Monday, March 28, 2011

Planetary Magick

This article is a rough transcript of the presentation I gave this last weekend at Paganicon 2011. My presentation was somewhat lightly attended, but unfortunately I wound up scheduled against the guest of honor, John Michael Greer, who is a lot more famous than I am. For those who missed the presentation but are nonetheless interested in the topic, here you go.

Planetary magick has long been a substantial component of the Western Mystery Tradition. While in modern Paganism elemental magick seems to predominate, a look through the grimoires of the Renaissance demonstrates that the seven ancient planets and seven days of the week were at that time a more common symbol set for evoking spirits and casting spells, while the elements were more often seen as part of the alchemical tradition. The planetary symbol set is thus highly suitable for advanced magical and mystical operations.

The next two sections of the presentation, Microcosm and Macrocosm and The Operant Field, summarize the information that I already have posted here and here. The presentation continues with a more detailed description of the changes that are made in the ritual forms when shifting from a microcosmic to a macrocosmic perspective.

Macrocosmic Elements: Because the elemental system primarily represents the psyche of the magician, the LIRH also works with the elements. This is necessary because it is into the magician’s field of consciousness that macrocosmic forces must be invoked, and those forces must harmonize with the components of the magician’s personality in order to be accessible to his or her mind and will. However, in order to call in the macrocosmic aspects of the elements two changes are made.

The first change is the direction from which each element is called. The microcosmic elemental arrangement is called the Winds model, so named because it was inspired by the perceived qualities of the winds that blew from the four directions. This is the model with which most witches and Neo-Pagans are familiar – Air in the east, Fire in the south, Water in the west, and Earth in the north. The macrocosmic arrangement, however, is called the Tropical model and is based on attributing the cardinal signs of the Zodiac to the directions. In this arrangement Fire is in the east, Earth in the south, Air in the west, and Water in the north. This is arrangement used by the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. The second change is to use elemental hexagrams rather than elemental pentagrams. The use of the hexagram here further aligns the forces conjured by the ritual with the macrocosmic realm symbolized by the hexagram.

It is also possible to open the equivalent of an Operant Field using more generic Neo-Pagan ritual forms. The casting of the circle would be unchanged, but the Calling of the Quarters should use the Tropical directions and the invoking elemental hexagrams rather than elemental pentagrams. This will probably seem odd the first time you try it, but since it works in the same way as the LIRH the increase in effective magical power should become immediately apparent.

Godhead Assumption: Once the Operant Field is established the next step is to invoke the Godhead – that is, some form of divinity. This step differs a great deal from magician to magician and is deliberately left very open to the will of the particular practitioner. The divinity invoked could be a patron deity, the God and/or Goddess of Neo-Paganism, or even the dynamic ground of creation itself. The goal is to externalize the seeds of divinity that lie within all spiritual practitioners so that they may connect with and/or influence the macrocosmic realm through the medium of planetary forces. Particular standardized methods that I have used in my own work include variations on Israel Regardie’s Middle Pillar Ritual and Aleister Crowley’s Elevenfold Seal from Liber V vel Reguli.

Planetary Attributions: The magical powers attributed to the planets can be found in the “Magical Powers [Western Mysticism]” column of Aleister Crowley’s Liber 777. These powers are based on the Golden Dawn version of the Tree of Life. Each planet has both a mystical and a magical side, the mystical side being represented by the Qabalistic sphere associated with the planet and the magical side being represented by the corresponding Path. Because of this dual nature, planetary magick can be used to produce both practical effects and mystical illumination.

As you can see here, from a mystical standpoint the various visions corresponding to the planets reach much of the way up the Tree of Life and from a magical standpoint the planetary powers encompass most of what people want to do when they get into magick – love spells, healing spells, wealth spells, and even curses. From my own experience fielding questions on magick from readers of my blog, I can tell you that I rarely am asked how to do anything outside of those four areas.

Planetary Days and Hours: The best time to perform a planetary operation is during the day and in the hour attributed to the planet. The planetary days follow the conventional scheme:

Sunday – Sun
Monday – Moon
Tuesday – Mars
Wednesday – Mercury
Thursday – Jupiter
Friday – Venus
Saturday – Saturn

Figuring the planetary hour is more complicated. I normally use an excellent application called ChronosXP that is available as a free download online, but you should also know how to figure it out by hand.

First you need to know the times for sunrise and sunset for the day on which the ritual will take place. The hours of the day begin with the day of the planet at sunrise and the hours of the night begin at sunset and run until the following sunrise. To find the length of each hour of the day, divide the total number of minutes between sunrise and sunset by 12. To find the length of each hour of the night, divide the total number of minutes between sunset and sunrise by 12. Therefore, the day and night hours will be of differing lengths depending upon the time of the year. The only two days of the year on which they will be of equal length are the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes.

Once you have the length of each hour calculated you next will need to assign a planet to each hour. This is accomplished by starting with the planet ruling the day for the first hour of the day and then assigning additional planets according to a pattern called the Chaldean Order. This is the order of apparent astrological motion in the sky and corresponds to the most common arrangements of planets on the Tree of Life, moving down the Tree.

Saturn --> Jupiter --> Mars --> Sun --> Venus --> Mercury --> Moon

Whenever you reach the end of the pattern with the Moon it cycles back to Saturn. So on a Sunday the hours would look like this:

Day Hours: 1st – Sun, 2nd – Venus, 3rd – Mercury, 4th – Moon, 5th – Saturn, 6th – Jupiter, 7th – Mars, 8th – Sun, 9th – Venus, 10th – Mercury, 11th – Moon, 12th – Saturn.

Night Hours: 1st – Jupiter, 2nd – Mars, 3rd – Sun, 4th – Venus, 5th – Mercury, 6th – Moon, 7th – Saturn, 8th – Jupiter, 9th – Mars, 10th – Sun, 11th – Venus, 12th - Mercury

Renaissance magicians believed that while the planetary day was auspicious the hour was even more so. Given a choice between performing a ritual on the appropriate day and during the appropriate hour on a different day the traditional choice would be the hour, though it was considered best to strive for both. In my experience the use of the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for planetary workings ameliorates this requirement, especially when working with the operant field framework. The Greater Hexagram ritual allows you to tune your magical space to a particular planet at will rather than waiting for its day and hour to arise naturally, though it should be added that using these forms in addition to the days and hours rather than instead of them tends to produce the best results.

The Greater Ritual of the Hexagram: Following the Godhead Assumption, the next step of any Golden Dawn style planetary ritual is to perform the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram corresponding to the planet with which you are working. In the Golden Dawn context, Lesser rituals are general rites used to set up the basic magical field and Greater rituals are specific rites calling upon particular magical forces.

To perform the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram you start in the east and trace the hexagram of the planet in the appropriate color while vibrating the word of power ARARITA. You then trace the standard astrological symbol for the planet in the center of the hexagram in the color complimentary to that of the hexagram as you vibrate the godname corresponding to the planet. The names shown here are the Qabalistic godnames corresponding to the planetary spheres on the Tree of Life.

You then move clockwise, repeating these actions to the other three directions, and then finally return to face the east. Note that while the color changes depending on whether you are working with a planetary sphere or path the godname remains the same. You then return the to east and make the declaration “Let the divine light descend!” as you visualize light of the sphere or path color descending from above and filling the temple space.

The hexagrams of the planets are obtained by mapping the figure of the hexagram onto the Tree of Life and tracing from the corresponding sphere point, clockwise to invoke and counter-clockwise to banish. The two special cases are Saturn, which is traced from the top point even though Binah, the sphere of Saturn, is actually located on the left-side pillar, and the Sun, which is constructed by tracing all six of the other hexagrams in order down the Tree starting with Saturn because the standard hexagram has no center point.

