Thursday, June 15, 2006

Comselh Ananael Ritual Template Part II: The Watchtower Invocation

This posting covers the Watchtower Invocation, which is involved enough to merit its own article. It is step VII of the ritual template, but it can also be performed on its own as an invocation of the four classical elements plus spirit. It is based on Israel Regardie's "Opening by Watchtower" and can be performed using either Hebrew or Angelic (Enochian) words of power for the elements, and both versions are shown here. Our version of the ritual uses the zodiacal directions - Fire in the east, Earth in the south, Air in the west, and Water in the north. Regardie uses the "winds" model of the directions in his version - Air in the east, Fire in the south, Water in the west, and Earth in the north. The zodiacal model corresponds to the macrocosmic universe and fits much better with the Y-H-V-H order of elemental invocations. Try it and see - the difference is remarkable.

VII. The Watchtower Invocation

Officiant goes to the east, takes the fire wand, and makes the supernal triangle facing east. He or she then holds the wand above head level and circumambulates once clockwise. All participants rotate accordingly, visualizing a wall of fiery red light surrounding the temple. Attention should be directed across the altar.

Officiant: And when, after all the phantoms have vanished, thou shalt see that holy and formless Fire, that Fire which darts and flashes through the hidden depths of the Universe! Hear thou the Voice of Fire!

Officiant completes the circumambulation and then traces the Invoking Pentagram of Active Spirit in bright violet to the east with the fire wand.

Officiant: EHEIEH! (Hebrew) or EHNB! (Angelic)

Officiant then traces the Invoking Pentagram of Fire in red to the east with the fire wand.

Officiant: ELOHIM! (Hebrew) or BITOM! (Angelic)

The fire wand is then returned to the altar. Officiant goes to the north, takes the water cup, and makes the supernal triangle facing north. He or she then holds the cup above head level and circumambulates once clockwise. All participants rotate accordingly, visualizing a wall of watery blue light surrounding the temple just inside the wall of red light. Attention should be directed across the altar.

Officiant: So therefore first, the priest who governeth the works of Fire must sprinkle with the lustral Water of the loud and resounding sea!

Officiant completes the circumambulation and then traces the Invoking Pentagram of Passive Spirit in deep purple to the north with the water cup.

Officiant: AGLA! (Hebrew) or EHNB! (Angelic)

Officiant then traces the Invoking Pentagram of Water in blue to the north with the water cup.

Officiant: AL! (Hebrew) or HCOMA! (Angelic)

The water cup is then returned to the altar. Officiant goes to the west, takes the air dagger, and makes the supernal triangle facing west. He or she then holds the dagger above head level and circumambulates once clockwise. All participants rotate accordingly, visualizing a wall of airy yellow light surrounding the temple just inside the wall of blue light. Attention should be directed across the altar.

Officiant: Such a Fire existeth, extending through the rushing of Air. Or even a Fire formless, whence cometh the image of a voice. Or even a flashing light, abounding, revolving, whirling forth, crying aloud!

Officiant completes the circumambulation and then traces the Invoking Pentagram of Active Spirit in bright violet to the west with the air dagger.

Officiant: EHEIEH! (Hebrew) or EHNB! (Angelic)

Officiant then traces the Invoking Pentagram of Air in yellow to the west with the air dagger.

Officiant: YHVH! (Hebrew) or EXARP! (Angelic)

The air dagger is then returned to the altar. Officiant goes to the south, takes the earth pentacle, and makes the supernal triangle facing south. He or she then holds the pantacle above head level and circumambulates once clockwise. All participants rotate accordingly, visualizing a wall of earthy green light surrounding the temple just inside the wall of yellow light. Attention should be directed across the altar.

Officiant: This Fire descendeth into that darkly splendid world, wherein continually ariseth Nature, delighting in myriad forms - precipitous, nurturing, winding, and welcoming, ever revealing a body infused with the light of the Spirit.

Officiant completes the circumambulation and then traces the Invoking Pentagram of Passive Spirit in dark purple to the south with the earth pantacle.

Officiant: AGLA! (Hebrew) or EHNB! (Angelic)

Officiant then traces the Invoking Pentagram of Earth in green to the south with the earth pentacle.

Officiant: ADONAI! (Hebrew) or NANTA! (Angelic)

The earth pentacle is then returned to the altar. Officiant circumambulates clockwise back to the west of the altar and faces east. All participants rotate accordingly. He or she then takes the invoking wand and traces the Invoking Pentagram of Active Spirit in bright violet above the altar.

Officiant: EHEIEH (Hebrew) or MADRIAX! (Angelic)

Officiant then sweeps the wand straight down and traces the Invoking Pentagram of Passive Spirit below the altar.

Officiant: AGLA! (Hebrew) or CAOSGO! (Angelic)

Officiant sets down the invoking wand. All make and hold the Sign of Apophis and Typhon.

All: Thee we invoke, who art universe.
Thee we invoke, who art in nature formed.
Thee we invoke, the vast and the mighty.
Source of darkness, source of light.

