Wednesday, July 5, 2006

COMSELH AOIVEAE ("Circle of Stars"): An Enochian Microcosmic Ritual

This ritual grew out of a desire to begin a series of Enochian rites with our magical working group, Comselh Ananael. I had a pentagram ritual called the AOIVEAE based on the Golden Dawn Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and Aleister Crowley's Star Ruby, but as we discussed various ideas related to an Enochian pentagram ritual it became clear that a better ritual might be constructed by moving away from the pentagram as a universal symbol of microcosmic magick. Particularly, the same article that influenced the design of our revised Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, Michael Sandborn's The Unicursal Hexagram as Hyperbola, suggested the use of the Unicursal Hexagram as the ideal glyph for working with the Operant Field Model. The ritual evolved from there, as a Unicursal Hexagram ritual rather than a pentagram ritual. However, it essentially performs a similar function to the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram - aligning and increasing the coherence of the magician's interior world.

In The Book of Thoth Crowley relates the Unicursal Hexagram to the elements rather than to the planets. This is also how the figure is shown in the Golden Dawn essay on lineal figures that is included in Regardie's The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. When dealing with elemental pentagrams it is not the case in the Golden Dawn system that deosil invokes and widdershins banishes - tracing deosil invokes Fire and Water and tracing widdershins invokes Earth and Air - but the rule always holds with planetary hexagrams. This supports the notion that the Unicursal Hexagram is more elemental than planetary.

The bottom point of the Unicursal Hexagram represents Passive Spirit, while the top point represents Active Spirit. The four side points then represent the classical elements. As Sandborn comments, the rose at the center represents the point of balance and in reference to the 0=2 formula the dynamic ground from which creation emerges. The figure thus may be visualized as a three-dimensional form with the center receding from the viewer. The 0=2 formula describes how the universe comes into existence, from the unity of pure nothingness (potential) to the separate polarities of substance (actual).

The Enochian System of Magick was explored by John Dee and Edward Kelley in hopes of discovering the building blocks of the universe. The Angels they contacted responded by giving them instructions for the building of a "Great Table" - a fourfold table of letters that supposedly represents the spiritual "wire frame" upon which the structure of the universe is created. This table consists of four square quadrants, and a "black cross" representing unity that binds the four parts of the table together. If the Unicursal Hexgram is mapped onto Dee and Kelly's Great Table, The side points of the hexagram represent the four quadrants and the rose, top, and bottom points represent the black cross, also called the Tablet of Union.

This is not to imply that the quadrants of the Great Table necessarily correspond to the elements. Elemental spirits are represented on the Table, but the Golden Dawn practice of assigning elements to the four quadrants does not correspond to what Dee and Kelley were told, even if it seems on the surface to be a logical assumption. The Kings who rule over each quadrant are attributed not the elements but to the four directions, meaning that they correspond to spatial orientation rather than states of matter.

Incidentally, this has been one of my major contentions with the Golden Dawn system of Enochian magick. Attributing the elements to the four directions is not necessarily unreasonable, but working as though the elemental rather than the directional attribution is primary flies in the face of the original material. The Golden Dawn system uses two elemental arrangements, the "winds" model for microcosmic work (Air = East, Fire = South, Water = West, and Earth = North) and the Zodiacal model for macrocosmic work (Fire = Aries = East, Earth = Capricorn = South, Air = Libra = West, and Water = Cancer = North). This schema works well for practical magick and is for the most part sound. The quality of the winds is based upon earthly phenomena, and the Zodiacal model is based on the arrangement of the heavens.

The problem is that the founders of the Golden Dawn assigned the elements to the Enochian tablets based on the directions from the "winds" model. BATAIVAH, for example, is the King of the East in the original material, so he therefore became the King of Air. This is fine so far - for microcosmic work. In macrocosmic operations, however, BATAIVAH's tablet is moved to the west because he is the King of Air and Air goes in the west according to the Zodiac arrangement. For the Golden Dawn directional arrangements to harmonize with the original material, the elemental attribution should change because the direction should be primary. Therefore, for macrocosmic operations, BATAIVAH should become the King of Fire and his tablet should remain in the east.