Angels, Intelligences, and Spirits: Following the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram you then perform the conjuration of the appropriate spiritual entity. Planets are associated with Angels, Intelligences, and Spirits. The names of these entities can be found in Henry Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy and are probably substantially older than even that source.

Francis Barrett’s The Magus is mostly a reworking of Agrippa that was done at the end of the Eighteenth Century. In this work, Barrett explains that you should use the Intelligence or a planet for good and the Spirit of a planet for evil. I had thought originally that this idea started with Barrett, but Agrippa does in fact include a similar though less pejorative statement. What I've found in working with these entities is that this classification is in error, perhaps reflecting a bias against practical magick. The real difference between Intelligences and Spirits is functional.

The Intelligence is conjured in order to interact with the state of consciousness associated with the planet, either for meditation or divination. When taking a mystical approach to working with a particular planet, it is the Intelligence that you will want to summon. The Spirit of a planet is used for accomplishing practical ends. When taking a magical approach to working with a planet it is the Spirit that you should be summoning. Keep in mind, though, that for such operations it is necessary to summon the Intelligence first because the Intelligence directs the action of the Spirit. A Spirit summoned on its own is more like a blind force that can prove difficult to control by magical means. This force is not likely to turn into a poltergeist and wreck your house or anything like that, but the operation that summoned it will probably be wasted.

The planetary Angels incorporate the qualities of both the Intelligence and the Spirit but are more general in their function. They are appropriate for rituals that would otherwise call for activity from both the Intelligence and Spirit, such as a ritual in which you need to find out some unknown piece of information and then perform a particular action based on it, or for a mystical operation in which you seek to somehow integrate the totality of a planet’s nature.

This table shows the planetary Angels, Intelligences, and Spirits:

Specific sigils are associated with the Intelligences and Spirits. Also, there is a particular character related to each planet. The character of the planet represents everything related to its sphere of influence, encompassing the Angel, Intelligence, and Spirit. The character of the appropriate planet should be placed upon the altar for any planetary operation. The sigil of the Spirit or Intelligence is then drawn onto another sheet and placed over the sheet depicting the character. The Angel of a planet may be summoned using the character alone and does not require an additional sigil, though there are various methods by which such a sigil could be constructed. The characters and sigils for the planets are as follows:

Since the characters of the planets are used over and over again when working this sort of magick, it is a useful practice to build a set of seven planetary tablets depicting the character and other particulars related to each planet. These can be constructed using appropriate colors and incorporating the various names of power, but should not include the sigils of the Intelligence or Spirit. We constructed our own sets of these years ago when we did our first series of planetary workings and they have served us well ever since.

A simple way to make a tablet for a planet is to take a regular sheet of paper and print or draw onto it a large rendering of the character for the planet in question. The character itself is what’s required, not any particular artistic rendering of it. The reason that the sigils of the Intelligence and Spirit should not be drawn onto the tablet is because these two classes of entities represent specific aspects of the planet’s nature. The character, on the other hand, represents the totality of the planet’s sphere of influence, which is what the tablet should ideally represent. Another option is to use the Tarot cards shown in the first table corresponding to the planets as tablets, so long as you don’t mind their small size relative to a full sheet of paper.

For straightforward evocation, the sigil may be drawn onto a smaller piece of paper and positioned on the tablet so that it is visible to the magician in some fashion. There are many different ways that this can be done, suited to your own particular style of working. The sigil that should be used for this purpose is for the “terminal” entity that you will be summoning. So even though you need to summon the Intelligence in order to control the Spirit you just would want the sigil of the Spirit drawn out if it is to the Spirit that you will be delivering your charge. If you are summoning the Intelligence on its own you would use the sigil of the Intelligence. To summon the Angel you don’t need any sigil besides the character of the planet.

The Conjuration: Conjurations can be found in many forms throughout the Renaissance tradition of grimoire magick, which is the milieu out of which the names and sigils of the Intelligences and Spirits arose. Some magicians delight in conjurations that are both elaborate and poetic, whereas others prefer a simpler and more direct approach. I tend to be of the latter school, and thus the conjurations I use are shorter and more to the point than those of many ceremonialists.

There are two key factors that you need to consider when constructing a basic conjuration. The first is the spiritual hierarchy to which the Angel, Intelligence, or Spirit belongs. According to the framework of Hermetic Qabalah the hierarchy is fourfold, representing the four Qabalistic worlds.

  1. The Godname is attributed to the archetypal world of Atziluth and rules the Angel.
  2. The Angel is attributed to the creative world of Briah and rules the Intelligence.
  3. The Intelligence is attributed to the formative world of Yetzirah and rules the Spirit.
  4. The Spirit is attributed to the material world of Assiah.
In our original planetary ritual series we used four conjurations that navigated the entire hierarchy to get down to the Spirit, but this is not strictly necessary. You should have already tuned your ritual space to the appropriate Godname with the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram, so there’s no need to call upon the Godname again except as a controlling name for summoning the Angel. Conjuring the Intelligence is similar, in that the Angel name is used as a controlling name for the Intelligence but not actually summoned. The Spirit is a special case in that the conjuration must be twofold. First, the Intelligence is summoned by the name of the Angel, and only once this is done is the Spirit summoned by the name of the Intelligence.

The following examples should clarify these instructions. The words in all capitals should be vibrated or intoned to the best of your ability:

The Angel of Jupiter, Sachiel

Oh glorious and mighty SACHIEL, you who command and rule over the intelligences and spirits of TZEDEQ, behold me, and in the name of the same your God, the expansive and merciful EL, attend and appear before me now.

The Intelligence of Jupiter, Jophiel

Oh glorious JOPHIEL, brilliant intelligence of TZEDEQ, behold me, and in the name of SACHIEL attend and appear before me now.

The Spirit of Jupiter, Hismael

Oh glorious JOPHIEL, brilliant intelligence of TZEDEQ, behold me, and in the name of SACHIEL I summon you that I may call upon your spirit HISMAEL to attend and appear before me.

(Pause until the presence of Jophiel is perceived before continuing)

Oh mighty HISMAEL, strong spirit of TZEDEQ, behold me, and in the name of JOPHIEL attend and appear before me now.

Once the conjuration is complete you and any other magicians with whom you are working begin to chant the name of the Angel, Intelligence, or Spirit until the entity is perceived upon the altar, generally above the tablet. Chanting in this manner is not included in any of the old grimoires, but my working group has found it to be a very effective method. Often we have sensed physical cold spots over our tablets that develop along with the chant, and on a number of occasions we have measured tangible electromagnetic fields with an EMF meter during our latest series of operations.

It is important to note that relatively minor physical effects like these are all that you are likely to experience in terms of material phenomena. Several recent authors on grimoire magick, most notably Joseph Lisiewski in Ceremonial Magick and the Power of Evocation claim that unless you get things like poltergeist phenomena in the temple the evocation is a failure and must be abandoned. This idea bears little resemblance to my experience over the years with this style of magick. There have been cases in which I sensed little in the temple besides a vague presence and my charge was accomplished perfectly, and similarly there have been cases in which I sensed a clear physical manifestation and my charge was not accomplished. So far there seems to be little correlation between the phenomena occurring in the temple during an operation and whether or not that operation succeeds, regardless of what traditional grimoire practitioners insist. Success – the accomplishment of your charge – is your proof, parlor tricks are not.

The Charge: Once the entity you are summoning has appeared the next step is to deliver your charge. This simply means the task you want the entity to accomplish, the questions you want it to answer, or the state of consciousness that you want it to induce. These should be stated in a simple, literal, and to the point manner. An important principle to keep in mind is that magick will always follow the path of least macrocosmic resistance. This means that (1) the evoked entity will tend to follow the literal meaning of your statement and (2) that you should never specify a particular means by which your charge must come to pass unless that means is absolutely essential to the function of the spell.

