Monday, April 3, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Aquarius

This article is Part Eleven 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, Part Nine can be found here, and Part Ten 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 Aquarius. In Liber 777, Aquarius is attributed to "Astrology." From the standpoint of divination, you can use this power to help you gain insight into any particular astrological chart, or obtain information about particular planetary aspects that may influence other operations. Also, from a practical perspective, this power can be used to energize magical effects that are primarily based on astrological aspects, or conversely, to mediate their effects.

One example of an effect based on astrological timing would be the sort of alchemical work taught by the Philosophers of Nature and published by Jean DuBuis in The Experience of Eternity. This style of working eschews ceremonial forms entirely, relying on "exposing" talismans to astrological influences at key points in time. An Aquarius operation could be theoretically be combined with this method to enhance the astrological effects on the talismans and other materials.

Likewise, operations from The Picatrix are heavily dependent upon astrological aspects and timing. I've mentioned in the past that I haven't had success with Christopher Warnock's Picatrix rituals, but perhaps employing an Aquarius operation in conjunction with one of those might make it work better. At this point I have enough on my plate that I'm not going be running experiments along those lines any time soon, but if anyone wants to give it a shot, I would like to hear their results.

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 Aquarius, the four scales of color are Violet, Sky Blue, Bluish Mauve, and White Tinged Purple. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Violet. Its complement is greenish yellow. 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 Aquarius. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Aquarius on the Kamea. The Angel of Aquarius is Cambriel, spelled Kaph-Aleph-Mem-Beth-Resh-Aleph-Lamed. The Saturn kamea is 3x3, so the highest number in the square is 9. This means Kaph needs to be reduced from 20 to 2, mem needs to be reduced from 40 to 4, Resh needs to be reduced from 200 to 2, and Lamed needs to be reduced from 30 to 3. This yields 2 (20), 1, 4 (40), 2, 2 (200), 1, 3 (30). The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Aquarius is galbanum. The associated plants are olive and coconut. The associated metal is lead, and the associated precious stones are artificial glass and chalcedony. Note that for this purpose, the stones 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 glass, chalcedony, 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 Aquarius is the eleventh permutation of Tetragrammaton, HYVH. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Heh-Yod-Vav-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 "Hey-Vah."

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

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 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.

The Table of Art shown above is from The Digital Ambler. You can read about the design and how it was put together here. You can click on the image to enlarge.

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.

Not that the standard Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram is NOT the "Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram for Saturn." Apparently at least one of the Golden Dawn groups teaches that you can do "Lesser Hexagrams" for the different planets by tracing them from different points. In the operant system this doesn't make any sense, and I'm not sure that it did in the original Golden Dawn system either.

Lesser does not mean "worse" and Greater does not mean "better" - and as I've mentioned before, I dislike that nomenclature because of those connotations. Lesser means "general" because you use the Lesser rituals to set up your fields, and Greater means "specific" because those rituals call upon specific aspects associated with the magical visions and powers. Therefore, a "Lesser Hexagram" of a particular power is inherently contradictory, at least as I understand it.

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 Aquarius. The invoking hexagram of Aquarius 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 Aquarius in Violet while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah).
  2. Trace the symbol of Aquarius in the center of the hexagram in greenish yellow while vibrating HYVH (Hey-Vah).
The final figure being traced to all four directions should look like this:

Once the four figures are traced, return to face the east completing the circle.

Then, recite the following unification statement adapted from Liber 963.

1. O Thou Empress of Light and of Darkness, Thou pourer-forth of the stars of night! Yea, as I gaze upon Thy Countenance, mine eyes are as the eyes of a blind man smitten by a torch of burning fire.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the wine-cups of merriment, and the eyes of the wanton bearers, and all the lure of their soft limbs; so that I may be made drunk on the vine of Thy splendour, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou Eternal river of chaotic law, in whose depths lie locked the secrets of Creation; I swear to Thee by the primal waters of the Deep, to suck up the Firmament of Thy Chaos, and as a volcano to belch forth a Cosmos of coruscating suns.

4. O Thou Sovran Surging of wild felicity, whose love is as the overflowing of the seas, and who makest our bodies to laugh with beauty. I know Thee! O Thou outstrider of the sunset, who deckest the snow-capped mountains with red roses, and strewest white violets on the curling waves.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the sparkling dew of the wild glades: Thou hast decked them out as for a great feast of rejoicing, so that they may gleam forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as the sapphirine waves that cling to the shimmering limbs of the green rocks; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may chant in foaming music Thy Glory, and roll forth the eternal rapture of Thy Name: O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou wanton cup-bearer of madness, whose mouth is as the joy of a thousand thousand masterful kisses; intoxicate me on Thy loveliness, so that the silver of Thy merriment may revel as a moon-white pearl upon my tongue.

