Monday, December 15, 2014

Comselh Ananael Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram

This ritual has been in development for a long time by our magical working group, Comselh Ananael. Back in 2008 when we had only used it for a couple of years I posted the changes we made to the keyword analysis and corresponding signs. We have continued to test it out since then for all manner of practical operations, and according to those tests it does seem to work better than the original, particularly when employing the operant field method to open and close magical fields. Generally speaking, at this point when I write about using the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, it's this version that I'm talking about.

Back in September we put on our Libra Elixir Ritual as an equinox rite for our local Twin Cities OTO body, Leaping Laughter Lodge. As this was the version of the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram that we employed, I put together the following write-up to hand out to those present explaining its symbolism and structure. I invite you to try it out for yourself and see how it works. I'm not at the point yet where I'm ready to conclude that it works better than the original for all or even a majority of practitioners, but I will say that so far everyone I know of who's tried it out have found that it produces superior results. If you do try it out and feel like sharing I would be very interested in hearing about your experiences, even if you find that for you it doesn't work very well.

I. The Keyword Analysis: The primary issue with the use of the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram for Thelemic operations is its reification of the life-death-rebirth formula of Osiris in the Keyword Analysis and the Signs of LVX. We set out to develop a new Keyword Analysis that would more closely embody the Horus formula of life and growth. We started with this version written by Benjamin Rowe, from his Ritual of the Heptagram:

(Make the sign of Osiris Risen. Recite:)
I, R, N, I
Yod, Resh, Nun, Yod

Isis, Horus, Set, Thoth
The linking of the Earth with the Stars!
Isis - Nature, the Fullness of Earth!
Horus - Warrior, the Triumph of Sol!
Set - Apostate, Seed of Rebellion!
Thoth - Perfection, Uniting them all!

We built upon Rowe’s concept considerably, to yield our revised keyword analysis:

I, R, N, I
Yod, Resh, Nun, Yod

Isis - Nature, the Fullness of Earth!
Horus - Volition, the Triumph of Sol!
Set - Guardian, Lord of the Threshold!
Tahuti - Perfection, Uniting Them All!
Isis, Horus, Set, Tahuti

(Sign of Sol) ABRAHADABRA!

(Sign of Isis) Isis in Fullness,
(Sign of Horus) Horus Triumphant,
(Sign of Set) Set the Liminal,
(Sign of Tahuti) Tahuti, Neter-Neteru.
Isis, Horus, Set, Tahuti

(Sign of Integration) MAKASHANaH!
The linking of Earth with the Stars!

The keyword itself, IRNI, is the same as Rowe’s. The reversal of the N and R in INRI reflects the shift from the Osiran death/rebirth formula to that of Horus, life and growth. Rowe's version doesn't have anything resembling the LVX signs, so we decided we wanted to add something analogous. So we reverted a bit to the structure of the INRI keyword analysis in which first the names are given with statements, and then they are given as names of the corresponding signs.

The Operant Field Model of magick that we work with in Comselh Ananael divides the universe into three "fields" that correspond to regions on the Tree of Life. The Personal Field, or microcosm, is the realm of awareness in which the consciousness of each individual is perceived as discrete. This is the "regular" or "mundane" mode by which people usually experience the day-to-day world. On the Tree of Life it corresponds to the spheres from Malkuth (10) through Netzach (7), up to the Veil of Paroketh.

The Transpersonal Field, or macrocosm, is the realm of awareness in which consciousness between individuals, objects, and events is experienced as continuous. This is the state of consciousness corresponding to the Adeptus grades, and therefore to the spheres from Tiphareth (6) through Chesed (4), up to the Abyss.

The Cosmic Field, or universal consciousness, is the realm of awareness in which consciousness is realized as encompassing the entirety of the universe. This is the state of consciousness corresponding to the supernal grades, Magister Templi and beyond.

This model informs the structure of the Comselh Ananael Keyword Analysis as follows:

Isis - Nature, the material world in all its glory. Note that the operant field model does not treat the material world as negative or in any way opposed to spirit. It is simply the "default mode" of reality as we experience it, and as good as any other. This, then, represents the Personal Field.