The first point there is likely the origin of old stories about hostile evoked entities twisting the wording of magicians’ charges. In my experience this has little to do with hostility and much more to do with the entity trying to find a way to fulfill the charge within the range of probability that it can influence. If you give the spirit a charge like “bring me a car by this time tomorrow” that’s a very unlikely event, at least if you mean a car that you can drive around and which you will be able to keep. So the spirit might arrange for a thief to abandon a stolen car in front of your house after a joyride, arrange for someone to give you a broken-down car that would need to be repaired, or even arrange for a small child to lose a toy car someplace on your property for you to find. In all these cases the entity brought you a car – just not the sort of car you wanted. So when it comes to defining what you want the spell to do you need to be very specific.

At the same time, the second point means that you should be as deliberately vague as you can be about how you want the spell to come to pass. If you charge the spirit with bringing you a sum of money, for example, you don’t want to specify “by winning the lottery” or “as a gift from so-and-so” because defining the means in that manner makes the outcome much more unlikely. Most people have more ways available to them than they generally consider for money to come into their lives, especially when struggling with finances that seem dire. If you simply charge the spirit to bring you the sum of money all possible paths by which the money could come will be open. Limiting certain particular means may be practical, such as for example adding the caveat that the spirit should not damage your property in such a way that you will get the money through an insurance settlement and have to pay it right back out again, but you want to do this sparingly so that as many paths can be open as possible.

One thing I always avoid in my charges is the dubious notion of “harming none.” As anyone who has ever debated the Wiccan Rede knows this is a very slippery term. Its vague definition can derail an otherwise decent charge very quickly. The problem is this: let’s say that you cast a spell to bring you a sum of money and happen to be invested in a particular stock. One of the ways by which the money could manifest would be for the stock price to rise high enough for you to sell it and make a profit of the amount you want. The trouble is that if you put into the charge something like “causing no harm to anyone else” you’ll be cutting off that pathway. The stock market doesn’t create very much wealth and for the most part just moves it around. Whenever you make money on a stock a substantial portion of it comes at the expense of other investors. Even though most of these are huge institutional funds that can easily absorb such losses, this could still be seen as constituting “harm.” Similarly, let’s say you cast a spell to influence the numbers in a lottery drawing. If you win because of your spell, it likely means that the person who would have won if you hadn’t cast the spell will not. That could still be seen as constituting “harm.”

I prefer more descriptive terms such as “damage” and “injury,” such that my “harm none” phrase would be something more like “without damage to my property or injury to any person.” Also, before you jump to the conclusion that you should add in there something about preventing damage to the property of any other person think through what you’re doing very carefully. All sorts of things can affect the property of others that you do not usually consider. Let’s say that you’ve reduced the price of your house and it’s still not selling, so you do a spell that gets it sold. If the house sells for less than the average appraisal price on your block it means that your neighbors will see their property values drop. In effect, that’s “damage” to their property in a literal sense, but it is also in no way your responsibility nor should it be.

Obviously these sorts of phrases are irrelevant if you’re talking about casting a curse, since the very intent of such a spell is to cause damage and/or injury. The idea of “harming” no one besides the target of the spell should also be avoided, again because of its vagueness. It should be clear that people have interconnected social relationships such that causing injury to a particular person “harms” their friends and family members, even though this harm is indirect and thus of a much lesser degree. For example, if you cast a curse on someone and they break their arm their family members will likely be inconvenienced because your target will be unable to help with housework for some time while the arm heals and will probably have to pay out medical bills. Also, depending on your target’s job his or her co-workers may very well be inconvenienced in a similar manner by this loss of function.

The concept of magical ethics is strongly related to the nature of the charge. Some authors have spent a great deal of time discussing this subject, but it actually is quite simple. Anything that is ethical using mundane methods is similarly ethical using magical methods. There is no difference from a philosophical perspective. Some people like to throw around the idea that, for example, using magick to get ahead at your job is “cheating,” but the sentiment behind this statement is just as ridiculous as making the same claim regarding the use of your skills and intelligence. Similarly, if you find yourself in a situation in which you feel it would be ethical for you to assault someone it is likely just as ethical for you to curse them. But it is important to understand that these considerations are left up to the magician as a sovereign individual.

The idea of the “Threefold Law” is irrelevant to magical ethics since it is a mere superstition rather than a technical principle. Magical spells are not going to rebound on you unless you cast them spectacularly badly, and even then the rebound won’t be “threefold.” A similar point can be made for the Western New Age idea of “Karma” which in fact bears little resemblance to the concept of the same name originally appropriated from Buddhism and Hinduism. There is no force in the universe that is going to punish you for acting unethically, and similarly no force that will reward you for acting ethically. Even if this were so, an ethic based on fear is no different than that of Christian groups who preach that you need to be a nice person because otherwise God will torture you for eternity. For a choice to be meaningful it must be made on its own merits, not under any form of duress. But none of these means that you should act without considering the ethical consequences of your spells – in fact, as the decisions are wholly up to you it seems to me that you should consider them all the more carefully.

Time limits should also be a part of every charge. The reason this is important is that if no time limit is given the entity can keep trying to shift probability in accordance with your charge forever. Angels, Intelligences, and Spirits are all immortal. The problem with doing this is that whenever an entity is working on your behalf there is a noticeable reduction in the amount of power you have available for other operations. A magical effect is not accomplished only by an entity but rather arises from the relationship between the entity and yourself. If you get into the habit of sending spells out without time limits the various charges that you have running can in effect drain your magical power down to nothing long after the charges themselves become irrelevant. Charges to bring you something within, for example, a week will always terminate at the end of that week whether or not the entity called upon to accomplish it was successful in doing so or not. Otherwise your charge will only terminate once the intent is accomplished, which could take a very long time.

The License to Depart: Once you have delivered the charge the next step of the ritual is to license the Angel, Intelligence, or Spirit to depart from the temple and go about their business, whether this consists of simply returning to the place from whence they came or setting your will in motion. You dismiss the entity using the same controlling name as in the Conjuration, and it can be more or less wordy as you choose. This example is for Sachiel, the Angel of Jupiter, whose controlling name is the Godname, El.

O thou SACHIEL, praise and honor be unto thee for the splendor of thine office and the majesty of thy being. And the blessing of thy God, the expansive and merciful EL. Because thou hast diligently answered unto our demands, and hast been very ready and willing to come at our call, we do here license thee to depart unto thy proper place; without causing harm or danger unto man or beast. Depart, then, I say, and be thou very ready to come at our call, being duly exorcised and conjured by these sacred rites of magick. AMEN.

Note that “harm” is used here in the License to Depart whereas I recommended against making it part of the Charge. The difference is that the License only applies to the moment during which the entity is vacating the temple and has no bearing on the Charge itself.

Closing the Temple:Once the entity has been given the License to Depart a planetary rituals should be closed with either the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or with the Qabalistic Cross depending upon the nature of the Charge. For operations that are concluded as soon as the temple is closed the full banishing pentagram ritual is most appropriate. For operations that are expected to continue for some interval of time following the closing of the temple the Qabalistic Cross on its own is most appropriate. There is a bit of a gray area here, as an operation that will occur solely in the macrocosmic realm can also be closed with the banishing pentagram ritual, but most of the time when you’re performing a ritual for a specific practical purpose the desired outcome has at least a few microcosmic components.

