Monday, March 27, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Capricorn

This article is Part Ten in a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, Part Three can be found here, Part Four can be found here, Part Five can be found here, Part Six can be found here, Part Seven can be found here, Part Eight can be found here, and Part Nine 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 Capricorn. In Liber 777, Capricorn is attributed to "The Witches' Sabbath so-called, the Evil Eye." The Evil Eye is a kind of general curse that cast by gaze. It was believed to cause injury and/or general misfortune, so in a sense it behaves like a weaker version of a Saturn curse. This is generally coherent and makes sense, because Saturn rules the sign Capricorn.

"The Witches' Sabbath so-called" requires further explanation. From Wikipedia: "The Witches' Sabbath or Sabbat is a meeting of those who practice witchcraft and other rites. European records indicate cases of persons being accused or tried for taking part in Sabbat gatherings, from the Middle Ages to the 17th century or later. Distinguishable features that are typically contained within a Witches' Sabbat are assembly by foot, beast, or flight, a banquet, dancing and cavorting, and sexual intercourse."

Many experts who have studied the witchcraft trials of the Renaissance period have concluded that in most cases, these "Sabbats" never really occurred. Instead, they sprung from the imagination of repressed inquisitors, and people confessed to taking part in them under torture. So we probably are not talking about real magical operations, at least not historically. Some modern witches do perform rituals that draw on aspects of this folklore, so Capricorn would likely be an appropriate aspect for such rituals if ceremonial forms are being employed.

The "so-called" hints at another allusion, which is to sex magick in general. Liber A’ash vel Capricorni Pneumatici is a pretty straightforward poetic exposition of the sigilization technique popularized by Austin Osman Spare and employed extensively in the modern chaos magick system. Likewise, the "Great Rite" in modern witchcraft is an actual or symbolic sex magick operation. Since this power is related more to a specific magical technique than to a particular intent, it has many potential applications.

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 Capricorn, the four scales of color are Indigo, Black, Blue-Black, and Cold Dark Gray near black. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Indigo. Its complement is amber. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel.

The sigil should be traced onto the Kamea of Saturn, as Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Caoricorn on the Kamea. The Angel of Capricorn is Hanael, spelled Heh-Nun-Aleph-Lamed. The Saturn kamea is 3x3, so the highest number in the square is 9. This means Nun needs to be reduced from 50 to 5 and Lamed needs to be reduced from 30 to 3. This yields 5, 5 (50), 1, 3 (30). The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incenses appropriate to Capricorn are musk, civet, and incenses attributed to Saturn. The associated plants are Indian hemp, orchis root, thistle, and yohimba. The associated metal is lead, and the associated precious stone is black diamond. Note that for this purpose, the stone need not be gem quality, though I have no idea if industrial black diamonds are even a thing. A regular industrial diamond is probably acceptable.

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 diamond or lead 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 Capricorn is the tenth permutation of Tetragrammaton, HYHV. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Heh-Yod-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 "Hey-Hav."

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 Capricorn operation is on a Saturday, during an hour of Saturn that falls during the night. This is because Saturn rules Capricorn, and because the sign Capricorn belongs to the Nocturnal sect. Since you are employing ceremonial forms to tune the space you could do it during a day hour of Saturn as well, but a night 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 Capricorn operation are Saturn (Rulership) and Mars (Exaltation). The Chart Victors to always avoid are the Moon (Detriment) and Jupiter (Fall).

The other planets are essentially neutral, and will neither impede nor aid your operation, though if you can wait until the Chart Victor is Saturn or Mars 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 Capricorn. The invoking hexagram of Capricorn is traced by starting at the top point and tracing the upward triangle clockwise from that point, and then moving on to the bottom point and tracing the upward triangle clockwise from that point. Beginning in the east, go to each quarter in turn and perform the following actions.

  1. 1. Trace the Hexagram of Capricorn in Indigo while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah).
  2. Trace the symbol of Capricorn in the center of the hexagram in amber while vibrating HYHV (Hey-Hav).
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 steel-girdered mountain of mountains, Thou crested summit of Majesty! Yea, as I climb Thy grandeur, I find I have but surmounted one mote of dust floating in a beam of Thy Glory.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the goatish ache of the years, and the cryptic books, and all the majesty of their enshrouded words; so that I may be entangled in Thy wordless Wisdom, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou ruin of the mountains, glistening as an old white wolf above the fleecy mists of Earth; I swear to Thee by the galaxies of Thy domain, to press Thy lamb's breasts with the teeth of my soul, and drink of the milk and blood of Thy subtlety and innocence.

4. O Thou Sovran Paladin of self-vanquished knights, whose path lieth through the trackless forests of time, winding athrough the Byss of unbegotten space. I know Thee! O Thou despiser of the mountains, Thou whose course is as that of a lightening-hoofed steed leaping along the green bank of a fair river.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the precious stones of the black earth: Thou hast lightened her with a myriad eyes of magic, so that she may wink forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a flint-black goat that pranceth in a shining wilderness of steel; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may paw one flashing spark from Thy Splendour, and be welded into the Glory of Thy might: O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou wine-voiced laughter of fainting gloom, who art as a naked faun crushed to death between millstones of thunder; make me drunk on the rapture of Thy song, so that in the corpse-clutch of my passion I may tear the cloud-robe from off Thy swooning breast.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the Pan-pipe in the forest; nor life's blue sword wrapped in the cloak of death: O Thou who art not found amongst the echoes of the hills; nor in the whisperings that wake within the valleys! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Crown me in the unity of Thy might, and flash me as a scarlet tongue into 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 zigzagged effulgence of the burning stars; Thou wilderment of indigo light; Thou grey horn of immaculate fire: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou embattled cloud of flashing flame; O Thou capricious serpent-head of scarlet hair! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till my roaring filleth the wooded mountains, and like a giant forceth the wind's head through the struggling trees, in the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, behold me fully and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all my searching is as a bat that seeks some hollow of night upon a sun-parched wilderness.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all my faith is as a filthy puddle in the sinister confines of a forest, splashed by the wanton foot of a young gnome. Yet like a wildfire through the trees at nightfall do I divine the distant glimmer of Thine Eye.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou disrober of the darkness of the Abyss? O Thou veil'd eye of creation! Thou soundless voice who, for ever misunderstood, rollest on through the dark abysms of infinity! O how can I learn to sing the music of Thy name, as a quivering silence above the thundering discord of the tempest?

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 HANAEL, ruler of GEDI, by the name of the True and Living God HYHV, 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 Capricorn, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name HANAEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Capricorn 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 Capricorn as "The Witches' Sabbath so-called, the Evil Eye." For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Capricorn's sphere of influence, and that could cause the ritual to fail. Note that Capricorn is attributed to sex magick in general, and as such, and is applicable to a wide variety of magical operations that employ those methods.

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 HANAEL 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 HYHV, 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.

Note that this does not mean if at some point following the ritual you do a microcosmic banishing like an LBRP as, say, part of your daily practice the ritual will be dispelled. The effect of the ritual should stabilize within 15-20 minutes, after which you can do any microcosmic banishing you please as part of your regular daily practices or as part of another ritual.

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