Monday, December 19, 2016

The Planetary Work - Mercury

This article is Part Six in a series. Part One can found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, and Part Five can be found here.

Today I will be moving on to working with Mercury, the next planet in sequence according to the Chaldean Order. Liber 777 associates Mercury with "Miracles of Healing, Gift of Tongues, Knowledge of Sciences," which means that this is the planet to work with for healing and learning of whatever sort, including both sciences and languages. Thus, this article may be thought of as an updated version of this one. Note that, as with the others, back in 2008 I was still working with the sephira godname rather than that attributed to the path.

Healing is considered one of the most important forms of magick in the Rosicrucian tradition. In the Fama Fraternitatis, the first obligation of those belonging to the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross was "That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis." At the same time, healing is one of the most difficult areas in which to assess magical success. It is well-known to medical researchers that the mind has some natural ability to heal the body on its own, a phenomenon called the placebo effect.

In order to determine whether or not a medicine or treatment is truly effective in and of itself, the treatment must be evaluated according to double-blind experimental techniques. This is necessary because it allows researchers to distinguish between the healing effects arising from belief in the treatment, and the healing effects arising from the treatment itself. In that way, I have maintained for years that healing is perhaps the worst possible field to focus on if you want to try and demonstrate the effectiveness of practical magick in a rigorous fashion.

People are generally less interested in spells for obtaining knowledge or language proficiency, but both are quite applicable to magical studies. Magick is called a Science and Art because it includes elements of both, and especially on the science side, Mercury operations can help you gain a greater understanding of magick itself. Likewise, understanding languages can be extremely useful when conducting any sort of antiquarian research involving original magical texts.

To review, in Qabalah the planets correspond to the double letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The letters are so named because they correspond to two specific sounds each, and this is reflected in the dual nature of the planets. On the Tree of Life, each planet corresponds to both a sephira or a path. Many magicians refer to the sephiroth as "spheres," and you may catch me doing that sometimes as well. It is, however, not a direct translation. The word actually means "emanations" - as in, emanations of divinity. But they are drawn as circles on most diagrams of the Tree of Life, and in addition, "sephira" and "sphere" sound very similar in English.

The important thing to understand about this for practical magick is that the sephira represent states of emanation, while the paths represent movement between them. Invoking the emanations themselves produces particular visions and states of consciousness, and invoking the paths produces particular practical effects. In Liber 777, the paths and sephira have separate sets of colors, separate angels, and even separate godnames. It is relatively common for people working practical magick to ignore these factors, and, say, conjure the angel of a sephira rather than a path. Often said angel is smart enough to figure out what you really want, but it works better if you go for the right aspect from the start.

Like the other forms of planetary work, Mercury operations primarily act by influencing probability. The healing of the body is more statistical than you might think for many conditions, in that life itself emerges from the delicate balancing act of a complex, chaotic system of cells. So it is vital for any magician interested in healing to understand that magick should never be a substitute for medical treatment. You should do the treatment along with the magick, and the combination of both will yield the best results.

This is a particularly important point because of the existence of "faith healing." Praying for a specific outcome and casting a spell are the exact same thing, so faith healing is basically just a system of healing magick built on the dubious premise that magick and medicine cannot coexist, so you have to do one or the other. I have railed against this idea many times here on Augoeides, as it is entirely false and downright dangerous to children growing up in families who practice the faith healing system. I'm a big proponent of using practical magick for basically everything, but just like any other mundane action, proper medical treatment will always increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Mercury does have two sides like the other planets, and can be used to cause diseases and so forth - though I really can't think of any situation in which doing such a thing would be ethical or even warranted. I see little point in causing harm to others just for its own sake, and if someone is causing problems for you, there are many other ways to get them out of your life more quickly and effectively (such as employing the spirits of Saturn and/or Mars). You can also use Mercury in a negative capacity to impede another person's knowledge of science or linguistic fluency, but again, such operations strike me as pretty pointless.