Some sources claim that you need to “undo” your entire conjuring procedure by performing the Greater Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram for the planet and then the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram before wrapping up with the banishing pentagram ritual, but I recommend strongly against using this procedure. Since the hexagram represents the macrocosm, using banishing hexagrams in the context of an operation that you expect to continue running after you close the temple completely defeats the purpose of performing an operation in the first place. The problem is that if you banish the macrocosmic forces associated with the rite you are also shutting down whatever macrocosmic forces you set in motion with the charge.

The use of the LBRP/LBRH to open and close rituals, as taught by Regardie and passed on by popularizers like Kraig, is likely one reason that some magicians who go back to the old grimoires seem to get better results by following those procedures rather than what they have been told the Golden Dawn forms should be. The “banish-banish,” or as I call it the Banishing Field, shuts down all ongoing magical effects in both the microcosmic and macrocosmic realms. In short, if you do a spell that way it runs for the moment between the delivery of the Charge and the closing of the rite. It should be clear that this is profoundly suboptimal. I have experimentally determined that using the Operant Field to open and the LBRP or Qabalistic Cross on its own to close results in much more effective practical workings that if anything can exceed the probability shifts produced by the old grimoire formulas without more modern techniques or methods.

Conclusion: The power of planetary magick is substantial, but despite this many magicians overlook it as part of their regular practice. It is my hope that this presentation will prompt more of you to do so, whether you decide to use it for practical ends, enhanced realization, or both. I believe that this highly effective system constitutes an important component of both spiritual development and material success for anyone working with the Hermetic tradition and those related to it, and I strongly recommend it to all such practitioners on that basis.

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FakeDickCheney said...

Superb article. Well done.

Pallas Renatus said...

This is awesomely easy to read and understand; I'm sure I'll be sharing links to this article with others in the future.

Ananael Qaa said...

Thanks! I'm glad you like it and found it useful. Most of this information is available online, but I've yet to come across anywhere that has it all in one place.

Dave said...

About Chronos XP: Have you ever found them to be wrong in their calculations? I think their Math is wrong. On April 26th 2012, if you take the number of hours from sunrise to sunset you get (0616 - 1856) 13.66. If you divide that number by 12 you get 1.38. If you start the daylight hour at 0616 (which is in decimal points is about 6.25) and you add 1.38 to it the next planetary hour (Mars) should begin approximately 0740, but you have it beginning at 0725. I don't think you're right about this.

Scott Stenwick said...

@Dave: Where are your sunrise and sunset times coming from? In Minneapolis, sunrise today was at 6:09 AM and sunset will be at 8:13 PM according to this site:

Chronos XP has sunset at 8:10 so it's slightly off, but only by a couple of minutes divided up over the whole day. So let's see - 20:13 - 6:09 = 14:04. That's 844 minutes. Dividing by 12 gives you 70 and 1/3 minutes, which is 1:10:20. So if the first hour starts at 6:09 AM, the next will start 20 seconds after 7:19 AM. That's what Chronos XP shows.

Technically with the extra 20 seconds you should add a minute for every three hours, and Chronos XP only adds one when going from the sixth to the seventh hour. That's probably because its sunset time is three minutes off. Still, the program is only going to be off by a minute or two at most, which works fine as long as you don't cut your timing really close.

siriusvoid said...

I'm new to this so please understand and try to forgive my ignorance.
Just curious.. Why isn't the yearly astrological calendar modeled/mirrored here? i.e. Why aren't the Day/Hour governances employed exactly as seen with Planetary Domiciles/Rulerships? Also, forgive my presumption, but why wouldn't Solomon et al have devised a system along lines that would acknowledge the 'waning and waxing' inward turning, and outward trending energetic qualities of these 7 planetary energies? Do not the 'evening and morning' constitute our unified day?... Rather than completely separating the 'by day' from 'by night',(Seems so harsh).. Also, why wouldn't 'Severity', for instance, be viewed simply as 'more severe', or 'less merciful'?... Or even both.. i.e. 'less merciful and more severe'?... Not entirely opposed to, but actually complimentary to the 'Mercy' aspect.. which could, in contradistinction be viewed as 'less severe'/'more merciful', so to speak?.. Why is the middle pillar ostracized so, and kept seemingly isolated... held apart from the outer branches like that? Here comes my rant... Is GOD/Nature an accommodating GOD/Nature? Or is GOD/Nature an extremist?
Just curious as some of these things just make precious little sense to me.

Scott Stenwick said...

In fact, I happen to be of the opinion that the day/hour system used in these operations may be a remnant of an older, more complex system. In traditional astrology, there is a calculation used for al-Mubtazz, which means "the victor" in Arabic. You may also see it anglicized as "almutens" in some sources.

This is a method attributed to Ibn Ezra for calculating the strongest planet at any particular moment. It takes into account day and hour, but also the sign of the Sun, sign of the Moon, part of fortune, prenatal lunation, house placement, and so forth. Often al-Mubtazz will correspond to the planetary day and hour, but not always.

So my working hypothesis is that to get the best results for a planetary operation, you should perform it at a time when the planet you are working with is al-Mubtazz. This will probably be during the day and hour of the planet because of how they are weighted, but you also ideally want to find a time where many of the other factors are aligned as well.

As an example of this, some of the grimoires talk about only working during a waxing moon. In the al-Mubtazz calculation, when the moon is waxing the sign of the sun and the prenatal lunation sign match. If you work just after a new moon, the sign of the moon matches as well. So if you combine that with the day and hour, and pick an hour with the right house placements, you can practically guarantee that al-Mubtazz will be the planet ruling the sign of the sun.

I learned this method from Benjamin Dykes, who has published it in at least one of his books on traditional astrology, which you can find at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers. Unfortunately I learned it at an in-person seminar, so I can't tell you which book it's in. But it's quite interesting to learn how to do the calculation and see how the times at which you perform rituals works out.

As far as the nature of God goes, at the ultimate level "God" includes everything. Thus, the nature of God includes both severity and mercy. I would say that God is not an "extremist" since the inclusion of all principles tends towards balance, but I wouldn't necessarily say that God is exactly "accommodating" either. God just is.

Dobromir said...

Hi Scott!

Thank you for the wonderful read. I have very limited knowledge of ritual magic, I have only ever done the Small Banishing Pentagram Ritual and a few Tarot divinations with Golden Dawn's deck. I am incredibly drawn to planetary magick and just working with planetary energies, but I was wondering if you could just answer a few questions.

When summoning the character or angel of the planet, you said you used the sigils you depicted. But then again, you said we could also use Golden Dawn's Tarot cards as foci. And then when I looked into Denning's "Planetary Magick", she has given a completely different sigil for the planetary angels. Which would you recommend the most? Stylistically, Denning's angelic sigils go hand in hand with the aesthetics and mysticism of the planetary intelligence and spirit, but I am more drawn to the square-like sigils of the planetary characters you depicted. Which do you think would suit best?

Also, is it ok to use the planetary angels and intelligences outside of ritual work. I have a habit of "praying" to a planet each respective day of the week using some gnostic christian prayer books that directly link bible texts with the planets. I was wondering if you think it's appropriate to simply visualize the planet's presence and intone the names of the angel and intelligence, simply for the sake of intaking of the planet's energy and recharging my batteries, so to speak. I pray and meditate more often than I do ritual work, so I was wondering if I could use the occult symbolism outside of strict ritual work, or it's not recommended? I just focus on color meditation combined with planetary symbology to "feel" the vibration of the planet and meditate on its meaning in life. I'm not too big on summoning the actual spirit yet, I'm a bit scared.

