This article is Part Two of a series. Part One can be found here, Part Three can be found here, and Part Four can be found here.
This article is the second in my Elemental Work series, covering the element of Water. The basic symbol set of the Western Magical Tradition consists of the elements, planets, and signs of the zodiac, and realistically an effective magician should be familiar with how to work with all of them. These basic conjuration rituals for each of the classical elements will be my "Magick Monday" posts for the next couple of weeks.
If you've already read through my Earth post, you will probably find parts of this one repetitive. That's intentional, as I want each of these posts to be able to stand on its own without reference to the others. Incidentally, this has been one of the biggest challenges for me with respect to my Enochian books. I want each book to stand on its own, but at the same time I want to make sure that I re-hash as little as I can get away with.
So why Water? The traditional order used in the Golden Dawn system when working the elements is Earth - Air - Water - Fire, inverting the elemental formula of YHVH. However, a number of practitioners have noted that when working through the series, the transition from Air to Water is especially difficult. When my magical working group did our first elemental series, we used that order and ran into the same problem. Earth and Air were smooth, but people started having all sorts of problems as soon as we hit Water.
When we decided to do a second series awhile later, we changed the order to Earth - Water - Air - Fire, going in density order rather than following the inverse YHVH formula. That one change seemed to fix the entire process, and it's quite logical if you think about it. If each element you work forms the foundation of the next, from a physical standpoint Air is a lousy foundation for Water. If this is reflected in the metaphysical realm, it suggests that the relative densities might be the source of the problem.
Based on that, we went ahead and adapted our rituals to use the Earth - Water - Air - Fire order rather than the inverse of YHVH. You'll even see it in our pathworking induction - it is the order in which the four layers of the aura are activated when preparing to manifest the body of light. If you use inverse YHVH and it works well for you, that's fine. You can work through Water after you work through Air, but if you want to use one of these rituals you will have to wait until next week.
According to the ancient Greek system, each element arises from the interaction of the Powers, which many modern magicians do not work with or even know about. The four powers are Warm/Cool and Moist/Dry. The Warm power separates things, while the Cool power merges them together. The Moist power breaks down structure, while the Dry power reinforces it.
I will not be going into a full discourse on the Powers and how they relate to the elements, but if you would like to delve deeper into the symbolism I recommend that you check out The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements by John Opsopaus. The links from that main page will allow you to explore these aspects of the classical elements, along with a lot of other related symbolism.
Water is the second most dense of the traditional 5 elements. According to Liber 777 the powers associated with Water are the Great Work, Talismans, and Crystal Gazing (Scrying in general). Water corresponds to the Cool power mixed with the Moist power, so it binds things together and breaks down their structures. This is how Water can overcome most other substances so long as it is given enough time.
The symbol of the elements is the pentagram, which is also the symbol of the microcosm. However, depending upon the type of magical field you open for your operation, the elements may be invoked within the microcosmic realm, the macrocosmic realm, or both. The Pentagram of Water is traced either moving towards or moving away from the upper right point of the pentagram. It is visualized in blue. The pentagrams for Water and Air overlap, with banishing Air traced the same way as invoking Water and vice-versa, though the colors are different.
There are multiple systems for tracing elemental pentagrams. The one that I use is the Golden Dawn version, and the alternate version is that used by the Aurum Solis and described in the Magical Philosophy series by Melita Denning and Osbourne Philips. On the surface, the AS method is more logical and consistent with the planetary hexagrams. However, in my experience it simply does not work as well. Still, if you do use that system and get good results with it, you can substitute the AS version for the GD version that I use here.
The Elemental King of Water is named Niksa and the elemental spirits native to his domain are called Undines. The godname corresponding to Water is EL or AL, and the elemental prayer that precedes the conjuration is from Eliphas Levi, with a few small modifications made over the years by our magical working group to better reflect some aspects of "New Aeon" principles. The originals can be found online, and you can substitute those for the ones used here if you prefer them.
