it completely complies with the will of the magician.

The vortex type of magickal energy is more subtle and deeper than the cone of power, which suffers from the single mindedness of being able to miss its mark. A vortex surrounds its objective with waves of force, and these are more instrumental in making more likely greater and dynamic changes.

A cone of power is raised and used in a single magickal working, while a vortex is used over a series of workings. The cone of power must be banished when the magickal working is completed, while a vortex is sealed at its highest point of power (using a sealing spiral), then on subsequent evenings, unsealed at its previous apex of power. The newly unsealed vortex can have more levels of power and symbolic meaningfulness added to it, and then sealed when the working is completed. This cycle of activity can repeated as often as necessary, building up the energy contained in the vortex until it eventually achieves the highest level of power that is needed to completely overwhelm the desired transformative effect, and only then unleashed.

A vortex can contain any magickal pattern or energy field, including a cone or pyramid of power, or many cones or pyramids of power, generated over a period of many weeks or months. The vortex is a simple energy field, but it represents a greater articulation and manipulation of magickal energy than what a simple cone of power, by itself, is able to produce. A magician who seeks to work the most effective and potent magick, makes use of all of these methods of magickal power generation.   

Contrasting the qualities of a Spiral Vortex:

  • It’s a container, so it can’t be banished (it is sealed instead);
  • Reusable, it collects and stores all previous structures;
  • Resonance can produce waves of exteriorized magickal power, but only at the chosen time;
  • Can be used to contain and intensify a cone or a pyramid of power;
  • Establishes an alternative internalized temple based reality.

How one causes resonance to make the power of a vortex achieve a climax is nearly the same as it is done for either a cone or pyramid of power. The magician uses an iterative process, such as dance, or an exteriorizing spiral, chanting words of power or some other mechanism, and then repeats that process over and over again at greater frequency and power, until a climax is achieved. However, what is produced by this climax is quite different. Resonating the power contained in a vortex until it produces a climax releases the power in waves instead of a bolt. It produces waves of effective energy that emanate from the source (in the center) and radiate out in all directions, effectively surrounding and subtly impacting the target, causing it to irreversibly change over time. 

Looking at the above descriptive characteristics, it would seem that a vortex is like the feminine sexual orgasmic cycle. An energy climax produces waves of affecting energy as opposed to a single exteriorization. The feminine orgasm has been described in a similar manner.

Method of generation: Establish polarities to the Four Watchtowers or Four Angles (one can use the Rose Ankh device for this purpose, as well as other devices). Draw the four points together into the center of the circle at the point of the nadir or infra-point (use the sword, start in North and go widdershins), then perform a widdershins circumambulation of the circle, starting from the outer periphery and ending up in the center of the circle. To release the power stored in a vortex, one would circumambulate from the center of the circle to the outer periphery, moving in a deosil direction, which is the opposite to “winding the power” by moving widdershins.

Why is a Vortex useful in the practice of ritual magick, what is it’s purpose?

The spiral vortex represents the feminine symbolic magickal power, and it is an analogy for the female erotic cycle. The vortex has the essential qualities of being magnetic (it draws things to it) and enfolding, so these qualities seem very much to represent the sexuality inherent in the feminine.

Polarity is not as important to this ritual structure as is fusion and assimilation, although it sends out a subtle but powerful attracting magnetic force. Analogously speaking, what attracts a women to a man is the fascination of  intimately possessing and enfolding him, and she entices him in an erotic cycle of stimulus, and then powerfully draws him into her, where she experiences the fusion of the union of herself and him as one. Thus the underlying theme of the vortex is union. Yet the vortex uses the polarized quarters of the magick circle as an anchor, and these are drawn together into fusion in the center of the circle.

In the female erotic cycle, there is the added metaphysical qualities of the masculine within the feminine, and the feminine within the masculine, producing a potential for union on at least two different levels within the woman and the man. The man may dominate the woman outwardly, but she dominates him from within, and this mutual dominance produces the powerful bond of union and its aftermath, which is procreation. The place where the powers converge are within the woman’s womb, and this is considered the sacred container or well of life, where the creative powers are focused.