Lastly, which planet do you think represents pure compassion, and more specifically a mother's kindness/compassion/love? I like to pray to Mary, and the motherly aspect of the Divine as a whole, but since I want to focus more on planetary meditations I'm not sure which planet actually fills the "Mother Mary" role. Jupiter seems to be more of a general benevolence and mercy, whereas Venus I have always imagined governs the love between lovers and cordial relations between friends, but not actual mother-child love and motherly love. So far I have settled on the Moon, given she encompasses the entirety of the feminine, from the Maiden to the Mother to the Crone. Is that appoach correct? In any occult text I read the Moon is always described as being so mystical and the foundation of ethereal reality, but isn't she also ultimately a planet of emotion and nurturing, representing our inner mother and child? So if I'm trying to feel the compassion of the great Mother, is the Moon the right planet of choice?

Sorry for the many questions, but you seem to know what you're talking about and I really want to have a right approach when it comes to summoning and meditating on planetary energies. Of all occult methodologies, the planetary approach has always drawn me the most.

Scott Stenwick said...

Thanks! I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the article.

For my personal planetary work I have colored tablets that I made for each planet, depicting the character and sigils of the intelligence and spirit along with the angel names and so forth. You could certainly use the Tarot cards corresponding to the planets in a similar capacity.

I use the Agrippa sigils in this article for the intelligence and spirit. I'm not sure which sigils you are talking about from Denning, but keep in mind that the planetary angel will have a different sigil from the intelligence and spirit. They are distinct entities. Denning may be doing something like deriving the angel's sigil from the rose cross emblem, which is also done in the Golden Dawn. But I prefer working off those derived from the squares.

It's totally fine to visualize the angels and intelligences outside of ritual work, and/or acknowledge them in the context of a prayer. This is especially true once you've conjured them a few times - the entities will "get to know you" and often you can contact them just by clearing your mind and focusing your attention on them. There's really nothing to be scared of in this sort of work as the dangers of magick have been massively exaggerated by television and movies. Usually if you try and conjure a spirit and you do something wrong, the only result is that nothing happens.

If you look at the Tarot the moon represents The Priestess, so that would seem like a solid association to me. The Priestess very clearly embodies the divine feminine. I grew up Protestant so I'm not very familiar with the state of consciousness you're going for with prayers to Mary, but what you're explaining here sounds like it makes sense.

Dobromir said...

Hey, thanks for the answer Scott!

I think Denning's angelic sigil is derived from the planetary squares, but I need to check. My only reservation towards the planetary seals is that in some websites I read they are used more to block planetary energy instead of summon it. Just visually I am more drawn to these seals/character sigils. I suppose I should use them then? Should I try to create colored plates/placards for them or just have them on paper and then visualize them?

Good to hear, I definitely like to connect the one God with one of his seven energies. It just gives me more focus and lets me contemplate on one aspect at a time. I might try spirit summoning, but as you said usually spirits are summoned for a practical magickal purpose and I haven't really had the urge or need to use such energies so far. I need to be better acquainted with the practical qualities of each planet so I know which one to summon. Which book, by the way, do you refer to when you describe the Golden Dawn ritual?

I am Orthodox, but my connection with Mary is more personal than religious. When I think of the infinite mercy of God, and the intimate kind of mercy he feels for each one of us, I just immediately think "Cosmic Mother". I know in Mystic Qaballah Saturn, as associated with Binah, is technically the Cosmic Mother, but the saturnian energies are too cold for me. Venus seems a bit too romantically-inclined, while Jupite concerned with justice and righthood. Do you think using the Lunar Seal in your article for meditation or prayer would suffice to connect to the divine femininity of the Moon? To feel the caress of the great mother and ask for compassion? Or maybe a general meditation on Jupiter would suffice? Sorry, I'm trying to sort my planetary symbolism. The moon as described in many occult texts seems a bit aloof and distant, so this is why I'm getting confused where the cosmis mother archetype lies between the 7 luminaries.

Thanks for the attention!

Scott Stenwick said...

There are also multiple ways to draw squares for the various numbers, so Denning might be using a different version that the one that appears in Agrippa. If you do a search for "magic squares" in the context of mathematics, you can see all the different possibilities. I don't necessarily see anything "special" about the Agrippa versions - the point is that tracing on the square is deterministic way to create a sigil for an entity within the mathematical "realm" defined by the number itself.

I've never seen anybody contend that the planetary seals block energy. In my experience the seals embody the nature of the planet, so it seems kind of silly to me to propose that they would block the very planet that they represent. Here's Agrippa:

"All Stars have their peculiar natures, properties, and conditions, the Seals and Characters whereof they produce, through their rays, even in these inferior things, viz., in elements, in stones, in plants, in animals, and their members; whence every natural thing receives, from a harmonious disposition and from its star shining upon it, some particular Seal, or character, stamped upon it; which Seal of character is the significator of that star, or harmonious disposition, containing in it a peculiar Virtue, differing from other virtues of the same matter, both generically, specifically, and numerically."

In other words, it represents the qualities signified by the planet. Suggesting that it blocks those qualities is completely backwards, and I have no idea what tradition that comes from. Maybe it has to do with somebody getting confused by the modern connotation of "seal," but still, I really don't see how anyone who works with planetary magick could come to that conclusion.

Do you mean the rose cross sigil creation method by "Golden Dawn ritual?" I know that it's in Regardie's The Golden Dawn and a number of other sources. You take the Hebrew spelling of the name and map it onto figure with three concentric circles. The innermost is divided among the three mother letters, the middle is divided among the seven double letters, and the outermost is divided among the twelve single letters. There's even software that can create these sorts of sigils for you:

Binah is really only the "cosmic mother" in the most mystical sense, as it lies beyond the abyss in the supernals. The overall divine feminine actually partakes of multiple planets. Jupiter as Chesed is attributed to the virtue of compassion, but not necessarily motherhood, and Venus is more lover than mother. So I think the moon is probably what you're looking for. I would think that a meditation on the lunar seal would be an excellent way for you to connect with that energy.

Dobromir said...

Hey, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer all of my questions Scott! Much appreciated :)

Yup, I think I will just use the planetary seals for general meditation and when I need to summon the angel of the planet. By the way, there are two versions of Saturn's seal. One is more symmetrical, with little circles on six ends, the other is the one you presented, with two circles missing on the right side of the seal. Which one is more "correct", or it doesn't matter? I was just browsing some planetary seals.

I was actually referring to the hexagram ritual you use for summoning the planetary energies.

Yup, I think the Moon will suffice :) Thanks a lot!

Scott Stenwick said...

Different sources show slight variations in the planetary seals. Since it's not completely clear what the rules are for including the circles at the points, it's hard to say what the "most correct" version is. Tyson wrote in his edition of Agrippa that he believes they simply perform a decorative function and have no occult significance. I'm not sure if I agree 100%, but I have used versions of the seals with the small circles in different places and it didn't seem to affect my results.

Oh, the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram. The version that I use is from Aleister Crowley's Liber O, which you can find here:

The procedure is pretty straightforward. Starting in the east, trace the hexagram of the planet in the proper color which vibrating ARARITA, and then trace the symbol of the planet in the center in the color complementary to the hexagram while vibrating the godname associated with the planet. Do this to all four quarters, and then return to the east.

Unknown said...

Why shouldn't you use seals of spirit or intelligence?

Scott Stenwick said...

I do use the planetary seals when conjuring the intelligence and spirit. But I generally use them in conjunction with the sigils of the intelligences and spirits rather than on their own.

You certainly can just use the seal and perform the conjuration, and you can still get the intelligence and spirit to show up. But in my experience it works better and more reliably if you include the specific sigil of the entity you are conjuring.

Glenn Westmore said...

Symbols have played a key role in describing many of the components in Alchemy: solutions, solids & gases, along with the seven ruling planets and noble metals. By using geometry we have created new calendar and crystal symbols based on the relationship that exist between mathematics and the ruling planets. Read more about it on my blog.

Keenon Thomas said...