Horus - Volition, the transpersonal consciousness of the Adept. This was changed from "warrior" because while Mars/Warfare is an important aspect of Horus, it is nonetheless incomplete. Horus is the crowned and conquering child, but he is also the union of Nuit and Hadit, and therefore volition – pure will itself – gives a fuller exposition of his nature. This, then, represents the Transpersonal Field.

Set - Our interpretation of Set here is fundamentally different than Rowe's. In the ancient Egyptian pantheon, Set was the guardian of the Boat of Ra, and also the god of liminal spaces such as the deep desert. Egyptians lost in the desert and fearing for their life would not pray to Horus, they would pray to Set. In this context, Set was neither "apostate" nor "rebel," both modern interpretations fed by the demonization of Set as Satan. Hence "Guardian, Lord of the Threshold."

This is not to imply that our interpretation of Set is as "sweetness and light" or anything like that - in Egyptian magick, when you conjure a guardian you want it to be bigger and badder and nastier than anything that might attack you (such as the "dog of evil" conjuration found in the Collectanea Hermetica). Liminal spaces, likewise, are by their nature inherently dangerous. Set in this context represents the Abyss, the most extreme "threshold" on the Tree of Life. It is the boundary that separates the manifest from the unmanifest, and enables potentiality to give birth to matter and spirit.

Tahuti - Perfected cosmic awareness, uniting all. “All” includes both the material and spiritual realms. Tahuti is attributed to Kether, and is thus ideal in this context. We replaced Thoth with Tahuti because the latter form of the deity is named in the Thelemic canon. This represents the cosmic field, the unified awareness of the Magister Templi, and thus the three supernals, Binah (3) through Kether (1).

The two variants of the Word of the Aeon are used in a similar manner. ABRAHADABRA is the form of the Word given in the Book of the Law, corresponding to the grade of Adeptus Minor (5=6). MAKASHANaH is the form of the Word given in The Vision and the Voice, corresponding to the grade of Magister Templi (8=3).

The relationship between Isis, Horus, Set, and Tahuti rendered here is also informed by Sam Webster's Tale of Hoor, from the texts of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn. At one point we were borrowing more extensively from OSOGD “open source” material, though we’ve been doing less of that in recent years and focusing more on developing our own structural components from traditional sources.

II. The Signs: The signs used in the Keyword Analysis differ from both the Signs of LVX and those of NOX.

The Sign of Isis is similar to the mirror image of the Sign of Isis Mourning found in Aleister Crowley’s Liber O. Both elbows are held at right angles with forearms vertical, the left pointing up and the right pointing down, with hands open and wrists slightly bent. The position of the arms represents the swastika spinning clockwise, towards life and manifestation, and also the reception of the divine light through the left receiving hand and its distribution into the material world through the right projecting hand. Thus, the Fullness of Nature nourished by the lightning flash.

The Sign of Horus is similar to a mirror image of the Hailing Sign of a Magician used in the Gnostic Mass, except that the fists are clenched. The left hand is placed over the heart and the right is held at a right angle with the forearm vertical. The posture suggests preparation to hurl a spear with the right hand, and alludes to both the martial nature of Horus and the metaphorical spear of directed will. The active clenched fist also stands in contrast to the receptive open hands used in the Sign of Isis, and the holding of the left hand to the heart symbolizes the origin of will’s manifestation as heart’s desire. The right elevated above the head symbolizes the serpent of wisdom, the power of nature projected into the universe as a manifestation of will.

The Sign of Set is the same as the Sign of Apophis and Typhon. As it is used in rituals such as the Invocation of Horus, the “V” of the sign represents a container through which an entity may be called into the magician’s sphere of consciousness, and thus it alludes to the liminal nature of Set declared in the Keyword Analysis. The first two signs allude to the spiritual energies of the cycle of manifestation, but it is the Saturnine nature of Set that provides a container or boundary by which it may be contained and harnessed for the purposes of the magician. The Abyss itself is such a boundary, serving to separate the potential from the manifest and the consciousness of the Adeptus from that of the Magister Templi.