The feminine power of a vortex spirals around the circle in a widdershins direction, fusing into union in the center and moving downwards into a subterranean singularity. The vortex holds the power within itself, just as woman harnesses the power of a man’s erect penis. As the stimulus of this sexual union achieves a climactic crescendo, the focus of the power is pulled ever deeper into the singularity, while waves of ecstatic force emanate outwards, like the ripples produced by a pebble dropped into a pond or the tsunami produced by oceanic earthquakes. If this were an example of sex magick, then one could say that the emanating waves would penetrate the target of the magick, gently pervading it at reoccurring harmonic intervals, causing it to change through subtle but powerfully radiating emanations. This is exactly what occurs when a vortex is used.

A vortex is both a container of magickal effects as well as a mechanism to target and alter physical reality. The vortex can be simple or complex in its structure, since by its nature it contains all that is generated within it, having assimilated and emulated them perfectly within the ground of union. A vortex can even contain a cone or pyramid of power, where through mutual stimulation and climax, both mechanisms of empowerment achieve the highest level possible.

Vortex of the Mysteries

As stated above, the vortex is an inviolable container for all that is generated within it, and that it creates what could be described as a completely separate reality, a world within a world. The ritual structure of the vortex is based on a cross-roads platform (drawing the four quarters or angles together). Such an energy structure in ritual magick forms an internal domain that bends and mutates reality so that it conforms to the world view of an allegorical and even mythic reality.

How this occurs is first determined by what and how the four quarters or angles that make up its outer periphery are qualified. Devices (other than the Rose Ankh), Formula letters, words and concepts are declared at each of the four points, and also again in the center where they converge. These concepts become the seeds that help to forge the single point of meaning that a vortex produces. The spiral motion of a vortex is counter clockwise and down to the center of the circle, where it produces a kind of energy “singularity,” which is the resolution of four ideals set at the periphery into the one thing - the core of the mystery. That one thing, which functions as the core, is also considered the Source or essence, the mysterious paradox that is behind all meaning. From the one thing, it is only possible to ascend upwards and outwards, radiating, permeating and seeding the one paradoxical thought into the many. This should demonstrate how the vortex works and how it is able to produce such powerful phenomena in the material world. The impact of a vortex that is brought to a climax and released is great, but while it is fully established, it continues to process everything that is erected within it to derive that one singular ideal, which is the core of the mystery.

A vortex is therefore considered to be an active and dynamic power structure that is comparable to a hidden temple of the mysteries, since it reduces everything down to a paradoxical single ideal. So it holds within itself a powerful mystery - in fact, the Mystery. This is likely a difficult concept to conceptualize, so I invite others to experiment with the vortex and discover its special qualities for themselves.

If an empowered ritual structure of a vortex is joined with an underworld gateway and the gateway of ascent (the double gateway of initiation), then a true temple of the mysteries is established. This is true since the double gateway is synonymous with the cycle of transformative initiation, and the vortex is the resolution and source of the mystery, the very place where the supreme ordeal occurs, which is always some variation of the fusion of light and darkness, life and death. The double gateway produces an emblem of the hexagram, and joined with the divine tetrad of the mysteries, become the ten emanations of Godhead into the manifestation of all spiritualized creation.

Let us ponder this deep and insightful revelation about the simple ritual construct of the vortex, and return to it when we discuss the origin and expression of the mysteries as they are perceived in the practice of ritual magick as found in neopaganism and witchcraft.

Frater Barrabbas


  1. Excellent post. Light years beyond most everything that is written about raising power and using it.

    Did you ever read something that made you feel a bit dense? Well I just had that experience. It's ok though, I see it as helping me to overcome my ego via the virtue of humility.

  2. @Christopher - It's less difficult to understand if you actually experiment with it, and more fun, too.

  3. More often than not that is the case isn't it? On paper something looks tremendously complex, but in practice it's simpler than it looks.

    I'm going to be experimenting with it soon. Let the fun begin.