Where do Olympic Spirits come in and how do they differ from just the "Spirit" of a planet? Is this something that should be referenced or is it not relevant? (needed for a greater understanding of the hierarchy as a whole)

Christopher Whitfield said...

Hi Scott, firstly thank you for writing and posting this blog. I have referenced it more times than I can count since I have begun working with Planetary Magick. Reading through the comments, I am also curious about how the Olympic Spirits may or may not tie in with the Planetary paradigm in a practical magick setting. Would appreciate it to hear your thoughts on the matter!

Dacia Pacea said...


I have 2 questions relating the seals of the Intelligence/s of the Moon and the Spirit/s of Venus.

Why does the Moon have an Intelligence plus an Intelligences of Intelligence and Venus a Spirit and a Spirit of Spirits and the other planets don't?

How does one use these particularities in ritual work?

Awaiting your answers.

Thank you for your wonderful article!


Scott Stenwick said...

@Christopher: As I see it the Olympic planetary spirits are a collection of planetary entities distinct from the intelligences and spirits found in Agrippa's Three Books, but the same methods I discuss here should work for them as well. You would use the sigil for the Olympic spirit rather than the ones from Agrippa, and conjure the spirit by the godname. That should work just fine. However, I probably wouldn't try to mix the two systems together unless you are very familiar with the spirits in question and know that they get along. Just because two spirits are attributed to the same planet doesn't mean they're necessarily compatible in a ritual context.

@Dacia: That's a good question. It's not clear to me what the origin is for the "spirit of spirits" and "intelligence of intelligence" and I have never seen a good academic treatment on why they wind up associated with Venus and the Moon. It's not clear what Agrippa's original source was, which makes it hard to tease out those distinctions.

One possible idea: The Moon is closest of the ancient planets to Earth, followed by Venus. Mercury comes next in the Sephiroth order that is based on apparent astrological motion because it moves faster than Venus, but more often than not it's further away. So maybe that's why those two are singled out.

In a ritual context, you can use the sigils for the intelligence of intelligences or spirit of spirits on a talisman and work through the hierarchy in a slightly modified order. For the spirit of spirit, use Godname -> Angel -> Intelligence -> Spirit -> Spirit of Spirits. For the intelligence of intelligences, use Godname -> Angel -> Intelligence -> Intelligence of Intelligences.

In my experience the intelligence of intelligences behaves pretty much like an intelligence and the spirit of spirits behaves pretty much like a spirit. It's hard to say what the precise distinctions between them and the regular spirits and intelligences might be.

Dacia Pacea said...

Thank you for your answer! You were the first magick practitioner that could answer these questions for me without telling me that my sources were off regarding the subject, or telling me to find Agrippa's 3 books and read them. I've read Agrippa's books and I've found this information in Book 2, but I've found no further explanation on the matter there. My sources forwarded this information from Agrippa's books also and thus my questions arose :) I'm glad I've worked that out with your help.

Yet another question rises. This time it's out of personal curiosity. I've noticed that the Spirit of Spirits/Intelligence of Intelligences has a longer name. Does that mean that they are composed of the names of 2 angels, or is the angel's name so long? :P

Oh and regarding the Olympic Spirits. I've read a .pdf transcribed version of the original text translated into 17th century English by Robert Turner (the Shakespearian kind of English). There it states, if I understood well, that the 7 Olympic Spirits are the 7 rays in which the Creator divided Oneself to create. By the Creator I'm guessing Kether (EHEIEH) as there is no mention of the Supreme Creator (in my mind) that resides in the uncreated realm of Ain-Ain Sof-Ain Sof Aur. So basically from my perspective the 7 Olympic Spirits are a level above the 7 planetary spheres, for they are the 7 major archetypes for all the gods of this world, including the greco-roman planetary gods. The text implies that the experience of working with these spirits is more mystical than magickal, nevertheless the results would be manifested in a magical manner. So in my perspective the action of invoking such spirits would be more in realm of intense active-meditation-prayer type of thing, than the normal conjurations found in the grimoires, both for "good" and "evil" spirits. Anyways, this is what my active-meditation +intuition + feelings from beyond told me about the Olympic Spirits, for I have yet to work with them since I feel that the time hasn't come for me to do so.

Thank you again for your quick and to the point answer and I hope that this chat would turn up to be a fruitful one for all sides involved in it and even for those that don't take part in it.

Blessed be!

Scott Stenwick said...

You are very welcome. I try to be to the point. A lot of the time, it seems like some of the so-called experts out there just brush off questions that they can't answer, and I hate that so I don't do it.

As far as the longer names go, it is true that the -im ending implies a plural. So I think it would be reasonable to operate under the assumption that the intelligence of intelligences and spirit of spirits refers to a group of entities rather than an individual, kind of like choirs of angels and so forth.

Dacia Pacea said...

That is what my intuition also told me but I had to double check because I don't consider myself an expert in these things. Glad I got that out of the way :)

It seems my question faucet just turned on for I still have a few but I'll try not to bother you so much. For now I have only 2 questions about the LHR.

1. I've noticed that the Analysis of the Key Word differs. Thelemapedia for example places the Virgo, Isis... I A O part at the begining and after that the practitioner will assume the 3 designated signs and only after that comes the L V X, LUX part. Other sources place the Virgo, Isis... I A O part after the L V X, LUX part. I'm thinking it differs because of the personal feelings regarding the ritual of different practitioners, or that different magick systems assume a slight different order to this part of the ritual to differentiate themselves from other magick systems. Furthermore, I've noticed that some describe the ritual and insert Enochian Magick terms in it (EXARP, HCOMA, NANTA, BITOM). I know the meaning of those terms and the reason they are used in Enochian Magick and I suspect that the ones who use these terms in this ritual want to seek help from those entities to reinforce their actions. But I think that all these ways are just fine and have the same effect. Is my assumption correct?

2. Can the LHR be used to invoke a planetary force with results? I just want to invoke it in my Microcosm and use it to balance some aspects of my personality and mind in general. For example I'm in the middle of my Saturn return and Saturn has been kind to me for now and has helped me gain much intel and understanding in my practices so far. But my natal Sun is in opposition with my natal Saturn, so I feel I need to make peace between these 2 energies once and for all. I've yet to reach the stage where I can practice the GHR/SHR, for I feel there are more things to be studied, but I guess for my intentions I could use the LHR. Any thoughts?

Please excuse the way in which I'm expressing my ideas, for I'm not a native English speaker.

Scott Stenwick said...

(1) There are a lot of different ways to do the Keyword Analysis, and for the most part I think practitioners just go with what works the best for them. Personally I do not mix any Enochian material with any part of the Keyword Analysis, because the LRH is not really an Enochian ritual. If I want something Enochian, I'll use my fully Enochian pentagram and hexagram rituals that I include in my books.

(2) I wouldn't use the LRH at all if I wanted to invoke a planet microcosmically. I would use the Lesser Pentagram instead, followed by the Greater Hexagram with no Lesser Hexagram in between. The Lesser rituals are used to tune the scope of your operation - if you use the invoking Lesser Pentagram, that's microcosmic. If you use the invoking Lesser Hexagram, that's macrocosmic.

At least, that's how I do it - but you probably also will find a number of folks out there who disagree with my interpretations.

Dacia Pacea said...

Well that makes sense :)

Thanks again!

Dacia Pacea said...

Oh I almost forgot: do you know anything about The Vessel of Hermes? What it is? What it does? And so on...

I know it's something to do with the inner alchemy but I can't quite put my finger on it. I've never heard of it until a practitioner asked my if I have it, with the clear intent of showing off, that he had better knowledge in the occult than me. SMH! :)

And upon reaserching the subject I found all sorts of forum chats with posts like "be careful not to spill The Vessel of Hermes!" and stuff like that.