To create the sigil for Niksa, you trace his name onto the Kamea of the Moon. First, you transliterate the name to Hebrew. You wind up with Nun, Yod, Kaph, Samekh, and Aleph. The numeration for these letters is 50, 10, 20, 60, and 1. Because the numbers on the 9 x 9 lunar square go to 81, there is no need to change any of these values. The sigil traced onto the lunar Kamea looks like this:
There are different traditions out there with respect to beginning and ending sigils. The method I use is derived from my understanding of John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica. Dee explains in the text that the circle and the straight line are essentially the building blocks of reality. The circle refers to undifferentiated potential while the straight line refers to particular manifestations.
So for practical manifestation work, in which the flow of mezla is being called from the top of the Tree of Life to the bottom, I start with a circle (unmanifest potential) and end with a straight line (specific manifestation). For mystical work, in which I am calling upon a spirit to aid in my ascent up the Tree, I start with a straight line and end with a circle.
This sigil, then, should be traced over the character of the Moon exactly as it appears on the Kamea, as the character represents the entire square taken as a whole. The final figure then, should look something like this:
Ideally, the sigil should be rendered in colors from all four scales from Liber 777. These are:
King (Atziluth): Deep Blue.
Queen (Briah): Sea Green.
Emperor (Yetzirah, Prince): Deep Olive Green.
Empress (Assiah, Princess): White flecked Purple.
The colors for the sigil are not absolutely necessary, but using them will allow your manifestation to more completely manifest on all four of the Qabalistic worlds, each of which corresponds to one of the color scales. There is no set method for doing this, and the magician is expected to use his or her own insight in coloring the sigil and character.
Incense, if used, should be Onycha or Myrrh. If you wish to employ a particular magical weapon, the appropriate one would be the Cup. The substance associated with Water is Beryl or Aquamarine. The corresponding plants are Lotus and all water planets. An appropriate offering to the King of Water is wine, which may be placed in the Cup.
The full ritual is performed as follows:
0. The Temple
There are a number of different ways to arrange the temple for an operation such as this. What we do is place an altar in the center with the banishing dagger and invoking wand. Also on the altar is a containment structure such as the Sigillum Dei Aemeth or the Trithemian Table of Art. The diagram depicting the character and sigil should be placed within this structure. A small container of some sort for offerings may also be placed on the Table of Art, which in the case of Water may be the Cup.
If you employ scrying in your work, an appropriate device such as a crystal or mirror should also be placed in the containment structure. If you are using incense for such an operation, the traditional method is to place the incense burner between the scryer and the mirror or crystal. Otherwise, it may be placed anywhere in the space. Some scryers like to place a taper candle on either side of the device, and while I can't say that method does anything at all for me, a number of others report good results with it.
Elemental operations do not make use of planetary hours in any meaningful sense, as the planets and elements do not precisely correspond to each other. However, you can improve your results by employing simple electional timing. This is especially relevant to elemental operations, as the elements all share a strong affinity for the Moon.
Light incense, if used. Open the magical field using the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, Star Ruby and Star Sapphire, or the Field Ritual. The usual field for practical work is the operant field, with banishing pentagrams and invoking hexagrams.
2. Preliminary Invocation
Raise energy using the Middle Pillar, Elevenfold Seal (the "First Gesture" from Liber V vel Reguli), or some other appropriate ritual method as you may know how to do.
Make the Sign of Apophis and Typhon, raising both arms and holding them straight with an angle between them of 60 degrees, and proclaim, very strongly:
Thee I invoke, who art Universe!
Thee I invoke, who art in Nature formed!
Thee I invoke, the vast and the mighty!
Source of Darkness, Source of Light.
Then make the Sign of Silence, by standing straight with one arm at your side and placing your thumb or forefinger to your lips.
3. Tuning the Space
Perform the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram for Water. To each quarter in turn, beginning in the east and turning clockwise, perform the following actions:
- Trace the Invoking Pentagram of Passive Spirit in deep purple while vibrating AGLA.
- Make the Sign of Rending the Veil, as if parting a heavy curtain in front of you with both hands.