In order to keep the symbolism of spatial orientation distinct from that of the elements, the Unicursal Hexagram is traced toward the center point to banish and away from the center point to invoke the quadrant that corresponds to a direction in this microcosmic ritual. In the corresponding macrocosmic ritual, COMSELH MADRIAX, the same figure is used but is traced between the elemental points and the top and bottom. Resonance is vital to working operant magick because the microcosmic and macrocosmic rituals must harmonize so that a magical field will open. In the case of the COMSELH AOIVEAE and COMSELH MADRIAX rituals this resonance is accomplished by using the same lineal figure for both rites, unlike in the Golden Dawn system where the microcosmic ritual (Lesser Pentagram) uses the pentagram of Earth (as an amalgam of all four elements) and the microcosmic ritual (Lesser Hexagram) uses the hexagrams of the elements which resonate on a symbolic rather than a geometric level.

Part I: The Tablet of Union

This version of the ritual is still based on the original AOIVEAE and borrows some key sections from that rite. In particular, the pentagram still makes an appearance in the opening and concluding sections. This is done to energize the body of the magician with the energies of the Black Cross or Tablet of Union. The ritual begins with the tracing of the Pentagram of Active Spirit over the body of the magician as the Angelic names of the five elements are intoned. On the Tablet of the Watchtowers, the element names form the central cross, which is called the Tablet of Union. The Tablet of Union can also be drawn as a grid of letters, like so:

E X A R P
H C O M A
N A N T A
B I T O M

In the Angelic language, EXARP (EX-arp) is the name for elemental air, HCOMA (HCO-mah) is the name for elemental water, NANTA (NAHN-tah) is the name for elemental earth, and BITOM (BEE-tohm) is the name for elemental fire. EHNB (EH-nub), the word formed by taking the first letter of each of the other four elements, is the name for Spirit, the fifth element that binds the other four together.

  1. Face the east. If you are working in an Enochian temple with the Holy Table in the center, stand to the west of the Table so that you are looking across it to the east, since you always face the Table when it is present in the temple. Trace from your left hip to your right shoulder, visualizing a green line connecting those two points. Intone NANTA (Earth).
  2. Trace from your right shoulder to your left shoulder, visualizing a blue line connecting those two points. Intone HCOMA (Water).
  3. Trace from your left shoulder to your right hip, visualizing a yellow line connecting those two points. Intone EXARP (Air).
  4. Trace from your right hip to the center of your forehead, visualizing a red line connecting those two points. Intone BITOM (Fire).
  5. Trace from the center of your forehead to your left hip, visualizing a shimmering bright electric violet light connecting those two points and completing the pentagram. Intone EHNB (Spirit).
  6. Clasp your hands over your heart and intone either IAD (ee-AHD - God) or the name of your Holy Guardian Angel if it is known to you. Regardless, you will want to use IAD in any public ritual so that you will not reveal the name of your Holy Guardian Angel to onlookers.
This charges the body of the magician with the active magical energy of the five elements.

Part II. The Unicursal Hexagrams

At this point the structure of the ritual diverges from the original AOIVEAE. In the original ritual, pentagrams corresponding to the four elements were traced to the four directions as the name of the corresponding King was vibrated. Most Enochian pentagram rituals involve vibrating the names of the Kings to the four directions. Gerald Schueler published a pentagram ritual of this sort which may have been the first publication of the form. However, in comparing the Kings to the godnames used in the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram it is apparent that the Kings are more personified and specific, whereas the godnames from the LRP represent more general principles.

The new version of the ritual takes a hint from Dee's conjurations. These conjurations summon angels from all four directions beginning in the east. This full circle represents a complete creation, and is necessary in order to produce effects. Therefore, the four words of power corresponding to the directions should represent the process of creation itself. Furthermore, since the Angelic language is spoken of in the original material as the language of creation, every word of the language is effectively a word of power that reflects the essence of its definition. The words used reflect the descent of the lightning flash along the middle pillar of the Tree of Life, beginning in the east and ending in the north. They are as follows:
  • East: MADRIAX - The Heavens. This represents the three supernal spheres.
  • South: ROR - The Sun. This represents Tiphareth.
  • West: GRAA - The Moon. This represents Yesod.
  • North: CAOSGO - The Earth. This represents Malkuth.
The Unicursal Hexagrams that are used correspond to the directions represented by the subquadrants of the Great Table according to the associations found in Dee's conjurations. They are traced toward the central point to banish and toward the point related to the direction to invoke. The directions are attributed here along the same lines as the quadrants of the Great Table.
  • Upper Left: East
  • Upper Right: South
  • Lower Right: West
  • Lower Left: North
The colors are those given for the "cloths" seen by Kelly in his initial vision of the Enochian universe. Kelly had a second vision, the "round house" vision, in which the colors are slightly different but in one of our magical operations we were told that the first vision was the most accurate as far as the colors of the directions are concerned.
  1. In the east, trace the Unicursal Hexagram of the East in red and vibrate MADRIAX (MAH-dree-ahx).
  2. Turn to the south. In the south, trace the Unicursal Hexagram of the South in white and vibrate ROR (ROHR).
  3. Turn to the west. In the west, trace the Unicursal Hexagram of the West in green and vibrate GRAA (GRAH-ah).
  4. Turn to the north. In the north, trace the Unicursal Hexagram of the North in black and vibrate CAOSGO (kah-OHS-goh).
  5. Turn back to the east, completing the circle. Pause for a moment and hold the visualization of all four hexagrams surrounding the temple.
Part III: The Names of God