Scott Stenwick said...

According to alchemical lore, the Vessel of Hermes is supposed to be the vessel in which the fixed and volatile components of the operation are combined.

In the context of inner alchemy, I expect that it could refer to the base of the spine that is supposed to be the seat of kundalini, or the lower dantian where you gather heaven and earth qi in Qigong. According to that tradition, it's located just below the navel.

It's not a term that I generally use, and it is not common among the occultists I know. Asking if you "have it," in the context of inner alchemy, really doesn't make much sense. If it's part of the subtle body, everybody has one.

Dacia Pacea said...

Yes you are right. The question I was asked was foolish nonetheless :))

I should have replied that I have it and I keep it in my pocket :))

At first I was thinking about the Anathor, but I realized that it was just a silly question to brag about one's occult knowledge.


Dacia Pacea said...

Hmm this might seem out of the blue but would you consider joining a FB group that focuses on teaching Ceremonial Magick? I'm thinking of creating one because I haven't found one yet and all the occult groups I've been into are a mixture of various practices, none of which are ordered in a fashion that would help one learn a certain practice, whether it's witchcraft or CM, from basics to more advanced.

I would be the first to be interested in such lessons, even though I practice CM for some time now and feel like I'm a bit ahead of beginners.

Scott Stenwick said...

Sure. If you decide to create one, you can go ahead and add me.

Dacia Pacea said...

Thank you for willing to cooperate in this project. The idea popped into my head one day while doing my practices and I have received strong signals that it could work for the benefit of all that will join it.

I still need to figure out the rules and policies of the group so that it will be clear to all what its purpose will be and after that I will contact you on FB, for I have found your profile.

Many thanks and blessings!

Arthur Yanik said...

Hey Scott! I didn't know exactly WHERE to leave this question, but here seems appropiate:

When you work with Talismans, and in particular, planetary talismans in which you draw a certain spirit and intelligence towards that talisman with a particular intent... Once that intent has been fullfilled, how do you dispose of said Talisman?

The reason I ask this, is because a fellow GD magician has always instructed me that if the talisman only involves archangel and angelic choir and not spirit or intelligence, then it was fine to just burn it or bury it or whatever elemental destruction, but he says that if you involve a spirit and intelligence, then the talisman has to be discharged in a ritualistic fashion by doing everything you did to charge it, except instead of invoking that particular spirit, you thank it and give it a license to depart and then banish with corresponding hexagrams, and THEN you'd destroy the talisman.

While I find it somewhat logical, I also find it somewhat cumbersome. Also, the time I discharged a Netzach talisman that way... Well, let's just say a dry spell took effect. I'm never, EVER, banishing venus ever again! ;P

So, I was just curious on what was your methodology.

Many thanks in advance.

Scott Stenwick said...

Happy to help!

In my experience, once a talisman has accomplished your intent, it is just an inert piece of whatever the object is made of. You can dispose of it however you like. For a paper talisman, I just cut it into a couple of pieces and throw it away. Once the talisman is broken, so is any residual magick. If you want to be extra careful you can dip the pieces in salt water or something, though I rarely bother.

I think a spirit is a spirit, so anything that would be true of an intelligence or spirit would also be true of an angel or archangel. Maybe the angel choir wouldn't quite be the same because they are more abstracted, but the the others are all individuals. When I create a talisman, part of my charge to the spirit is "anchor your power here, that you may accomplish this talisman's intent" or something like that. Then I give the license to depart. So in my methodology, that part is already done.

I think the Golden Dawn "undo everything" method is excessive and even potentially counterproductive. I don't know if you do computer programming, but I do, so let me give you a metaphor. Hopefully it won't sound too technical. In object oriented programming, you have the concept of a baseclass and an instance. The instance is actually what you use in your program flow, while the baseclass is like a template from which multiple instances can be created.

The basic program flow is that you create an instance from a baseclass, do what you need to do with the instance, and then dispose of it - or, let some sort of automatic "garbage collection" routine deal with it. The instance isn't the baseclass, just like the spirit you call isn't THE spirit. It's an instance or manifestation created by your interaction with the external spirit. The crucial bit is that disposing of the instance doesn't affect the baseclass in any way.

So hopefully that makes sense. I'm a professional programmer, and sometimes I use too much jargon even when I'm trying to be clear. But anyway...

I SUPPOSE, if what you do with a talisman is conjure the spirit and just bind it there, without closing the temple or anything, and only release it when your intent is accomplished, what your friend is describing might possibly make sense. Even so, I generally build up the energy I want and then disconnect from it using just the LBRP to close without actually banishing any of it, since I want it to work over time. I pretty much never "undo" at all, as you can see in the rituals that I publish here.

But I think my anchor method makes a lot more sense than that. The instance will bind to the talisman as long as you tell it to, and whatever you do with the talisman afterwards won't affect the external "baseclass" spirit.

Arthur Yanik said...

Thanks for the answer. I'm an acoustics engineer so I understand what you said without reaaaaaally understanding the jargon haha but it's a great explanation really and it does make a lot of sense that one would bind an 'impression' or 'photograph' of that spirit. And not really THE spirit. Otherwise.. If you have a talisman that goes on forever... Well, poor spirit haha

Many thanks for all the useful stuff you produce!

Pierre Alexander said...

This article is old but I hope you answer me. According to you we shouldn't perform any banishing ritual after working with forces that will keep acting once the ceremony is done. I have some Chaos Magick procedures acting in my life. So, if tomorrow I call the spirit of Mars using the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram I shouldn't perform the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram first, am I right?

Another hypothesis:

Imagine I don't have any spells acting in my life right now. If tomorrow I work with Mars in order to get something that will take a few days to be completed, on Saturday when I work with Moon for some other purposes I can't perform the LBRP because it could affect what Mars is doing in my life. That's it?

Since I have to work with three planets at the same time, I'm worried if it's fine to begin a ritual without the LBRP.

Scott Stenwick said...

According to my operant model, which seems to hold up to experimentation, the LBRP will not shut down ongoing spells because it is microcosmic. Presumably, your chaos magick operations were sent off into macrocosmic space when you "banished by laughter" or however you closed things down. The LBRP is more like that - it disconnects you from the operation, but doesn't stop it (or really, even slow it down).

So according to the operant model, in your situation I would perform the LBRP followed by the LIRH (banish micro, invoke macro) to create a magical field. Then, I would go ahead and use the GRH for Mars. You can use the same procedure for the other planets, too, without messing anything up - as long as you don't do an LBRH along with your LBRP. That, I have seen create problems with ongoing operations.

The big takeaway is that it's not "any banishing ritual" if you read deeper into the operant field stuff. It's the banishing field - the LBRP/LBRH - that causes problems. The direction at the end to close with just a Qabalistic Cross doesn't mean you can't do any subsequent banishing. You just don't want to do one for maybe an hour or so after your operation. Once the energy has time to stabilize, you generally aren't going to disrupt it with microcosmic ceremonial work.

At the same time, you can often begin a ritual without banishing first. It depends on your circumstances. I do a pentagram banishing (and hexagram invocation) as part of my daily magical practice, so I'm doing it every day anyway.

Pierre Alexander said...

Thanks for answering me. Actually, I had already read your operant field article and after reading the section comments there, I understood it better.

V.e. L.V.X. said...

What an excellent article. For a talisman charging ritual, after performing a GIRH (invoking the planet attributed to the sephiroth), I invoke the God Name (of the sephiroth), the Archangel, and the angelic order. Would it make sense to you to incorporate planetary invocations in this context as well, or do you feel the these are better left as two discreet approaches? If you think it makes sense to do both, in what order would you integrate them?

Scott Stenwick said...