The Sign of Tahuti is given by extending both arms with the wrists straight, with the left palm held down and the right palm held up. You then take a step forward with the right foot. Holding the palms at the same level reflects the balance and equilibration of the lightning flash and the serpent of wisdom. The movement of the step reflects Tahuti’s Mercurial nature, while at the same time metaphorically representing the forward motion of the “spear” of concentrated will alluded to in the Sign of Horus. This vector may now be visualized in motion but at the same time in harmony with the balanced forces of the universe. All of this is accomplished by the action of Tahuti, who in this context is attributed to Kether and thus corresponds to the dynamic ground of being or “god of gods” – neter-neteru.

The Sign of Sol is given by extending both arms straight in front of you with the palms facing. The arms are then raised from this position until they point straight up, with the space between the palms above your head. The corresponding visualization is that of raising the Sun from the horizon until it stands high overhead. You then bring your arms down and cross them over your chest, as in the Sign of Osiris Risen or Attitude of Resurrection from the Gnostic Mass. As you do this, you visualize the Sun dropping straight down into the anahata chakra or heart center. This symbolizes the influx of solar consciousness into the subtle body, and the realization of awakened transpersonal consciousness.

The Sign of Integration is given by dropping the arms to the sides, then bringing the hands together in front of the body with the palms up. The palms are raised above the head and turned outward followed by a wide sweep of the arms, out and around, with the open hands meeting and overlapping at the heart. The palms are then held inward against the body. This symbolizes the integration of stellar consciousness with the material realm, and thus union with the entire universe conceived as a coherent whole – “the linking of Earth with the stars.” This also corresponds to the realization of cosmic consciousness and integration of both the manifest and potential realms of creation.

III. The Unicursal Hexagram: The unicursal hexagram is sometimes used in Thelema as a solar figure, but it also has its own set of attributions that are different from those of the planetary hexagrams. The Sun is attributed to the upper point, the Moon is attributed to the lower point, and the four elements are attributed to the other four points. The upper point may also be attributed to Active or Projective Spirit, and the lower point to Passive or Receptive Spirit, for which the Sun and Moon often serve as stand-ins.

The unicursal hexagram bears a resemblance to the mathematical figure of the hyperbola, as expounded by Xnoubis on the old Beast Bay website, now archived at The hyperbola is a mathematical function that unites two seemingly disparate curves, and in the language of sacred geometry this would seem to be the ideal figure to model the general function of the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram in the Operant Field Model, to unite the microcosm and macrocosm (that is, the Personal and Transpersonal fields).

Therefore, we switched from using the hexagrams formed by combining Fire and Water triangles to represent the elements with the unicursal form. The directional placement of the elements remains the same – Fire in the east, Earth in the south, Air in the west, and Water in the north. The Keyword ARARITA remains the same as well. The elemental points of the unicursal hexagram are attributed to the relevant spheres on the Tree of Life, centered on Tiphareth. So Fire = Geburah = upper left, Water = Chesed = upper right, Air = Hod = lower left, Earth = Netzach = lower right.

To construct four tracings for the four elements, we then adapted the old Golden Dawn method of moving towards the point to invoke and away from the point to banish. So for Fire, in the upper left, you trace from the bottom point (away from Passive Spirit, as Fire is Active) to the upper left point (towards Fire) to invoke. You therefore would trace from the Fire point (away from Fire) and towards the bottom point to banish. Clockwise versus counter-clockwise from the point does not work well with the unicursal, as the angles of the figure switch directions as it is traced.

It should be noted that this is not the only possible arrangement of the elements on the unicursal hexagram. Another version is Upper Left = Air, Upper Right = Water, Lower Right = Fire, and Lower Left = Earth. But in the context of the spheres crossing the Veil of Paroketh we found that version less coherent. It is possible that this other version is more proper to the Personal Field level, but as the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram corresponds to the Transpersonal Field in our model we wanted to make sure that our version mapped more closely to those spheres, so that Geburah and Chesed correspond to Fire and Water, and Hod and Netzach to Air and Earth.

This, then, is the means by which my magical working group sets up a banishing or invocation at the transpersonal level. The standard operant field, as outlined in the linked article above, consists of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram followed by the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram, for which this form is ideally suited. Over the years it has developed a solid track record for everything from mystical operations of illumination to practical conjurations that produce measurable probability shifts in excess of those generated by the traditional version.

If you would like to adapt if for your own use feel free to do so, and if you are so inclined I would be very interested in hearing about your results.

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