Monday, April 10, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Pisces

This article is Part Twelve 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, Part Ten can be found here, and Part Eleven 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. Just as a point, I checked the site today and they only have six copies left out of a limited run of 500. So if you were thinking about picking up a copy of the book, you should probably do so before they are all gone.

Today I will be moving on to the sign Pisces. In Liber 777, Pisces is attributed to "Bewitchments, Casting Illusions." So what we're talking about here is mind-to-mind type magical operations. The power of casting illusions can be used to alter the perceptions of others, and the power of bewitchment can be used to influence the thinking of others. "Mind control" would perhaps be too strong a term for this power, but "Mind Influence" would probably be an appropriate description.

As you can probably discern, this is another of the zodiacal powers that has many applications with potentially broad implications. Especially in the modern world, perception is incredibly important. And for most things that lie beyond our abilities to control via normal means, the decisions of others are generally paramount. Being able to shift both of these functions to our advantage can lead to great success in all manner of endeavors.

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 Pisces, the four scales of color are Crimson or Ultraviolet, Buff Flecked Silver-White, Light Translucent Pinkish Brown, and "Stone Colour." I generally think of this as the brownish slate gray color that is common to many rocks. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Crimson. Its complement is yellowish green. 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 Pisces. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Pisces on the Kamea. The Angel of Pisces is Amnitziel, spelled Aleph-Mem-Nun-Yod-Tzaddi-Yod-Aleph-Lamed. The Jupiter kamea is 4x4, so the highest number in the square is 16. So Mem needs to be reduced from 40 to 4, Nun needs to be reduced from 50 to 5, Tzaddi needs to be reduced from 90 to 9, and Lamed needs to be reduced from 30 to 3. This yields 1, 4 (40), 5 (50), 10, 9 (90), 10, 1, 3 (30). The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Pisces is ambergris or menstrual fluid. Real ambergris can be difficult to get a hold of today, but there are close substitutes that can be found online. The associated plants are unicellular organisms, opium, and mangrove. As opium comes from the poppy plant, all sorts of poppies would be appropriate here. Poppy seeds should work, too, and these are widely available as a cooking spice. The associated metal is tin, and the associated precious stone is pearl. 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 pearl or tin 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 Pisces is the twelfth permutation of Tetragrammaton, HHVY. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Heh-Heh-Vav-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 "Heh-Vay."

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 Pisces operation is on a Thursday, during an hour of Jupiter that falls during the night. This is because Jupiter rules Pisces, and because the sign Pisces belongs to the Nocturnal sect. Since you are employing ceremonial forms to tune the space you could do it during a day hour of Jupiter 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 Pisces operation is Jupiter (Rulership) or Venus (Exaltation). The Chart Victor to always avoid is Mercury (both Detriment and 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 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.

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. Another option that I recently learned of is to use the Priest's portion of The Anthem from the Gnostic Mass as an empowering statement, which I expect would be particularly effective for anyone who performs the Gnostic Mass on a regular basis.

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 Pisces. The invoking hexagram of Pisces 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 Pisces in Crimson while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah).
  2. Trace the symbol of Pisces in the center of the hexagram in yellowish green while vibrating HHVY (Heh-Vay).
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 crimson gladness of the midnight, Thou flamingo North of brooding light! Yea, as I rise up before Thee, my joy is but as a raindrop smitten through by an arrow of the Western Sun.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the hissing of mad waters, and the trumpeting of the thunder, and all Thy tongues of dancing flame; so that I may be swept up in the breath of Thy nostrils, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou Dragon-regent of the blue seas of air, as a chain of emeralds round the neck of Space; I swear to Thee by the hexagram of Night and Day, to be unto Thee as the twin fish of Time, which being set apart never divulge the secret of their unity.

4. O Thou Sovran Diadem of crowned Wisdom, whose work knoweth the path of the sylphs of the air, and the black burrowings of the gnomes of the earth. I know Thee! O Thou Master of the ways of life, in the palm of whose hand all the arts lie bounden as a smoke-cloud betwixt the lips of the mountain.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the stillness of the frozen lakes: Thou hast made their faces more dazzling than a silver mirror, so that they may flash forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a silver fish darting through the vast depths of the dim-peopled waters; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may swim through the vastness of Thine abyss, and sink beneath the waveless depths of Thy Glory: O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou midnight Vision of Whiteness, whose lips are as pouting rosebuds deflowered by the deciduous moon; tend me as a drop of dew in Thy breast, so that the dragon of Thy gluttonous hate may devour me with its mouth of adamant.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the formulator of law; nor the Cheat of the maze of illusion: O Thou who art not the foundation-stone of existence; nor the eagle that broodeth upon the egg of space! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Swathe me in the unity of Thy might, and teach me wisdom from the lips 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 who broodest on the dark depths of the deep; Thou lap of the wave-glittering sea; Thou bright vesture of the crested floods: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou native splendour of the Waters; O Thou fathomless Abyss of surging joy! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till the mad swords of my music smite the hills, and rend the amethyst limbs of Night from the white embrace of Day, at the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, conquer me with love and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all the striving of my spirit is as a child's kiss that struggles through a cloud of tangled hair.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all my praise is as the song of a bird that is ensnared in the network of the winds, and cast adown the drowning depths of night. Yet in the faltering notes of my music do I mark the melody of universal truth.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou snow-browed storm that art whirled up in clouds of flame? O Thou red sword of the thunder! Thou great blue river of ever-flowing Brightness, over whose breasts creep the star-bannered vessels of night! O how can I plunge within Thine inscrutable depths, and yet with open eye be lost in the pearly foam of Thine Oblivion?

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 AMNITZIEL, ruler of DAGIM, by the name of the True and Living God HHVY, 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 Pisces, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name AMNITZIEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Pisces 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 Pisces as "Bewitchments, Casting Illusions." For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Pisces' 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 AMNITZIEL 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 HHVY, 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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Arthur Yanik said...

Hi Scott! I'm thinking about conducting a series of 'experiments' about 'Dream sending', meaning the ability to send a certain dream to a person (Say.. Me handing them a yellow flower). Have you ever had any success or experience with that sort of powers? On the other hand, I was doubting wether I should focus more on a Pisces operation or perhaps a Moon operation. What's your opinion on which would be more appropiate regarding dreams and the ability to 'send' them?

I'll probably be starting with me just sending an action, then an action and perhaps a color, then spoken word, and then dreams that perhaps dont involve me. The idea is to work with a person that can remember dreams perfectly and has a somewhat 'active dreamer' mindset. I wont be telling them what I will be sending, of course. Just that I will be sending something, and they should let me know if they ever dream about me, for instance.


Scott Stenwick said...

I have never experimented much with this myself, but I would be very interested in hearing your results if you go ahead with this and wind up wanting to share.

From the standpoint of the aspect to use, I would agree that it should be Pisces or the Moon, but it is hard to say which would be more effective. Pisces is casting illusions, which is basically what dreams are, and the Moon rules divination by dreams. I think I would maybe say Moon if I had to pick one, since it is explicitly associated with dreaming. But I also would not be surprised if Pisces turned out to work better.

One suggestion I would make is to limit actions, colors, words, and so forth to a particular set. That way, you know for sure what the odds are of guessing due to chance, and you can compare that to the results you actually get. So say that you're using colors - stick to the seven basic colors of the spectrum so that you know the odds of guessing right by chance are one in seven.

Arthur Yanik said...

I'll be letting you know how it all goes down ;) Thanks for the help!

Scott Stenwick said...

That sounds great. I look forward to hearing your results!