Monday, May 22, 2017

The Path of Initiation - Fire

This article is Part Four of a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, and Part Three can be found here.

Working with the Fire element is the fourth step on the path of initiation into the mysteries of Western Esotericism. On the Kircher Tree of Life, the mystical aspects of all four elements correspond to the tenth sephira, Malkuth, which represents the material world. The elements have both microcosmic (psychological) and macrocosmic (physical) components, and as with practical magick, aligning those components is the key to experiencing effective illumination and visionary work. Hence, I use the operant field in these rites just like I do for practical workings.

"Effective" is harder to define with rites of illumination than it is with practical magick. Practical magick is relatively simple to assess - you perform an operation with a specific objective, and then record whether it succeeds or fails. Effective visionary work should obtain information from the exterior world that you could not possible know by any other means, and effective illumination work should transform you in a positive way, increasing your degree of realization and in some real sense making you a "better person."

This process can be highly subjective, and failed initiatory operations often go unrecognized. I am of the opinion that a lot of the nonsense out there from certain allegedly "advanced" magical practitioners can be traced back to these sorts of initiatory failures, and this is a problem that has been acknowledged for a long time in the tradition. To avoid this, you always need to be skeptical about any apparent attainment.

Always test spirits. Always keep track of any changes you observe following illuminating and visionary experiences, and do your best to see if the changes you are seeing from your work are going in a positive direction. Stories of magicians "going insane" from failed operations are highly exaggerated - most often, nothing happens, and the danger lies in being convinced that something did happen and then acting from that perspective.

Today, I'll be focusing on the element Fire. The Fire element corresponds to the plasma state of matter, and in the ancient Greek system of the elements is related to union of the Hot and Dry powers. The Cool power unifies and the Hot power separates. The Dry power reinforces structure, and the Moist power breaks it down. So the fundamental nature of Fire is separating and structured. A more detailed overview of the four classical powers can be found here, and that article includes a link to John Opsopaus' Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements, which is where I was first exposed to the system.

According to my "three systems" model of psychology that I covered in greater detail in Part One of this series, the Fire element represents the "ego function" that Carl Jung referred to as "feeling." The feeling system represents the emotions, including passion, will, and motivation. The thinking function determines the form that our mental structures take, but it is the feeling function that sets them in motion in the first place.

As an example, Egas Moniz won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1949 for the invention of the prefrontal lobotomy. The idea behind the lobotomy was simple - it separated many of the connections between the limbic cortex, known to be the region of the brain most closely tied to emotions, and the prefrontal lobe, believed to be the region of the brain most closely tied to rational thought. This was seen as a possible solution to severe mental illnesses, because many of those conditions are problematic precisely because the feeling system is constantly overriding the thinking system.

And at first, the lobotomy seemed to work, which is why Moniz won the Nobel. Patients subjected to IQ tests generally scored higher after the procedure, and it didn't seem to impede their reasoning ability in the slightest. They also stopped acting out and became easier to manage in psychiatric institutions. However, the downside of the procedure was eventually worked out - motivation is an emotion too, and patients who had been subjected to lobotomies, especially on both sides of the brain, lost all motivation to do anything on their own.

They would take a cognitive test if they were told to, and could perform well. This masked the problem for many years. But they would also just sit in front of the television all day if somebody told them to do that. And they would rarely if ever initiate actions on their own, but this was hard to observe in highly regulated psychiatric facilities. The lobotomy would eventually be exposed as a poor treatment for mental illness and was abandoned. The point is that while emotions can and do get in the way of effective thinking some of the time, we need them in order to motivate ourselves.

One of the keys to effective magick is for the thinking and feeling systems to work together. If you are performing a magical operation that you have mixed feelings about, in my experience it will almost always fail. Doubt is one of the easiest ways to undermine a magical operation. You should always believe in what you're doing, at least while you're doing it. But this also doesn't mean that belief somehow powers magick. Belief doesn't have any special power on its own, except to the extent that you need to cultivate single-pointed will to make your magick function optimally.

Unlike the conditioning system, the feeling system is entirely conscious, just like the thinking system. In fact, we can think of the "conscious mind" as the union of these two systems. If the mind is thought of as a film or television program, the thinking system provides the shapes and the feeling system provides the colors. Just like thoughts and memories, it is silly to talk about "repressed emotions" as something we are unaware of. We can suppress our emotions, of course, but since this requires effort there is no possible way to do it without being aware of what is going on.

