Monday, March 13, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Scorpio

This article is Part Eight 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, and Part Seven 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 Scorpio. In Liber 777, Scorpio is attributed to "Necromancy." Necromancy refers to communication with the spirits of the dead. So this power is appropriate for any operation dealing with those who have passed beyond this life, such as work with deceased ancestors or straightforward mediumship - the real kind, mind you, not the "cold reading" trickery practiced by many professional self-proclaimed psychics. Ceremonial forms help a great deal when communicating with the spirits of the dead, since they usually are quite difficult to reach unless they are recently deceased, and without a clear, focused method, it is all too easy to contact the wrong spirit or entity.

In my opinion, the modern Christian model of the afterlife is almost certainly wrong. For example, there are a handful of cases in which some objective evidence exists for reincarnation, and the Christian model is absolutist enough that even a single counterexample effectively disproves it. This doesn't necessarily undermine Christian teachings per se, aside from removing the incentive to "be good" due to fear rather than virtue - which I can't imagine any deity would be particularly pleased with anyway. If somebody needs the threat of Hell in order to refrain from randomly murdering people, I want to stay as far away from them as possible.

The practical point here, from the standpoint of necromancy, is that dead don't just "hang out" in Heaven or Hell for all eternity, and that means that you can't always get ahold of a particular ancestor because their soul may have moved on in one sense or another, whether reincarnating into the world, dissolving into the infinite, or whatever. The "End" collect in the Gnostic Mass includes many different possible final outcomes, depending on the nature of each individual will. This is important because there are such things as earthbound spirits, who you can always reach and who like to lie. They'll say whatever will keep you talking, and they are entirely willing to impersonate ancestors or anyone else.

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 Scorpio, the four scales of color are Green Blue, Dull Brown, Very Dark Brown, and Livid Indigo Brown. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Blue Green. Its complement is red orange. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel.

The sigil should be traced onto the Kamea of Mars, as Mars is the ruler of Scorpio. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Scorpio on the Kamea. The Angel of Scorpio is Barachiel, spelled Beth-Resh-Kaph-Yod-Aleph-Lamed. The Mars kamea is 5x5, so the highest number in the square is 25. This means Resh needs to be reduced from 200 to 20 and Lamed needs to be reduced from 30 to 3. This yields 2, 20 (200), 20, 10, 1, 3. The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Scorpio is Siamese Benzoin or Opoponax. The associated plants are cactus, nettle, and all poisonous plants. The associated metal is iron, and the associated precious stone is snakestone. 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 Scorpio is the eighth permutation of Tetragrammaton, VHHY. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Vav-Heh-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 "Veh-Hey."

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

The other planets are essentially neutral, and will neither impede nor aid your operation, though if you can wait until the Chart Victor is 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 Scorpio. The invoking hexagram of Scorpio is traced by starting at the upper left point and tracing the downward triangle clockwise from that point, and then moving on to the lower right 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 Scorpio in Blue Green while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah).
  2. Trace the symbol of Scorpio in the center of the hexagram in red orange while vibrating VHHY (Veh-Hey).
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 depths of the Inconceivable, Thou cryptic, unutterable God! Yea, as I attempt to understand Thee, my wisdom is but as an abacus in the lap of an aged man.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the yearning for Paradise, and the dark fear of Hell, and the feast of the corruption of the grave; so that as a child I may be led unto Thy Kingdom, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou who settest forth the limitless expanse, spanned by wings of thunder above the cosmic strife; I swear to Thee by the voiceless dust of the desert, to soar above the echos of shrieking life, and as an eagle to feast for ever upon the silence of the stars.

4. O Thou Sovran Guide of the star-wheeling circles, the soles of whose feet smite plumes of golden fire from the outermost annihilation of the Abyss. I know Thee! O Thou crimson sword of destruction, who chasest the comets from the dark bed of night, till they speed before Thee as serpent tongues of flame.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the riotous joy of the storm: Thou hast shaken the gold-dust from the tresses of the hills, so that they may chaunt forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a brown Scorpion that creepeth on through a vast desert of silver; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may lose myself in the span of Thy light, and become one with the glitter of Thy Shadow: O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou snake of misty countenance, whose braided hair is like a fleecy dawn of swooning maidens; hunt me as a fierce wild boar through the skies, so that Thy burning spear may gore the blue heavens red with the foaming blood of my frenzy.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the Formless breath of Chaos; nor the exhaler of the ordered spheres: O Thou who art not the cloud-cradled star of the morning; nor the sun, drunken upon the mist, who blindeth men! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Guide me in the unity of Thy might, and lead me to the fatherhood 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 star-blaze of undying expectation; Thou ibis-throated voice of silence; Thou blinding night of understanding: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou white finger of Chaotic law; O Thou creative cockatrice twined amongst the waters! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till my cries stir the night as the burnished gold of a lance thrust into a poisonous dragon of adamant, for the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, fill me with slumber and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all my wakefulness is but as a cloud at sunset that is like a snake gliding through the dew.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all the feastings of my flesh have sickened to the wormy hunger of the grave, writhing in the spasms of indolent decay. Yet in the maggots of my corruption do I shadow forth sunlit hosts of crowned eagles.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou seraph-venom of witch-vengeance enchaunted? O Thou coiled wizardry of stars! Thou one Lord of life triumphant over death, Thou red rose of love nailed to the cross of golden light! O how can I die in Thee as sea-foam in the clouds, and yet possess Thee as a frail white mist possessess the stripped limbs of the Sun?

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 BARACHIEL, ruler of AKRAB, by the name of the True and Living God VHHY, 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 Scorpio, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name BARACHIEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Scorpio 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 Scorpio as "Necromancy." For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Scorpio's 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 BARACHIEL 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 VHHY, 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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