At any rate, for the Path of Mercury, the four scales of color are Yellow, Purple, Grey, and Indigo Rayed Violet. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Yellow. Its complement is purple. Note that when going from sephira to path, the Sun and Mercury switch colors. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel. The first piece of the sigil is the character of Mercury, which looks like this:

The angel of the path of Mercury is Raphael, spelled Resh-Peh-Aleph-Lamed. The Mercury kamea is 8 x 8, so the valuations for Resh and Peh need to be reduced. For Resh, 200, I reduce to 20 rather than 2 because 20 can be found on the kamea and I generally employ minimal reductions. This yields 20 (200), 8 (80), 1, 30, to produce a sigil on the kamea that looks like this:

The final sigil is created by combining the two figures. The grid is not necessary, but I have still included it here to show the geometry. There is no formal method for determining which color goes where on the sigil, but it should include all four scales so that it will span all four Qabalistic worlds and thus constitute a complete symbol. This is largely left to your own ingenuity.

From Liber 777, incenses appropriate to Mercury are Mastic, White Sandal, Nutmeg, Mace, Storax, and "all Fugitive Odours." Associated plants are Vervain, Herb Mercury, Major-lane, Palm, and Lime or Linden. The associated metal is mercury (quicksilver) or any alloy, and the associated precious stones are Opal and Agate. Note that for the purposes of creating a talisman, the stones need not be gem quality and can be purchased inexpensively.

The plants may be dried and ground into a powder using a mortar and pestle and can be sprinkled onto the paper talisman as an offering to the angel. Likewise, a piece of metal alloy (such as brass), opal, or agate may be placed on top of the paper talisman for the conjuration. You then use the paper to wrap up the whole thing when the ritual is complete and somehow bind or tape it together.

The god-name in Assiah for the path of Mercury is Azbugeh (Aleph-Zayin-Beth-Vav-Gimel-Heh). It is far more common for Mercury operations to be taught using Elohim Tzabaoth as the god-name for Mercury, but this is actually the god-name appropriate to Hod, the sephira of Mercury. This is a key distinction that few teachers make, and is a method that we have explored at the local Leaping Laughter Lodge Ritual Workshop. It appears to be quite effective, and allows you to make a meaningful distinction between sephiroth and paths in the context of the ceremonial forms.

The full ritual is performed as follows:

0. The Temple

The best time to perform a Mercury operation is on a Wednesday, during the hour of Mercury. To calculate the hours, divide the time between sunrise and sunset into twelve equal parts to get the hours of the day, and the time between sunset and sunrise into twelve equal parts to get the hours of the night. Days begin at sunrise. The first hour of the day is attributed to the planet ruling the day, and the subsequent hours are assigned according to the Chaldean Order.

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

Following the hour of the Moon, the order starts over again with Saturn. While it seems complicated as first, once you do it a bunch, you'll find that it actually is pretty easy. At this point I can almost do it in my head. There are also a number of software programs that you can download to do the calculation for you, and even some websites that will tell you the hours.

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 be placed on the Table of Art, or you can sprinkle the offering directly upon the diagram itself.

The Table of Art shown above is from The Digital Ambler. You can read about the design and how it was put together here. You can click on the image to enlarge.

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.

1. Opening

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 Ritual of the Hexagram for Mercury. Beginning in the east, go to each quarter in turn and perform the following actions.

  1. 1. Trace the Hexagram of Mercury in Yellow while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah). The hexagram of Mercury is traced by starting at the lower left point and tracing the first triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the upper right point and tracing the second triangle clockwise from there.
  2. Trace the symbol of Mercury in the center of the hexagram in purple while vibrating AZBUGEH (ahz-boo-GEH).
The final figure being traced to all four directions should look like this:

Once the four figures are traced, return to face the east completing the circle.

Then, recite the Orphic Hymn to Mercury.

Hermes, draw near, and to my pray'r incline,
Angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine;
Studious of contests, ruler of mankind,
With heart almighty, and a prudent mind.
Celestial messenger, of various skill,
Whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill:
With winged feet, 'tis thine thro' air to course,
O friend of man, and prophet of discourse:
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine,
In arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine:
With pow'r endu'd all language to explain,
Of care the loos'ner, and the source of gain.
Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod,
Corucian, blessed, profitable God;
Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, 15
And in necessities to mortals kind:
Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere,
Be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;
Assist my works, conclude my life with peace,
Give graceful speech, and me memory's increase.