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 silken web of emerald bewitchment; Thou berylline mist of marshy meers; Thou flame-spangled fleece of seething gold: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou pearly dew of the setting moon; O Thou dark purple storm-cloud of contending kisses! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till all my laughter, like enchaunted waters, is blown as an iris-web of bubbles from the lips of the deep, in the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, order me justly and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all my thoughts are as a dust-clad serpent wind at noon that danceth through the ashen grass of law.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all my song is as the dirge of the sea that moans about a corpse, lapping most mournfully against the dead shore in the darkness. Yet in the sob of the wind do I hear Thy name, that quickeneth the cold lips of death to life.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou teeming desert of the abundance of night? O Thou river of unquench'd thirst! Thou tongueless one who lickest up the dust of death and casteth it forth as the rolling ocean of life! O how can I possess the still depths of Thy darkness, and yet in Thine embrace fall asleep as a child in a bower of lilies?

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 CAMBRIEL, ruler of DELI, by the name of the True and Living God HYVH, 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 Aquarius, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name CAMBRIEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Aquarius 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 Aquarius as "Astrology." For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Aquarius' 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 CAMBRIEL 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 HYVH, 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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Samat said...

Hello Scott. Agrippa and Magical Calendar consider Gabriel to be the archangel of Aquarius but Ars Paulina says it's Kambriel (though I couldn't find where in the text itself it says this). Gabriel ruling over an air sign makes no sense. How did such a mistake occur in Agrippa or is that even a mistake?

Scott Stenwick said...

I am not sure that it would be a mistake so much as differences between traditions. The various grimoire sources that Agrippa was compiling together were not all the same as far as spirit attributions and so forth.

Angels can have multiple attributions and so can planets, signs, and elements. Thinking of them as one-to-one is where a lot of confusion comes from, because that perspective just is not correct.

Gabriel, for example, corresponds to Water, the Moon, and Yesod. Michael corresponds to Fire, The Sun, and Hod. Raphael corresponds to Air, Mercury, and Tiphareth. Yesod is also attributed to the Moon, so Gabriel lines up easily. But Hod is attributed to Mercury and Tiphareth is attributed to the Sun, so in effect you could think of both Michael and Raphael as angels of both Sun and Mercury.

Which is all okay, because they just don't map one-to-one. Don't assume that's true of any other angel either. There might be a tradition out there where Gabriel works for Aquarius, but it isn't the one that I practice.

Samat said...

Scott, do we need to calculate Saturn chart victors for Aquarius and Capricorn? Saturn spends most of the year in its retrograde period more than any other planet and hence it is rarely worked with. Since the whole point of an Aquarius operation is to enhance a talisman or petition's function, would a chart victor still needed to be calculated for best results?

Secondly, does this also work on petitions or just talismans? I would think this work on both. For example, if you did a Virgo talismanic spell or petition for health, followed by an Aquarius operation to enhance the spell. Would this work better than just charging Cambriel to enhance the positive aspects of the person's natal health aspects?

Samat said...

So what has been your experience working with Cambriel in improving your chart's natal afflictions? Do you recommend it or do you recommend working with the angel that rules the sign transiting your afflicted house? I think the former is easier because that is practically Cambriel's job.

Also, is it possible to request the angel to appear in a specific gender? I find that water and earth triplicity angels appear to me as female and fire and air triplicity as male, always. Same goes for the 4 elemental kings.

Scott Stenwick said...

Ideally you want a Saturn chart victor for Aquarius. But retrograde has no effect on the chart victor - remember, it's the sign, not the planet. You just want the victor to be compatible. An Aquarius operation will work fine as long as the chart victor is not the Sun, which is in detriment in Aquarius. It works best with Saturn, but can still be okay with a neutral chart victor.

I would expect petitions and talismans to work the same in this regard. Astrological weather is what it is, and affects magick in general the same way. I haven't tried that specific combination, but it sounds to me like it should work.

I've had limited success with operations like that, but I haven't done enough to work to tell you which exact approach works best. I generally have just done Aquarius operations like one and given the charge, without really digging deeper into it.

Angels can appear as any gender, so I would expect you could request a specific form. They aren't human so their natural form is like a structure made of energy or something like that. So they're naturally genderless.