Monday, March 6, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Libra

This article is Part Seven 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, and Part Six 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 Libra. In Liber 777, Libra is attributed to "Works of Justice and Equilibrium." Longtime readers will recognize this operation as very similar to this Libra ritual that I posted last year. My methods have not changed much since then. Justice and equilibrium are concepts you can employ to do rituals like the "karma spells" that some folks prefer to flat-out curses. The idea is that instead of heaping more negativity on a target, to instead perform a ritual to get them "what's coming to them." Like the "binding versus cursing" argument, much of the time this is put forth by people who believe in silly superstitions like the "threefold law" or the toxic Theosophical version of "karma" that no Buddhist or Hindu would recognize.

Still, that is not to imply that Libra rituals are worthless in any sense of the word. In fact, there are a number of cases in which they are extremely useful. If you have an enemy that you want to push back against but are unsure of what would be a proportional response, you can go with Libra rather than Saturn or Mars. As the angel's sphere of expertise concerns balance and equilibrium, they should be able to make the call based on the objective nature of the opposition rather than a knee-jerk reaction. Libra rituals can also be used for legal victories, so long as you are in the right. If you really did commit a crime or offense and are trying to get away with it, a Libra operation won't help you nearly as much.

In your personal work, balance and equilibrium can also help you with establishing conditions suitable for the "work-life balance" vaunted by self-help gurus and human potential experts. It can help you stabilize your mind such that the foundation of your magical practice is more firm and above disturbance by events that are relatively minor in the overall scheme of things. It can help to create balanced circumstances in your relationships and, if applicable, your family life. In short, it is an extremely useful power with many possible practical 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 Libra, the four scales of color are Emerald Green, Blue, Deep Blue-Green, Pale Green. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Emerald Green. Its complement is scarlet. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel.

The sigil should be traced onto the Kamea of Venus, as Venus is the ruler of Libra. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Libra on the Kamea. The Angel of Libra is Zuriel, spelled Zayin-Vav-Resh-Yod-Aleph-Lamed. The Venus kamea is 7x7, so the highest number in the square is 49. This means Resh needs to be reduced from 200 to 20. This yields 7, 6, 20 (200), 10, 1, 30. The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Libra is Galbanum. The associated plant is aloe. The associated metal is copper, and the associated precious stone is emerald. Note that for this purpose, the stone 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 emerald 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.

The god-name for the path of Libra is the seventh permutation of Tetragrammaton, VHYH. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Vav-Heh-Yod-Heh). 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 "Veh-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 Libra operation is on a Friday, during an hour of Venus that falls during the day. This is because Venus rules Libra, and because the sign Libra belongs to the Diurnal sect. Since you are employing ceremonial forms to tune the space you could do it during a night hour of Venus 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 Victors for a Libra operation are Venus (Rulership) and Saturn (Exaltation). The Chart Victors to always avoid are Mars (Detriment) and Sun (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 Mercury 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 Libra. The invoking hexagram of Libra is traced by starting at the lower right point and tracing the upward triangle clockwise from that point, and then moving on to the upper left point and tracing the downward 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 Libra in Emerald Green while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah).
  2. Trace the symbol of Libra in the center of the hexagram in scarlet while vibrating VHYH (Veh-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 great labour of the Firmament, Thou tempest tossed roaring of the Aires! Yea, as I sink in the depths of Thine affliction, mine anguish is but as the smile on the lips of a sleeping babe.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the sorrow of my mother, and the threshold of my home, and all the labour of my father's hands; so that I may be led unto the Mansion of Thy Light, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou unalterable measure of all things, in whose lap lie the destinies of unborn worlds; I swear to Thee by the balance of Light and Darkness, to spread out the blue vault as a looking- glass, and flash forth therefrom the intolerable lustre of Thy Countenance.