The space should now be tuned for the conjuration.

4. The Conjuration

Note: It has come to my attention that the manner in which I do the conjuration is less clear than I originally intended. The conjuration has been clarified to reflect this point, but it is significant enough to discuss and draw attention to it here. First of all, I am NOT working my way down through the hierarchy to get to "the guy at the bottom" (the spirit) who actually does the work. In fact, I address my charge to ALL THREE entities called below.

If the Godname is included, the four names represent the four Qabalistic worlds - Godname = Atziluth, Angel = Briah, Intelligence = Yetzirah, Spirit = Assiah). By addressing the charge in this way, the operation can "fire on all cylinders" and affect the manifest universe at all level. The Godname represents the power itself, the Angel ushers that power across the Abyss from potential to actual, the Intelligence shapes that power through the realm of formation, and the Spirit interfaces that power directly with the material world from moment to moment.

RAPHAEL, RAPHAEL, RAPHAEL, RAPHAEL, RAPHAEL, RAPHAEL, RAPHAEL, RAPHAEL (rah-fye-EL). Come unto me, great and mighty Archangel of KOKAB (koh-KAHB), by the name of the great god AZBUGEH (ahz-boo-GEH). Send unto me TIRIEL (teer-ee-EL), that great intelligence of thine, and thereafter attend to my behest.

Pause until the presence of Raphael is perceived. If you don’t feel anything or see anything, wait a minute or so before continuing.

TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL, TIRIEL (teer-ee-EL). Come unto me, thou bright intelligence of KOKAB (koh-KAHB), in the name of RAPHAEL (rah-fye-EL) thy lord. Compel the spirit TAPHTHARTHARATH (taf-thar-thar-AHTH) who is under thy dominion to manifest within this this Table of Art, and thereafter attend to my behest.

Pause until the presence of Tiriel is perceived. If you don’t feel anything or see anything, wait a minute or so before continuing.

TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH, TAPHTHARTHARATH (taf-thar-thar-AHTH). Come unto me, mighty spirit of KOKAB (koh-KAHB), in the name of TIRIEL (teer-ee-EL) thy lord. Come forth within this Table of Art and attend to my behest, that I may wield the powers of BETH (like it looks), the path of the planet Mercury.

At this point, vibrate the names RAPHAEL, TIRIEL, and TAPHTHARTHARATH repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Mercury 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. Address it to all three entities named above. Make use of an Injunction, which is what you want the angel and associated spirits 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 catalogs the powers attributed to Mercury as ""Miracles of Healing, Gift of Tongues, Knowledge of Sciences." For best results, your charge should fall within that area. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Mercury's sphere of influence.

At this point you may also make offerings to the angel by placing them in the small container. After the angel has had a chance to partake of the offerings, be sure to dispose of them. Alcohol 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.

Your other option is to place the offerings directly upon the sigil itself, if this is practical, as it is with ground-up plant material or spices. If you decide to go this route, you will be wrapping the offering up in the paper sigil and need give it no further thought. Obviously, though, this becomes less practical with liquid offerings, such as alcohol.

Also, You should get some sort of assent from the angel before you proceed to the License to Depart, or an explanation of his objection. When the charge lies outside the angel'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

Mighty RAPHAEL and the 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 AZBUGEH, and that peace be ever continued between us. So mote it be!

7. Closing

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.

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javier said...

Hi Scott ¡¡¡ thanks for this great work,forgive my english, but for example if I seek a new work -this work it will be out in the world external to me- then yo would employ
the open field?you say
Operant Field - Banishing pentagrams, invoking hexagrams. Used for practical macrocosmic magical work.But When to use Invoking Field? -( Invoking pentagrams, invoking hexagrams. Can be used on its own to give an overall "boost" to ongoing magical operations, or to open operations involving clearly delineated microcosmic and macrocosmic components)...A concrete example? What type of operations? I d´ont understand Thanks Scott ¡¡¡

Scott Stenwick said...

Here is what you can do with the invoking field.

