Monday, January 30, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Taurus

This article is Part Two in a series. Part One can be found here.

The work of the Zodiac is neglected by most magical resources intended for beginners. The reason for this is that in the tradition, students start out studying the elemental work, move on to the planetary work, and only after that explore the system of the Zodiac. But in the context of practical work, the signs are important, because they represent half of the practical magical powers listed in Liber 777.

When going through this series, you can refer back to my Angels of the Zodiac presentation for additional information. The presentation goes into greater detail regarding some aspects of the zodiacal work, as does my Evoking Zodiacal Angels article in Liber Spirituum.

Today I will be moving on to the sign Taurus. In Liber 777, Taurus is attributed to "The Secret of Physical Strength." This power is relevant to physical conditioning of whatever sort, whether for athletic purposes or otherwise. Note that this is specifically related to strength rather than health, as the path of Mercury is more appropriate for curing illnesses. Still, a Taurus evocation might be used to augment a Mercury evocation for addressing certain illnesses or injuries.

As Taurus rules physical strength, a Taurus evocation can likewise be used to physically weaken an external target. Generally speaking, I would think that such an application would have limited utility unless you are wanting to use it to influence sporting events and the like - and even then, you might get better results by strengthening the person or team that you support rather than weakening their opponents. Still, if you were a really dedicated fan, I suppose you could two separate operations to strengthen one party and weaken the other.

In Qabalah, the signs correspond to the twelve single letters of the Hebrew alphabet. These letters are so named because they correspond to a single specific sounds. The signs are all attributed to the sephira Chockmah, and are associated with paths only in the context of practical magical work. The sephiroth represent states of manifestation, whereas the paths represent the movement of energy between those states.

This series will be covering these paths, as they correspond to practical magical operations. This is by design - some schools teach that you should master a bunch of mystical stuff before you start casting effective spells, and I just don't buy that. You should use magick for basically everything, and you should start doing it right away. Studying the differences between successes and failures will give you essential insights into the nature of your will and the quality of your technique, and besides, doing effective practical magick is awesome.

For the Path of Taurus, the four scales of color are Red Orange, Deep Indigo, Deep Warm Olive, and Rich Brown. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Red Orange. Its complement is green blue. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel.

This sigil should be traced onto the Kamea of Venus, as Venus is the ruler of Taurus. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Taurus on the Kamea. The Angel of Taurus is Asmodel, spelled Aleph-Samekh-Mem-Vav-Daleth-Aleph-Lamed. The Venus Kamea is 7 x 7, so the highest number it contains is 49. Therefore, Samekh needs to be reduced. This yields 1, 6 (60), 40, 6, 4, 1, 30. The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Taurus is Storax. Associated plants are Mallow, and all giant trees. The associated metal is copper, and the associated precious stone is topaz.

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 topaz or copper 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. Note that the stones need not be of gem quality, and therefore can be obtained relatively inexpensively.

The god-name for the path of Taurus is the second permutation of Tetragrammaton, YHHV. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Yod-Heh-Heh-Vav). However, in practice that does not work nearly as well as pronouncing the name as a word. The pronunciation of this permutation would be something like "Yah-Hoo," which is a case where you need get past the silly English connotation of the word "yahoo" in order to work with this path.

For ceremonial forms, I use the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for the signs of the Zodiac when working practical magick. Apparently a number of schools teach that you should use the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram instead, but as I see the practical zodiacal work as an extension of the macrocosm, I prefer the hexagram. You can invoke an element using either the hexagram of the ruling planet or the pentagram of the ruling element, but in the latter case it seems more likely that what will be invoked is the sign's more microcosmic aspects, such as associated personality traits.

0. The Temple

The best time to perform an Taurus operation is on a Friday, during an hour of Venus that falls during the night. This is because Venus rules Taurus, and because the sign Taurus belongs to the Nocturnal sect. Since you are employing ceremonial forms to tune the space you could do it during a day hour of Venus as well, but a night hour is most appropriate. The day hours of Venus are associated with Libra.

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.

You should also calculate the Chart Victor for the time of your operation if at all possible. Ideally, you want the Chart Victor to be a planet that is dignified in the sign, and you should always avoid a Chart Victor that is debilitated. So the best Chart Victors for an Taurus operation are Venus (Rulership) and Moon (Exaltation). The Chart Victor to always avoid is Mars (Detriment). In Taurus, no planet is in Fall.

The other three planets are essentially neutral, and will neither impede nor aid your operation. You can perform an operation with any of them as the Chart Victor if you cannot perform your ritual at another time, though if you can wait until the Chart Victor is Venus or the Moon you will generally get better results. Also, keep in mind that simple electional timing should be employed as well, and a positive final aspect is especially important if you are working with a neutral Chart Victor.

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.

