Monday, March 20, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Sagittarius

This article is Part Nine 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, and Part Eight 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 Sagittarius. In Liber 777, Sagittarius is attributed to "Transmutations" and the "Vision of Universal Peacock." The latter will be addressed in greater detail in the context of the Path of Initiation. In brief, it refers to the transition from lunar to solar consciousness and is represented in laboratory alchemy as a stage called the "Peacock's Tail" because of the iridescent oil produced at that point in the process. Transmutation also alludes to the alchemical nature of the path of Sagittarius, which connects Yesod (The Moon) and Tiphareth (The Sun) on the Tree of Life.

Transmutation is an extremely useful power with practically unlimited applications. It can be used in its literal sense to aid laboratory alchemical operations, or in a more metaphoric sense to transmuted one situation or state into another. As the fundamental point of magical operations is to produce change in conformity with will, this power may be thought of as a relatively basic one that overlaps with a number of other powers. For example, you could use it for healing, to transmute a state of illness into that of health. Or, you could use it for financial purposes, to transmute a state of poverty into that of wealth. And so forth.

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 Sagittarius, the four scales of color are Blue, Yellow, Green, and Dark Vivid Blue. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Blue. Its complement is orange. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel.

The sigil should be traced onto the Kamea of Jupiter, as Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Sagittarius on the Kamea. The Angel of Sagittarius is Advachiel, spelled Aleph-Daleth-Vav-Kaph-Yod-Aleph-Lamed. The Jupiter kamea is 4x4, so the highest number in the square is 16. This means Kaph needs to be reduced from 20 to 2 and Lamed needs to be reduced from 30 to 3. This yields 1, 4, 6, 2 (20), 10, 1, 3 (30). The final figure should look something like this:


From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Sagittarius is lign-aloes. The associated plants are rushes. The associated metal is tin, and the associated precious stone is jacinth. 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 snakestone or iron 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 Sagittarius is the ninth permutation of Tetragrammaton, VYHH. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Vav-Yod-Heh-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 "Vey-Heh."

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 Sagittarius operation is on a Thursday, during an hour of Jupiter that falls during the day. This is because Jupiter rules Sagittarius, and because the sign Sagittarius belongs to the Diurnal sect. Since you are employing ceremonial forms to tune the space you could do it during a night hour of Jupiter 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 Sagittarius operation is Jupiter (Rulership). No planet is exalted in Sagittarius. The Chart Victor to always avoid is Mercury (Detriment). No planet is in fall in Sagittarius.

The other planets are essentially neutral, and will neither impede nor aid your operation, though if you can wait until the Chart Victor is Jupiter 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 Sagittarius. The invoking hexagram of Sagittarius is traced by starting at the upper right point and tracing the downward triangle clockwise from that point, and then moving on to the lower left 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 Sagittarius in Blue while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah).
  2. Trace the symbol of Sagittarius in the center of the hexagram in orange while vibrating VYHH (Vey-Heh).
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 transfigured dream of blinding light, Thou beatitude of wonderment! Yea, as I behold Thee, mine understanding is but as the glimpse of a rainbow through a storm of blinding snow.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the moonlit peaks of the mountains, and the arrow-shapen kiss of the firs, and all the travail of the winds; so that I may be lost on the summit of Thy Glory, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou flame-tipped arrow of devouring fire that quiverest as a tongue in the dark mouth of Night; I swear to Thee by the thurible of Thy Glory, to breathe the incense of mine understanding, and to cast the ashes of my wisdom into the Valley of Thy breast.

4. O Thou Sovran Archer of the darksome regions, who shooteth forth from Thy transcendental crossbow the many-rayed suns into the fields of heaven. I know Thee! O Thou eight-pointed arrow of light, who smiteth the regions of the seven rivers until they laugh like Maenads with snaky thyrsus.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the stars and meteors of Night: Thou hast caparisoned her grey coursers with moons of pearl, so that they may shake forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a green arrow of Lightning that speedeth through the purple clouds of Night; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may wake fire from the crown of Thy Wisdom, and flash into the depths of Thine Understanding: O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou cloudy Virgin of the World, whose breasts are as scarlet lilies paling before the sun; dandle me in the cradle of Thine arms, so that the murmur of Thy voice may lull me to a sleep like a pearl lost in the depths of a silent sea.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the vitality of worlds; nor the breath of star-entangled Being: O Thou who art not horsed 'mid the centaur clouds of night; nor the twanging of the shuddering bowstring of noon! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Throne me in the unity of Thy might, and stab me with the javelin 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 seven-rayed rainbow of perfect loveliness; Thou light-rolling chariot of sunbeams; Thou fragrant scent of the passing storm: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou breath of the slumbering valleys; O Thou low-murmuring ripple of the ripe cornfields! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till, as the mingling blushes of day and night, my song weaveth the joys of life into a gold and purple Crown, for the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, kindle me with joy and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all the strength of my mind is but as a web of silk that bindeth the milky breasts of the stars.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all my craft is as an injured arrow, featherless and twisted, that should be loosed from its bowstring by the hands of an infant. Yet in the wayward struggling of its flight do I grip the unwavering courses of Thy wisdom.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou soft pearl set in a bow of effulgent light? O Thou drop of shimmering dew! Thou surging river of bewildering beauty who speedest as a blue arrow of fire beyond, beyond! O how can I measure the poisons of Thy limbeck, and yet be for ever transmuted in the athanor of Thine understanding?

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 ADVACHIEL, ruler of QESHETH, by the name of the True and Living God VYHH, 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 Sagittarius, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name ADVACHIEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Sagittarius 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 Sagittarius as "Transmutations." For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Sagittarius' sphere of influence, and that could cause the ritual to fail. Note that transmutation is a very general power, and is applicable to a wide variety of magical operations.

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 ADVACHIEL 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 VYHH, 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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2 comments:

enokiano1 said...

Hi Scott ¡¡¡

And what happens with the alchemy ?We could apply the steps of alchemy for the signs of the zodiac? for example Alchemical Dissolution,Alchemical Congelation,Alchemical Fixation,Alchemical Separation and so on I think this can be impressive both for Initiation and for different rituals where we can metaphorically work with the proper zodiac sign

Scott Stenwick said...

I have not played around with that idea myself, but it sounds like a viable approach. You have an element for each sign, and a modality - cardinal, mutable, and fixed. You can map the modalities to the alchemical Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury principles like so:

Cardinal - Sulphur
Mutable - Mercury
Fixed - Salt

I think that should give you much of what you need to put together a zodiacal system of alchemy. Aries would be Sulphur of Fire, Taurus would be Salt of Earth, Gemini would be Mercury of Air, and so forth. So you could use a zodiacal ritual of the appropriate sign to enhance the product of whatever element/stage you are working with.

Or at least, that would be my first guess. As always, experimentation is probably required to get all the details and attributions right.