(1) Use it as part of a deliberate series of rituals. Let's say you want to perform a healing ritual for, say, eight weeks, every Wednesday in the hour of Mercury. Eight is the number of Mercury, so that probably would be pretty effective. For your first operation, open with LBRP/LIRH and close with the Qabalistic Cross. For the next six weeks, open with LIRP/LIRH and close with the Qabalistic Cross. On the eighth week, open with LIRP/LIRH and close with the LBRP. This binds the whole ritual into a single series, and should amplify its effects.

(2) If you have a bunch of spells running and want to boost them, you can replace the operant field in your daily practice regimen with the invoking field. So instead of, say, LBRP/LIRH/Middle Pillar, you could do LIRP/LIRH/Middle Pillar on a daily basis. That will provide the energy raised by your Middle Pillar to all ongoing operations.

(3) You can open with the invoking field rather than the operant field when you want to repeat a ritual to increase the power of the original. This does work, but it usually works better to set up your rituals as series in advance if you expect that your intent will require multiple castings.

Does that make sense?

Kratos said...

Hi Ananael: First of all I want to congratulate you for the magnificent series of posts about the models of magick, really liked those. Now, about the planetary rituals I have a question about the preliminary invocation (I don't know if this have been asked before). In Modern Magick the invocation says "...Whom Nature have not formed" and in your rituals "...whom art in nature formed". Why the difference?

Scott Stenwick said...

The difference is that the version in Modern Magick is the original Golden Dawn version, and the version that I use is based on a revised version used by the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn.

"Holy art Thou who art Universe — the universe is the divine
Holy art Thou who art in Nature formed — the divine is present to us as Nature
Holy art Thou the Vast and the Mighty — with all humility we acknowledge our relationship to the divine is as a part to a whole.
Source of Darkness, Source of Light — the divine universe is the source of all and the (non-dual) origin that which appears to us as dual."

So basically, I just replace "Holy art Thou" with "Thee I invoke" to produce the desired effect, and I like the theological underpinnings of the OSOGD version better. If you happen to prefer the original version, though, go ahead and use it. The ritual should work fine with either version.

Kratos said...

I like much better the new version. More in line with Spinoza "Deus sive Natura". Thank you Scott.

javier said...

Hi Scott ¡¡

absolutely fantastic powerful ¡¡¡¡¡

javier said...

Hi Scott

definitly the invoking field is very very powerful,As for the Olympic spirits that place occupy for example BETHOR or HAGITH in the planetary invocations?

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, the various fields should work with the Olympic spirits. The Arbatel methodology is in fact simple enough that they fit in nicely. The Arbatel is explicitly Christian and uses YHShVH as the controlling name for all of the spirits, so for the Greater Hexagram you have a couple of options.

First, you could just use YHShVH as the godname for all of the planetary hexagrams of the GRH, keeping the shapes and colors the same. So trace the hexagram while vibrating ARARITA, then trace the symbol of the planet while vibrating YHShVH.

Second, you could use the standard version of the GRH with the Qabalistic godnames, and then switch to YHShVH as the controlling name in the conjuration.

Third, some sources online recommend using the Olympic Spirit name as the godname for the GRH, keeping the shapes and colors the same, and then switching to YHShVH as the controlling name in the conjuration.

I can't say that I've done enough work with the Arbatel to tell you which version will work the best, and especially which version will work the best for you. But those three approaches give you some options to play around with.

Anonymous said...

777 places the Olympic Spirits in the paths of the planets.

When I worked with Bethor I did the Operant Field, MP and GIRH of the path of Jupiter (violet-yellow) using El as the godname - I didn't know about the path godname at that time. After calling down the divine light I went on with the classic Arbatel conjuration. I ended the ritual with the Arbatel license of depart prayer and QC.

It worked perfect for me, both as contacting the spirit and as results :D

Scott Stenwick said...

I used just the sephirothic godnames for the planets for years, before experimenting with the path godnames. What I seem to have found is that the path godnames work a little better for practical effects, but it produces an incremental improvement rather than a particularly dramatic one. So I'm not surprised at all that you got good results there.

Anonymous said...

Disregard that last comment - phone error :(

It's better you decided to create separate articles for the paths and sephirot.

