Monday, February 20, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Leo

This article is Part Five in a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, and Part Four 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 Leo. In Liber 777, Leo is attributed to the "Power of Training Wild Beasts." This power may be used to aid you in training animals, but it also has a deeper metaphoric meaning. When Buddhists talk about freeing yourself from attachments, what they are talking about is the "karma" of outdated conditioned responses that no longer serve your will. Conditioned responses build up throughout your life in a mostly mechanical way. Your brain's conditioning system simply tries to repeat behaviors for which you were positively reinforced in the past.

Since our circumstances change, running on conditioning is a poor way to become successful. In effect, you are always reacting to situations from a day or a year or even longer ago, whether or not the behavior makes sense in your current situation. As in Buddhism, one of the goals of Western Esotericism is to make our conditioned responses serve us rather than the other way around. This is accomplished by de-conditioning work combined with re-conditioning along more effective lines. In effect, conditioned responses may be thought of as a "wild beast" in this context.

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 Leo, the four scales of color are Greenish Yellow, Depp Purple, Grey, and Reddish Amber. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Greenish Yellow. Its complement is violet. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel.

The sigil should be traced onto the Kamea of the Sun, as the Sun is the ruler of Leo. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Leo on the Kamea. The Angel of Leo is Verachiel, spelled Vav-Resh-Kaph-Yod-Aleph-Lamed. The Sun Kamea is 6 x 6, so the highest number it contains is 36. Therefore, Resh needs to be reduced, and in this case I would reduce it from 200 to 20 rather than to 2. This yields 6, 20 (200), 20, 10, 1, 30. The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Leo is Olibanum (Frankincense). The associated plant is Sunflower. The associated metal is gold, with brass a possible substitute, and the associated precious stone is cat's eye.

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 cat's eye, gold, or brass 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 for the path of Leo is the fifth permutation of Tetragrammaton, HVYH. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Heh-Vav-Heh-Yod). 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 "Hev-Yah."

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 it the practical zodiacal work as an extension of the macrocosm, so 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 a Leo operation is on a Sunday, during an hour of the Sun that falls during the day. This is because the Sun rules Leo, and because the sign Leo belongs to the Diurnal sect. Since you are employing ceremonial forms to tune the space you could do it during a night hour of the Sun as well, but a day hour is most appropriate.

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 Victor for a Leo operation is the Sun (Rulership). No planet is exalted in Leo. The Chart Victor to always avoid are Saturn (Detriment). No planet is in Fall in Leo.

The other planets are essentially neutral, and will neither impede nor aid your operation. The Sun tends to be a rare Chart Victor, so you may have to go with a neutral Chart Victor, though if you can wait until the Chart Victor is the Sun 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 Leo. The solar hexagram used for Leo is the longest and most complex of the hexagrams, as it is composed of the other six made beginning with Saturn and following the Chaldean Order all the way down to the Moon. I generally vibrate ARARITA for each hexagram traced, but there is no set method for doing this. Beginning in the east, go to each quarter in turn and perform the following actions.

  1. 1. Trace the Hexagram of Leo in Greenish Yellow while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah). The hexagram of the Leo is traced by:

    • First, starting at the upper point and tracing the first triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the bottom point and tracing the second triangle clockwise from there.
    • Then, starting at the upper right point and tracing the first triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the lower left point and tracing the second triangle from there.
    • Then, starting at the upper left point and tracing the first triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the lower right point and tracing the second triangle clockwise from there.
    • Then, starting at the lower right point and tracing the first triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the upper left point and tracing the second triangle clockwise from there.
    • Then, 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.
    • Finally, starting at the bottom point and tracing the first triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the upper point and tracing the second triangle clockwise from there.
  2. Trace the symbol of the Sun in the center of the hexagram in blue while vibrating HVYH (Hev-Yah).
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 crowned giant among great giants, Thou crimson-sworded soldier of war! Yea, as I battle with Thee, Thou masterest me as a lion that slayeth a babe that is cradled in lilies.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the whispers of the desert, and the moan of the simoom, and all the silence of the sea of dust; so that I may be lost in the atoms of Thy Glory, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou incandescent Ocean of molten stars, surging above the arch of the Firmament; I swear to Thee by the mane-pennoned lances of light, to stir the lion of Thy darkness from its lair, and lash the sorceress of noontide into fury with serpents of fire.

4. O Thou Sovran Light and fire of loveliness, whose flaming locks stream downwards through the aethyr as knots of lightening deep-rooted in the Abyss. I know Thee! O Thou winnowing flail of brightness, the passionate lash of whose encircling hand scatters mankind before Thy fury as the wind-scud from the stormy breast of Ocean.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the Lion Rampant of the dawn: Thou hast crushed with Thy paw the crouching lioness of Night, so that she may roar forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a ruby lion that roareth from the summit of a white mountain; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may echo forth Thy lord-ship through the hills, and dwindle into the nipple of Thy bounty. O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou opalescent Serpent-Queen, whose mouth is as the sunset that is bloody with the slaughter of day; hold me in the crimson flames of Thine arms, so that at Thy kisses I may expire as a bubble in the foam of Thy dazzling lips.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the traces of the chariot; nor the pole of galloping delusion: O Thou who art not the pivot of the whole Universe; nor the body of the woman-serpent of the stars! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Lead me in the unity of Thy might, and draw me unto the threshold 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 jewel-work of snow on the limbs of night; Thou elaboration of oneness; Thou shower of universal suns: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou gorgeous, Thou wildering one; O Thou great lion roaring over a sea of blood! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till the wild thunder of my praise breaketh down, as a satyr doth a babe, the nine and ninety gates of Thy Power, in the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, exalt me with blood and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all my courage is but as the fang of a viper that striketh at the rosy heel of dawn.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all the joy of my days lies dishonoured as the spangle-veil'd Virgin of night torn and trampled by the sun-lashed stallions of Dawn. Yet in the frenzy of their couplings do I tremble forth the pearly dew of ecstatic light.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou red fire-fang that gnawest the blue limbs of night? O Thou devouring breath of flame! Thou illimitable ocean of frenzied air, in whom all is one, a plume cast into a furnace! O how can I dare to approach and stand before Thee, for I am but as a withered leaf whirled away by the anger of the storm?

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 VERACHIEL, ruler of ARI, by the name of the True and Living God HVYH, 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 Leo, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name VERACHIEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Leo are 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 Leo as the "Power of Training Wild Beasts." For best results, your charge should fall within that area. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Leo's sphere of influence, and that could cause the ritual to fail. Remember that Leo can be used to work with conditioned responses in addition to literal animal training.

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 VERACHIEL 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 HVYH, 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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