- Trace the Invoking Pentagram of Water in blue while vibrating AL.
- Make the Sign of Water, making a downward-pointing triangle with both hands and placing it at the level of the navel.
Dread King of the Sea, who hast the Keys of the floodgates of Heaven and who enclosest the subterranean Waters in the cavernous hollows of Earth; King of the Deluge and of the Rains of Spring; Thou who openest the sources of Rivers and of Fountains; Thou who commandest moisture, which is like the blood of the earth, to become the sap of plants: We adore thee and we invoke thee! Speak thou unto us Thy inconstant and changeful creatures in the great Tempests of the Sea, and we shall tremble before Thee. Speak unto us also in the murmur of limpid waters, and we shall desire thy love. O Vastness wherein all the Rivers of Being seek to lose themselves, which renew themselves ever in thee. O Ocean of infinite perfections! O Height which reflectest Thyself in the Depth! O Depth which exhalest thyself into the Height! Lead us into Immortality through sacrifice that we may offer unto Thee the Water, the Blood, the Tears, and the Flowing Joy of our Aspiration! AMEN.
The space should now be tuned for the conjuration.
4. The Conjuration
O thou mighty King NIKSA, ruler of MAIM, by the name of the True and Living God AL, I call upon you and ask that you along with the elemental spirits of your domain manifest themselves unto me, for I am a true worshiper of the highest. Let them come forth in a friendly and peaceful manner that I may partake of the wisdom and the pure essence of Water, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.
At this point, vibrate the name NIKSA repeatedly until the presence of the King and the spirits of elemental Water is perceived within the Table of Art. Various methods may be used to accomplish this, from simply waiting until a presence makes itself known to scrying for an image in a crystal or dark mirror. If this is being performed as a group ritual, with everyone chanting the name together, it is helpful for the officiant or scryer to have a bell chime that can be rung once he or she perceives a presence in whatever manner. At the bell chime, the chant stops.
5. The Charge
My instructions for the charge are simple and straightforward, just as you can find in my published books. Make use of an Injunction, which is what you want the King and/or spirits of the element to do, and a Limitation, which is what you do not want them to do. The Limitation helps you avoid "Monkey's Paw" situations in which your Injunction may manifest, but in an undesirable way.
As I mentioned above, Liber 777 catalogues the powers attributed to the element of Water as the Great Work, Talismans, and Crystal-Gazing. For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside the Watery sphere of influence, and that could cause the ritual to fail.
At this point you may also make offerings to the King by placing them in the Cup. After the King has had a chance to partake of the offerings, be sure to dispose of them. Alcohol such as wine may be allowed to evaporate on its own, and natural substances may be scattered outdoors. Do not attempt to reuse an offering - generally speaking, spirits do not take kindly to that.
Also, You should get some sort of assent from the King before you proceed to the License to Depart, or an explanation of his objection. When the charge lies outside the King's sphere of influence, often he will be willing to direct you to another spirit that would be more suitable to conjure in order to better accomplish your intent.
6. The License to Depart
King NIKSA and the elemental spirits of Thy domain, because thou hast-diligently answered unto my demands, and hast been very ready and willing to come at my call, I do hereby license thee to depart unto thy proper place, without causing harm or danger unto man or beast. I charge thee to withdraw peaceably and quietly with the blessings of the great god AL, and that peace be ever continued between us. So mote it be!
The ritual may be closed with either a final banishing pentagram ritual or with the Qabalistic Cross performed on its own. These should match the rituals used in the opening, so for example if you opened with a Star Ruby you should repeat it or perform the corresponding version of the Qabalistic Cross.
Generally speaking, if you want to release your intent out into the world to accomplish some task external to yourself, you should close with a banishing pentagram ritual. This is similar to the chaos magick idea of releasing a sigil once it has been created and empowered.
On the other hand, if you also want the effect of the ritual to linger within your sphere of awareness, whether or not the intent is also external, you should close with the Qabalistic Cross. This stabilizes the operation, but does not detach it from your sphere of awareness.