The next portion of the ritual aligns the magician with the twelve Names of God. There are three names for each of the four quadrants, and they are taken from the horizontal line that divides each quadrant in half. These Names of God are attributed to the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The magician first places each group of names in the appropriate direction by intoning several short phrases in the Angelic language. This alludes to the arrangement of an Enochian temple according to the Dee material. Each of the twelve names was to be written on a banner, and these banners were to be placed along the edges of the magical circle. The directions used here are taken from the 1587 reformed version of the Great Table.
  1. Extend your arms in the form of a cross and intone the following:

    RAAS I ORO IBAH AOZPI (RA-as I O-ro i-BAH a-o-ZOD-pi - "In the east is ORO IBAH AOZPI"),
    SOBOLN I OIP TEAA PDOCE (SO-boln I o-IP te-a-A pdo-KE - "in the west is OIP TEAA PDOCE"),
    BABAGE I MPH ARSL GAIOL (ba-ba-GE I MEH-peh ar-SAL ga-i-OL - "in the south is MPH ARSL GAIOL"),
    LUCAL I MOR DIAL HCTGA (LU-kal I MOR di-AL hek-TGA - "in the north is MOR DIAL HCTGA").

  2. You then make a widdershins rotation to balance the initial deosil rotation of tracing the hexagrams. The first circle may be thought of as representing the Lightning Flash, while this final section may be though of as representing the Serpent of Wisdom and concludes with you arising as "the all-powerful" who has unified the energies of Heaven and Earth. Arms still outstretched, make one widdershins rotation while intoning:

    MICMA AO COMSELH AOIVEAE (MEEK-mah AH-oh KOHM-seh-lah ah-oh-ee-VEH-ah-eh - "Behold, the circle of stars")

  3. Once the rotation is complete and you are facing east again, clasp your hands over your heart and intone:

    OD OL IAIDON NOTHOA (OHD OHL ee-AH-ee-dohn NOT-ho-ah - "And I, the all-powerful, in the midst").
IV. Conclusion

If this ritual is being performed in conjunction with any other magical working, this step is deferred until the conclusion of that rite. That is, unlike the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram this ritual is not repeated at the end of the working that it opens. Instead, sections I-III are followed by whatever additional ritual work is being performed. Once the additional work is concluded, the temple is closed with the following section. Unlike the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, the ritual is not repeated at the end of the operation, but simply closed.

The conclusion is complementary to the first section - rather than the Pentagram Active Spirit, the magician traces the Pentagram of Passive Spirit and the final line is visualized in deep purple rather than bright violet. Otherwise the intonations and visualizations are the same.
  1. Trace from your right hip to your left shoulder, visualizing a green line connecting those two points. Intone NANTA.
  2. Trace from your left shoulder to your right shoulder, visualizing a blue line connecting those two points. Intone HCOMA.
  3. Trace from your right shoulder to your left hip, visualizing a yellow line connecting those two points. Intone EXARP.
  4. Trace from your left hip to the center of your forehead, visualizing a red line connecting those two points. Intone BITOM.
  5. Trace from the center of your forehead to your right hip, visualizing a deep purple light connecting those two points and completing the pentagram. Intone EHNB.
  6. Clasp your hands over your heart and intone either IAD or the name of your Holy Guardian Angel if it is known to you. As in the opening, you will want to use IAD in any public ritual so that you will not reveal the name of your Holy Guardian Angel to onlookers.
At this point the magician formally declares the temple closed if this ritual was used to encapsulate a larger working. Otherwise, the rite is at an end.

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