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

  1. 1. Trace the Hexagram of Venus in red orange while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah). The hexagram of Venus is traced by starting at the lower right point and tracing the upward triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the upper left point and tracing the upward triangle clockwise.
  2. Trace the symbol of Taurus in the center of the hexagram in blue green while vibrating YHHV (yah-hoo).
The final figure being traced to all four directions should look like this:

Once you return to face the east, hold your finger or wand pointing upwards and declare "Let the divine light descend!" as you bring it down to rest pointing at the sigil. Then, recite the following unification statement adapted from Liber 963.

1. O Thou summer-land of eternal joy, Thou rapturous garden of flowers! Yea, as I gather Thee, my harvest is but as a drop of dew shimmering in the golden cup of the crocus.

2. O my God, Thou mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the kisses of my mistress, and the murmur of her mouth, and all the trembling of her firm young breast; so that I may be rolled a flame in Thy fiery embrace, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou fat of an hundred fortresses of iron, crimson as the blades of a million murderous swords; I swear to Thee by the smoke-wreath of the volcano, to open the secret shrine of Thy bull's breast, and tear out as an augur the heart of Thine all-pervading mystery.

4. O Thou Sovran Moonstone of pearly loveliness, from out whose many eyes flash the fire-clouds of life, and whose breath enkindleth the Byss and the Abyss. I know Thee! O Thou fountain-head of fierce aethyr, in the pupil of whose brightness all things lie crouched and wrapped like a babe in the womb of its mother.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the countenance of my darling: Thou hast unclothed her of white lilies and crimson roses, so that she may blush forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a thunder-smitten bull that is drunk upon the vintage of Thy blood; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may bellow through the universe Thy Power, and trample the nectar-sweet grapes of Thine Essence: O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou black bull in a field of white girls, whose foaming flanks are as starry night ravished in the fierce arms of noon; shake forth the purple horns of my passion, so that I may dissolve as a crown of fire in the bewilderment of Thine ecstasy.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the golden bull of the heavens; nor the crimsoned fountain of the lusts of men: O Thou who reclinest not upon the Waggon of Night; nor restest Thine hand upon the handle of the Plough! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Urge me in the unity of Thy might, and drench me with the red vintage of Thine all-pervading Nothingness; for Thou art all and none of these in the fullness of Thy Not-Being.

9. Ah! but I rejoice in Thee, O Thou my God; Thou opalescent orb of shattered sunsets; Thou pearly boss on the shield of light; Thou tawny priest at the Mass of lust: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou chalcedony cloudland of light; O Thou poppy-petal floating upon the snowstorm! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till my frenzied words rush through the souls of men, like a blood-red bull through a white herd of terror-stricken kine, at the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, comfort me with ease and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all the toil of my life is but as a small white mouse swimming through a vast sea of crimson blood.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all my labours are as weary oxen laggard and sore stricken with the goad, ploughing black furrows across the white fields of light. Yet in the scrawling trail of their slow toil do I descry the golden harvest of Thine effulgence.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou mighty worker laden with the dust of toil? O Thou little ant of the earth! Thou great monster who infuriatest the seas, and by their vigour wearest down the strength of the cliffs! O how can I bind Thee in a spider's web of song, and yet remain one and unconsumed before the raging of Thy nostrils?

13. O Thou Unity of all things: as the sun that rolleth through the twelve mansions of the skies, so art Thou, O God my God. I cannot slay Thee, for Thou art everywhere; lo! though I lick up the Boundless Light, the Boundless, and the Not, there still shall I find Thee, Thou Unity of Unities, Thou Oneness, O Thou perfect Nothingness of Bliss!

The space should now be tuned for the conjuration.

4. The Conjuration

O thou mighty angel ASMODEL, ruler of SHAR, by the name of the True and Living God YHHV, I call upon you and ask that you along with the 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 Aries, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name ASMODEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Aries 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 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 the sign Taurus as "The Secret of Physical Strength." For best results, your charge should fall within that area. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Taurus' sphere of influence, and that could cause the ritual to fail.

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 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.

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 ASMODEL 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 YHHV, 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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C-Style Magazine said...

Hello Scott,

I was thinking of doing a working with one of the Bardon spirits, Jromoni, who is listed as 15 degrees of Taurus. Would this set-up work well with this? Also, in placing the name of Jromoni on the Venus kamea, would you use "Yod-Resh-Mem-Nun" for the spelling of the spirit's name?

Scott Stenwick said...

I have not personally worked with that spirit, but I would think this setup should work fine. For the name, I would probably go with a straight letter for letter transliteration.

So Yod-Resh-Ayin-Mem-Ayin-Nun-Yod. You could also go with Yod-Resh-Mem-Nun-Yod - but I believe that you would still need that final Yod. As I understand it, you can't substitute a vowel marker for a trailing letter.

If this spirit is out of "The Practice of Magical Evocation," you could also use the Bardon sigil in place of the kamea version. That should still work for you.

C-Style Magazine said...

Thanks, Scott. Will give it a try!