I really like the Operant Field, as I stated many times before. It seems to fit into many types of workings. The addition of the GRH is also welcomed in rituals using gods that correspond to the planets, in my view. Like if someone were to perform a Hellenistic ritual for Zeus they can add the Operant Field and GIRH of Jupiter to their ritual.

Scott Stenwick said...

I definitely think it is a good move to make a clearer distinction between the paths and sephiroth, as you will see once I get going on the path of initiation series. That's coming after the 12-week zodiac cycle which will be starting up the Monday after next.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned Sepher Sephiroth as a means of checking out spirits and the meaning spirit messages, if you ask for a number.

I want to better understand how this works. Say I ask a spirit to answer me with a number and it says 37. Sepher Sephiroth says this relating to #37:

Pi 37

Angel of 8 P. AKAYH


Behold! ALV

Perished, grew old BLH

To grow great GDL

Banner DGL

Tenuity, breath, vanity; in vain; HBL

Abel. [I.Z.Q., "The Supernal


Night Demon of 2nd Dec. Sagittarius VAL

Profession ZL

Jechidah, the Atma of Hindu YChYDH


Flame LHB

(?) Devotion of force LZ {5b}

So what is it that I should understand from the meaning of this number? The only words that stand out are these: ehold! ALV

Perished, grew old BLH

To grow great GDL

Banner DGL

Tenuity, breath, vanity; in vain; and then there's profession, philosophy and flame. I suppose it depends on the question, but I should look for these kinds of words as possible answers, right?

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, you should. This is not so much a science and more of an art. But from the list above, let's say that I'm talking to a spirit about something related to water, and you get this number that has one of the meanings as "flame." That doesn't fit.

Usually the different angel and demon names aren't that relevant. I would say that I don't see water up there - Pentacles is earth, and Sagittarius is fire - so we're back to looking at "water" versus "flame." Jechidah is spirit on the elemental model of the soul, so again, no water.

So what I would say is this with that example: If you were talking with an angel about something that relates directly to fire, this would be hit. If the information you're getting is related to water, it would be a miss. To do this well you have to know a lot of correspondences, which is one more reason to study them.

You can also sum the word together - 37 sums to 10, which is Malkuth, for example - or factor it out. 37 is prime so it can't be factored, but with other numbers you can sometimes get further insight by breaking them up into components.

Anonymous said...

Aha! It makes sense!

I tried this out with my angel a few times and I asked questions relating to different situations and people. I was astonished by the answers. In most cases the answers made sense as soon as I read the first word relating to the number. In some cases more than one word fitted the situation. But your explanation is very helpful because it presents a broader approach.

Thank you!

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

In the kamea, I believe:
18 in the top row should be 58;
13 in the third row should be 23;
17 in the fifth row should be 27;
14 in the sixth row should be 24; and 17 in the last row should be 57.

Scott Stenwick said...

Got it. I think this had to be one of the ones I copied off some other source on the Internet and didn't check closely enough, because it was kind of a mess. That will teach me not to do that again, or at least be more careful.

No effect on the sigil here, either.

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

They must have been using some crazy font that made "1" tricky to read. Either that or your eyeballs that day were about as good as mine all days.

Scott Stenwick said...

I think it is possible that the other source had it wrong and I just did not check it against my Agrippa like I should have. Anyway, it's fixed now.

RANeoph said...


Regarding this mercury retrograde, will a banish ritual improve my life in this time or inverse?

What you think should i expect?


Scott Stenwick said...

Retrogrades do not reverse the way the forms work or anything like that. Personally, I have Mercury retrograde in my natal chart so a lot of the Mercury retrograde stuff people complain about doesn't affect me much. But here would be my suggestion.

Trying to manage planetary influences with banishing rituals can work, but it's crude and requires repeated applications. One of the things I've worked out over the years is that it works much better to go with invocations and conjurations to increase as well as decrease the effects of these influences.

So you would do this ritual as written, and your charge to the angel would be to eliminate the effects caused by Mercury retrograde in your life over the course of however long the retrograde period lasts (it's like three weeks or so, right?).

RANeoph said...

Many thanks in advance, learning life here with you and in a safe and trustable way !

Just curious about doing a ritual on mercury retrograde as there are a lot of sayings about this phase messing.

Best regards