Personally, I keep them distinct and either use one or the other. At the same time, if you think experimentation is in order, go for it. I could perhaps see a case made for a ritual that combined an invocatory, insight-oriented component with a practical objective employing both, though I tend to think of the sephiroth as purely mystical and the paths as purely practical.

Entirely hypothetically, I think I do the sephiroth first, followed by the path. The reason for that is that the sephiroth represents the state corresponding to the planet, and the path represents the movement of its energy. So first you attune your talisman with your goal with the sephirothic version, and then you would bind the practical charge to that using the path method.

But keep in mind, I've never done this. Feel free to try it out and let me know how it works, if you're so inclined.

A3 M3th said...

Thanks for the clarification. Upon re-reading, I see that it was in fact, not actually clarification, but reiteration - I should have caught it the first time. If I'm understanding, then, the following very briefly summarizes the operation:

Operant Field (LBRP/LIRH)
Middle Pillar
GIRH (trace planetary hexagram vibrating ARARITA, trace planetary symbol in center vibrating GODNAME)
Conjure the ANGEL
Conjure the SPIRIT
Chant the name of the target entity until presence is perceived
Deliver the Charge
Give License to Depart
Close the Temple (LBRP or just QC, as appropriate)

And of course, once again, just as I thought I had a grip on things I encountered the following in Dion Fortunes's 'The Mystical Qabalah': "18. The Sephiroth should be interpreted macrocosmically, and the Paths microcosmically..." (Chapter XII).

Had I read that without encountering this article, I would have proceeded in the opposite direction and associated the sephiroth with practical magick and the paths with inner work. If I'm understanding your article, the correlations you give are:

Sephiroth, microcosm, mystical, and the Godname/Archangelic/Angelic assigned to the sephiroth - these for inner/self work (e.g., charge a talisman to increase intuition).
Path, macrocosmic, practical and planetary - these for practical work (e.g., charge a
talisman to find a twenty dollar bill on the sidewalk).

Do I understand that you and Fortune are in agreement on the above with the exception of the characterization of the Sephiroth and Paths as microcosmic or macrocosmic (though I realize that's the central concept, not a small disagreement), a point on which you hold opposite opinions, or am I conflating concepts? P.S. I'm only halfway through 'The Mystical Qabalah' so it may be she straightens this confusion out for me by the end.

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, that is the correct sequence.

Actually, from what you're saying here, Fortune just muddles things up. I'm not a big fan of her work, actually - more of it than I would like is either confusing or full of superstitious conclusions that don't bear up in practice.

It is incorrect to say that practical magick is "macrocosmic" and mysticism is "microcosmic," and it is likewise incorrect to divide up the sephiroth and paths that way. Both visions and practical work can be pursued along both microcosmic and macrocosmic lines.

Example #1: a spell to get a job. The microcosmic version would work on your psychology, to change your body language, attitude, and so forth so that you are more likely to be hired. The macrocosmic version would bring more job opportunities your way, and make people respond more positively to your resume when they see it. The most effective method here is to work on both levels.

Example #2: a spell to obtain the mystical realization of, say, Yesod (the vision of the machinery of the universe). If you do it microcosmically, you get your own personal idea of what this vision should be. If you do it macrocosmically, you get the transpersonal vision - which is a fuller realization that includes the exterior world components of the vision. Doing both is the best option here, too.

So basically, microcosm and macrocosm play a role in every possible operation. The only real distinction is microcosm = psychology and macrocosm = exterior world. Does that make sense?

A3 M3th said...

It does make sense that there is both a microcosmic and macrocosmic element in any operation, but it's going to take some thought before I have a grip on how the various components fit together. As you may or may not recall in another of our discussions, I'm proceeding from Kraig's MM as my base of understanding and I've been using a modified version of “his” talisman ritual for both microcosmic and macrocosmic operations, briefly as follows:

Operant Field
Middle Pillar
Invoke ORDER OF ANGELS (e.g., Chasmalim for an operation in Chesed)
Invoke ARCHANGEL (Tzadkiel)
Invoke GODNAME (El)
Give Charge
Invoking Pentagram over talisman using Rainbow Wand, charge talisman with GODNAME
License to Depart
Closing of the Temple

My initial thought after reading this article was that Planetary Magick was more suitable for practical work, which in my mind meant external, making stuff happen – which I thought of as macrocosmic. I thought my existing ritual would remain suited for internal work, developing magickal abilities, mystical work, etc. - which I thought of as microcosmic. You make an important point though, that achieving these goals, whether internal or external, involves both microcosmic and macrocosmic aspects.

Do I understand that the ritual above in this comment, which invokes the Sephirothic hierarchy, you would find appropriate really only for mystical work? In which case that applies to the microcosmic aspect of your Example #2, but not to the microcosmic aspect of your Example #1? Or is the whole point of your article that you advocate for more work using Planetary Magick regardless, instead of using the Sephirothic heirarchy? In which case the ritual above in this comment is just a different approach and like Planetary Magick, is itself suitable for both types of work (though perhaps in your experience less effective).

If it's sinking in (not that that’s where the smart money is), then in your Example #1, if you were creating a talisman for that purpose, you would perform two discrete operations, a microcosmic ritual starting with establishing the Operant Field, through to Closing of the Temple, then a macrocosmic ritual from Operant Field to Closing of the Temple, correct? And in your answer to my first comments you've proposed how the two might be performed as a single ritual.

Unfortunately I don't have opportunity for loads of ritual experimentation to learn by trial and error, so my goal is to understand the standard approach used by competent practitioners, get used to that, and then make modifications down the road as necessary (for example, as you can see above, I’ve substituted the Operant Field for “Kraig’s” LBRP/LBRH). Thanks a million for your responses, they’re invaluable to me.

Scott Stenwick said...

The sephirothic approach you are using there does work for practical stuff, so it is not the case that I think it is suitable for mystical work only. I did the planetary work the way you are doing it there for years before figuring out the distinction between paths and sephiroth and got good results. The path approach just works a little better for practical operations, and the sephirothic version works a little better for mystical operations.

But there's a lot of overlap between path and sephira. You don't necessarily need to do two operations to get the microcosmic and macrocosmic components, or do one for the mystical side and another for the magical side. if that's what you're talking about. The higher angels are very intelligent spirits, and if you're working with Jupiter, as in your example, and whether you have a practical or mystical intent both Sachiel and Tzadkiel should be fully capable of getting it done.

The path/sephiroth distinction does work better in my experience, but not a lot better. So if you're comfortable with the way you're working now, I don't know that I would recommend changing it up unless you really feel like you're not getting the results that you should.

Dacia Pacea said...

@A3M3th I would draw the specific hexagram over the talisman if I were to use the godname. Don't know why Kraig mentioned the invoking pentagram (of what? Earth?)

Dacia Pacea said...

Sorry about this - I meant to write "planetary godname", since you clearly mention Jupiter.

V.e. L.V.X. said...

@DaciaPacea In the 'Simple Talisman Charging' ritual in MM, yes, Kraig specifies an invoking Earth pentagram while vibrating the sephirothic godname (so for Chesed, EL). The procedure given in the 'Complete Talisman Charging' ritual is different, but the invoking Earth pentagram is employed there as well.

@Scott Stenwick With the way I've been working, I've definitely gotten results that have in some cases amazed me, but since free time is so limited I'm really interested in optimizing. I think that the results will follow the intention to a degree which is why I've gotten results in cases where I look back and see that I really mucked something up, but it can only get better if you're doing it right, is my feeling. So if you've found ways that work even a little better for you, I'm interested in investing the time to explore that. This discussion in itself has got me thinking about a lot of other things that are going to be very helpful once I get them sorted out. As always, thanks for your generosity and time.