4. O Thou Sovran Might of the most ancient forests, whose voice is as the murmur of unappeasable winds caught up in the arms of the swaying branches. I know Thee! O Thou rumble of conquering drums, who lulleth to a rapture of deep sleep those lovers who burn into each other, flame to fine flame.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the gilded rout of dancing-girls: Thou hast garlanded their naked middles with fragrant flowers, so that they may pace forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a Balance of rubies and jet that is cast in the lap of the Sun; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may flash forth the wonder of Thy brightness, and melt into the perfect poise of Thy Being: O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou green-cloaked Maenad in labour, who bearest beneath Thy leaden girdle the vintage of Thy kisses; release me from the darkness of Thy womb, so that I may cast off my infant wrappings and leap forth as an armed warrior in steel.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the Crown of the flaming storm; nor the opalescence of the Abyss: O Thou who art not a nymph in the foam of the sea; nor a whirling devil in the sand of the desert! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Bear me in the unity of Thy might, and pour me forth from out the cup 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 Crown of unutterable loveliness; Thou feather of hyalescent flame; Thou all-beholding eye of brightness: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou resplendent everlasting one: O Thou vast abysmal ocean of foaming flames! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till the stars leap like white coursers from the night, and the heavens resound as an army of steel-clad warriors, at the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, measure me rightly and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all my praise is but as a single letter of lead lost in the gilded scriptures of the rocks.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all my joy is as a cloud of dust blown athwart a memory of tears, even across the shadowless brow of the desert. Yet as from the breast of a slave-girl do I pluck the fragrant blossom of Thy Crimson Splendour.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou dazzler of the deep obscurity of day? O Thou golden breast of beauty! Thou shrivelled udder of the storm-blasted mountains, who no longer sucklest the babe-clouds of wind-swept night! O how can I gaze upon Thy countenance of eld, and yet be not blinded by the black fury of Thy dethroned Majesty?

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 ZURIEL, ruler of MOZNAIM, by the name of the True and Living God VHYH, 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 Libra, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name ZURIEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Libra 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 Libra as "Works of Justice and Equilibrium." For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Libra's sphere of influence, and that could cause the ritual to fail. Note that this is a very extensive power that can be applied in many different situations.

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 ZURIEL 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 VHYH, 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.

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Arthur Yanik said...

Hey Scott. I was just wondering if you might consider writing in the future an article or 'tidbit' of some sort regarding evocations and communicating with spirits. While I understand this is a very personal issue, that could vary greatly from person to person, it's one of the few subjects that really isn't touched upon that much and that I think is an important aspect of Practical and Mystic works. Do you happen to know of any books that touch upon the subject or any fellow bloggers?

Thanks in advance!

Scott Stenwick said...

I know how I do it. Some people like the dark mirror scrying stuff, but I've never been very good at that. What I find works better is using the "travel in the spirit vision" method. It's similar to what I discuss in these pathworking articles, but it can also be used with evocations that are performed for mystical goals or obtaining information.

What you do is go ahead and evoke the spirit into the Table of Art, then sit down in a meditative asana and run through the induction. Once you're in the body of light, project into the Table so you can interact with the spirit. You can test it by vibrating the godname, which should strengthen the manifestation if it's genuine.

The other test you should do is ask for a word of power or a number once you're done interacting. If you get a word, work out the gematria to get a number. Otherwise, use the number that you're given. Look your number up in a resource like Sepher Sephiroth or Godwin's Cabalistic Encyclopedia and see if you can find a relationship between the number and the spirit's sphere of influence, or corresponding to what was communicated.

The point there is to identify information that conforms to the nature of the spirit or your communication that you couldn't possibly know. That helps you separate genuine communications from wishful thinking on your part or unexamined assumptions or whatever. Separating your own thoughts from spirit communication can be challenging without a method like that.

Is that the sort of thing you were looking for? Part of the reason that books don't do a good job of covering it is that there are a lot of variables depending on what works best for each person. The point is to find a method that works well for you, whatever that happens to be.

Arthur Yanik said...

Thanks for all the useful information. Yes, that's sort of what I was looking for. I will definitely be giving it a thorough try :D

Many thanks!