All make the Sign of Silence. The four walls of light now are visualized melting together into grayish light and forming into a cube that surrounds the temple. Pentagrams in the appropriate colors appear on all six faces - red in the east, blue in the north, yellow in the west, green in the south, bright violet above, and dark purple below. There is a short pause to allow for more detail. Officiant then moves to the northeast with all participants rotating appropriately.

Officiant: The visible Sun is the dispenser of light unto the Earth. Let us therefore form a vortex in this chamber that the invisible Sun of Spirit may shine herein.

All circumambulate three and a half times, making the Sign of the Enterer when passing the east. All should focus on the center of the Table and visualize the entire Temple rising on the planes to the level of Tiphareth, one sphere per Enterer, during which the elemental cube melts into a sphere of golden light. At the conclusion of this all arrive back at their original positions.

Officiant: Peh Resh Kaph Tau. The word is PAROKETH, which is the veil of the sanctuary. In and by that word (makes the Sign of Rending the Veil), I open the veil.

All make the Sign of the Enterer directed at the center of the altar.

All: ABRAHADABRA!

All then make the Sign of Osiris Risen.

Commentary on the ritual follows.

The Opening by Watchtower is often considered an Enochian ritual, but it is primarily a Golden Dawn/Qabalistic ritual even if the Angelic words are used for the elements. It still refers to the Veil of Paroketh, which is not part of the Enochian system, and uses the basic Golden Dawn structure rather than anything from Dee and Kelly's material. This is not a bad thing - the Opening by Watchtower is a nice synthesis of Qabalistic and Enochian concepts and has a good track record among practicing ritualists.

Most books that publish Regardie's ritual do not include visualizations nearly as intricate as the ones described here. I believe that involved visualizations were once part of the European magical tradition, but the teaching lineages were broken so many times by both Church and State persecution that he only surviving remants in the Nineteenth Century were the written texts, many of which were fraudulent (such as the "Faustian" grimoires that emphasized the necessity of a pact with the Devil and mysteriously appeared in the decades following the remarkably similar story of Faust). According to this theory, the visualizations and other basic magical techniques were taught as oral tradition with the written grimoire containing the texts and names of spirits that were too important to be committed to memory.

What I have attempted to do here is fill in a series of visualizations that are intended to augment the basic ritual text. It is important to understand that these visualizations need not be perfect for you to use the rite, and in fact the use of the ritual is the best way to learn them. It will work even if your visualizations are not very good - Regardie himself published the base text without them and they have been used that way to good effect for many years. We have found that the visualizations make the ritual even more effective, and when they are done well by a group of people the results are remarkable. Learn them a little at a time and fill in details as you can hold them in your mind, and not only will your rituals work better but your ability to visualize will rapidly improve.

The elemental weapons are placed in the zodiacal position, usually on an altar in the center of the ritual space though you could place a small altar for each element at the appropriate quarter just large enough to hold the tool. The supernal triangle alludes to the three spheres at the top of the Tree of Life and is traced by imagining the Tree in front of you and tapping Kether, then Chockmah, and then Binah. The weapon is held above the Officiant's head as he or she circumabulates, and the wall of color should follow the tip of the weapon.

EHNB is Angelic for Spirit and is used for both Active and Passive Spirit, whereas in Hebrew different Spirit names are used for the active and passive elements.

The fourth line, for Earth, "This fire descendeth into that darkly splendid world..." has been rewritten from Regardie's version. The original ritual had "Stoop not down into that darkly splendid world, wherein continually lieth a faithless depth, and Hades wrapped in gloom, delighting in unintelligible images, precipitous, winding, a black ever-rolling abyss, ever espousing a body unluminous, formless, and void" and we decided that this statement was far too negative toward the element of Earth and seemed unbalanced from the others. The dichotomy stating that Spirit is good and Matter is evil has corrupted spirituality in Europe and America for far too long.

The Hebrew words used at the altar are Eheieh (Active Spirit) above and Agla (Passive Spirit) below. The Angelic words are MADRIAX ("The Heavens") and CAOSGO ("The Earth"). These words are used because Angelic has only one name for Spirit, EHNB.

"Thee we invoke, who art Universe..." is adapted from the liturgy of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn. The original line,

Holy art Thou, Lord of the Universe
Holy art Thou whom nature hath not formed,
Holy art Thou, the vast and mighty One!
Lord of the light and of the darkness.

is much more supplicating, and the version used here invokes the divine directly instead. It also has been rephrased to eliminate the separateness between nature and spirit.

The Veil of Paroketh is the veil that separates the sphere of Tiphareth from the elemental world. The Officiant opens the veil, and then with the Sign of the Enterer the members of the group pass through it, like stepping through a curtain. ABRAHADABRA is Crowley's Word of the Aeon corresponding to the grade of Adeptus Minor and therefore Tiphareth, and is vibrated to communicate arrival at the sphere. The Sign of Osiris Risen also corresponds to Tiphareth.

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