So this is another case where the psychoanalytic process of "repression" is social rather than cognitive. We have feelings all the time that we won't admit to other people, but the idea that this somehow means we don't experience them doesn't really hold up. The reason repression causes dissonance and consumes cognitive "energy" is that we are consciously policing our speech and actions in order to keep from revealing whatever it is that we want to hide from others. It is the conditioning system that more properly comprises "the unconscious," and it is always important to understand that the unconscious is not a "mind" as we generally understand the term.

Whether you're taking up practical magick right away or pursuing the initiatory path right away, my basic recommendations are pretty much the same. First, take up a daily magical practice, which I discuss here and here. Meditation is important as well, especially for any form of mystical work.

In at least one of those older articles I talk about keeping meditation and ceremonial work separate. That's a precaution that I no longer think is necessary. Instead, you can do a single practice session that includes both. Go through your entire ceremonial practice sequence, sit and meditate for about twenty minutes, and then seal your practice with a concluding Qabalistic Cross. It works just fine that way. The whole thing will take you maybe half an hour a day, not even as long as watching a regular television program.

And let me caution you about extending your practice - and particularly your meditation - much beyond that. Pushing yourself to meditate for hours a day will probably not make your progress much faster, and I find that students who try to do this against my advice inevitably burn out and quit practicing. Persistence and determination should be your watchwords here. Spending half an hour on this, every day, will prove much more beneficial than spending three or four hours on one day and then being too tired to do anything else for the rest of the week.

Keep a magical journal, especially at the beginning of your studies. Note your state of mind along with the date and time you start your practice each day, and note anything unusual that comes up while you are doing the work. You can also write down anything noteworthy that happened during the day. It doesn't have to be especially detailed, but you want to have enough information to track your progress along with the astrological landscape and an overview of what is happening in your life from day to day.

And I realize this may sound like a lot - but it really isn't. Add fifteen minutes of journaling to your half-hour practice, and it really only takes about as much time as watching a regular television episode. In fact, you don't want your magical work to consume your life. That can create all sorts of problems, from lack of attention to your material situation and physical health to complete burnout. Even if you love doing the work, try to discipline yourself to under an hour a day, total. You can avoid a whole lot of headaches that way.

The initiatory path of illumination for each element involves two basic operations - a "Rite of Approach" and an "Elixir Rite." The Rite of Approach opens a portal into the elemental realm, and then employs the same methods I lay out in my simple pathworking ritual to explore what lies beyond the portal and interact with the Elemental King. The primary function of this to develop a working relationship with the King and the spirits of the Fire domain. When interacting with the King, feel free to ask for initiation corresponding to the powers and properties of Fire.

You should recognize the core of the Elixir Rite right away, as it is similar to what we do during the Aries Elixir Rite. The Elixir Rite is a eucharistic ritual that involves the charging of wine (or juice, if you can't drink alcohol) with the power of the element and then consuming it. This may or may not include a specific statement of intent. The function of the eucharist is to spiritually charge a material substance and then consume it, in order to take into your physical body the essence of magick itself.

The opening for the initiatory rites of Fire is the same as for my previous Evocation of the King. For these rituals, you don't necessarily need to create the sigil of the King, but if you want you can refer back to that ritual. The reason is that for the Rite of Approach, we will be seeking out the King in his own realm, and for the Elixir Rite he is being called upon to assist in the creation of the Elixir, not to fully manifest within the Table of Art.

Note that Djin is described here as a "King" and "him," even though the image above is clearly a Queen. This is a deliberate subversion on my part. According to the original medieval system, these elemental rulers are all male Kings. According to some other traditions, the passive or receptive elements (Earth and Water) have Queens and the active elements (Air and Fire) have Kings. The truth, though, is that they're all spirits and they can take on any human form they want, male or female. So if you feel more like calling upon "Queen Djin," go for it. You'll get the same spirit either way.

0. The Temple

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 also be placed on the Table of Art. For the Elixir Rite, the cup goes within the Table of Art and no other container for offerings is required (since some of the Elixir is given as the offering).

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.

Elemental operations do not make use of planetary hours in any meaningful sense, as the planets and elements do not precisely correspond to each other. However, you can improve your results by employing simple electional timing. This is especially relevant to elemental operations, as the elements all share a strong affinity for the Moon.

1. Opening

Light incense, if used (olibanum, all fiery odors). 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 Pentagram for Fire. To each quarter in turn, beginning in the east and turning clockwise, perform the following actions:
  1. Trace the Invoking Pentagram of Active Spirit in bright purple while vibrating AHIH (Eheieh).
  2. Make the Sign of Rending the Veil, as if parting a heavy curtain in front of you with both hands.
  3. Trace the Invoking Pentagram of Fire in red while vibrating ELOHIM.
  4. Make the Sign of Fire, forming an upright triangle with both hands and placing it at your forehead, palms facing outwards.
Once you have returned to face the east, read or recite the Elemental Prayer for Fire:

Immortal, Eternal, Ineffable and Uncreated Father of All, borne upon the Chariot of Worlds, which ever roll in ceaseless motion; Ruler over the Ethereal Vastness, where the Throne of Thy Power is upraised, from the summit of which Thine eyes behold all, and Thy pure and Holy ears hear all, hear Thou Thy children, whom thou hast loved since before the Ages began. Thy Majesty Golden, Vast and Eternal, shineth above the Heaven of Stars! Above them art Thou exalted, O Thou Flashing Fire! There Thou illuminateth all things with Thine insupportable Glory, whence flow the ceaseless streams of splendor which nourish Thine Infinite Spirit. This Infinite Spirit nourisheth all, and maketh that inexhaustible treasure of generation which ever encompasseth Thee, replete with the numberless forms wherewith Thou hast filled it from the beginning. From this Spirit arise those most Holy Kings, who surround thy Throne and who compose Thy court.

O Universal Father! One and Alone! Father alike of Immortals and of Mortals! Thou hast created Powers marvellously like unto Thy thought Eternal and unto Thy venerable Essence. Thou hast established them above the Angels who announce Thy Will to the World. Lastly, thou hast created us third in rank within our Elemental Empire! There our continual exercise is to praise and to adore Thy desires! There we ceaselessly burn with Eternal Aspiration unto Thee! O Father! O Mother of Mothers, O Archetype Eternal of Maternity and of Love! O Son, the flower of all Sons! O form of all forms, Soul, Spirit, Harmony and Numeral of all Things! AMEN.

The space should now be tuned for the conjuration.

4A. The Rite of Approach

Begin with the conjuration of the King:

Oh Glorious and Mighty DJIN, You who command and rule over the spirits of ASH, Behold me, and in the name of the same your God ELOHIM, Attend and Appear before me within this circle of art! Full powers and wonders of the Element of Fire do I rightly desire! Enlighten my understanding, encourage my heart, and manifest unto me now as I enter into and explore your spiritual realm.

At this point, vibrate the name DJIN repeatedly until the King and the spirits of elemental Fire are perceived within the Table of Art. 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.

Then sit down on a chair or cushion and read the Simple Pathworking Induction out loud. If you are able, it is helpful to record the induction so that you can listen to it and follow along with the corresponding visualizations. Or, if you are working with a group, each person can take a turn reading during a series of rites.

Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath. Feel it flowing in and out of your body at its own natural rhythm. Relax your abdomen and allow it to expand as you breathe in, and contract as you breathe out. Feel the breath flowing, allowing it to sink into your abdomen and deepen at its own pace.

Visualize your body from the outside. Around it you see a glowing field of colored light arranged in four distinct layers. Bring your attention to the innermost layer, a field of light tinted with the rich green of earth. This layer extends only an inch or so beyond the boundary of your skin. As you bring your attention to this layer, relax from the toes on up. Then take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my body is at peace.” As deep relaxation flows throughout your body, see the field of green light becoming still and receptive.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the blue of water that covers earth. This layer begins where the green layer ends and extends a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to your emotions and feelings. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my emotions are at peace.” As your emotions become calm and serene, see the field of blue light becoming still and reflective.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the yellow of air that covers water. This layer begins where the blue layer ends and extends yet a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to your thoughts. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my thoughts are at peace.” As your thoughts become calm and clear, see the field of yellow light becoming still and integrated.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the red of fire that burns at the heart of the sun. This layer begins where the yellow layer ends and extends yet a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to the sparks of will that give rise to your individual sense of being. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my will is at peace.” As your will becomes focused, see he field of red light becoming still and distinct.

Visualize your body and the aura that surrounds it. Allow any remaining tension, stress, or worry to drain away into the earth, and as you do, see the field of ethereal light that surrounds you becoming more vibrant and harmonious. Realize that you are now observing your body, emotions, thoughts, and will from outside, and that you are more than just these facets of your personality. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I am.” Then pay attention to your attention.

Now, begin to focus on your purpose in this temple. We are alone in the temple. The powers await just beyond our sensing. We will now bring these powers to life in our hall. Nothing awaits us or concerns us but the Great Work, which we shall now continue as we explore the realm of Djin, the King of Fire.

Visualize an idealized form of yourself taking shape out of the light in front of your inner vision. See your astral double standing, facing you. Take some time to get the best image possible fixed in your mind. Once you have this Body of Light complete, look around the temple space from the viewpoint of your double and notice first that you are surrounded by a blank gray fog.

As the fog clears, you begin to make out the astral form of this temple around you. To the east you notice a portal take shape out of the mist. This could be a doorway, a large magick mirror, a window, or some other kind of opening large enough for you to enter. You pass through this portal, and find yourself in the realm of Djin. Take note of all you experience here as you explore the landscape of Fire.

At this point, allow 10-15 minutes for meditation in the spirit vision, or longer if it be your will. Use a timer, to remove the temptation to keep looking at your clock, watch, or phone. When you are finished, the induction is concluded as follows.

It is now time to leave the realm of Fire. Take a few moments to finish your exploration here, and then turn back the way you came.

When you arrive at the portal, pass back through into the astral region of the temple. Stand in front of your physical body, turn around, and allow the Body of Light to merge back into your physical body. Retain all that has happened in vivid presence, while you quietly remain for awhile, with eyes still closed.

As you slowly merge back into the physical, be aware of your breath flowing, gently in and out of your body. Feel your eyes still gently closed and relaxed. Feel the movement of your abdomen as it moves away from your body as you inhale and back towards your body as you exhale. Finally, be aware of your body and the space that your body occupies.

Slowly bring your hands up to your face, cover your eyes with your hands and then gently open your eyes. Remove your hands slowly from your face, slowly look up and come back to the present space in circle.

Once you are back, stand and return to your place at the altar. Skip to Point 5 to close the rite.

4B. The Elixir Rite

Begin with the conjuration of the King:

Oh Glorious and Mighty DJIN, You who command and rule over the spirits of ASH, Behold me, and in the name of the same your God ELOHIM, Attend and Appear before me within this circle of art! Full powers and wonders of the Element of Fire do I rightly desire! Enlighten my understanding, encourage my heart, and manifest unto me now as I partake of your spiritual realm.

At this point, vibrate the name DJIN repeatedly until the presence of the King and the spirits of elemental Fire is perceived within the Table of Art. 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. Then say:

O separating and reinforcing ELOHIM. To thee we present this talisman of our magickal will! I ask thee, Oh Exalted One, to receive the body of this rite into the light of thy presence. As we proceed in making this Elixir of Fire, charging it with the creative energies of ASH, we shall achieve a true alchemical ferment, mighty in Yetzirah and vitalized by thy blessing. In partaking of this Mystery, let there be unto us vitality of soul, increase of sight, true gnosis, and complete manifestation of the wonders of thy Sphere!

Note that the plural used here is NOT a typo or carry-over from the other elixir ritual. Even if you are working on your own, Djin will also be partaking of the elixir in the form of an offering at the end of the rite. So there will always be at least two of you present.

Make one clockwise circumambulation, visualizing a wall of red light whirling rapidly in the same direction about the circle. When finished, the wall of light is allowed to fade. Hold the cup at heart level and say:

Creature of Wine who art established in the Sphere of Fire: by the vital force of my breath I enliven thee to perfect this work of Holy Magick in the realm of ELOHIM.

Then raise power, visualizing a continuous spiral of red light ascending from the ground at feet, whirling clockwise around body and ascending until it disappears above head. Hold this visualization, and vibrate the divine name once: ELOHIM

The join or clasp hands and vibrate once more: ELOHIM

Extend hands toward elixir cup. Visualize beams of red light emanating from both hands and entering into the cup. When the cup feels “full” end the visualization, folding hands on breast left over right. Finally, trace the symbol of Fire in a horizontal plane over the cup while vibrating once more: ELOHIM

Make one more complete circumambulation of the circle. Battery: 1 (that is, knock on the altar table). Raise the cup and say:

Behold the Elixir of Fire! For all and for each it is prepared! Let each and all receive its magick virtue!

Drink and then visualize or speak any practical intent. The cup should not be entirely drained. When finished, Battery: 1. Indicate the cup, which should still contain some of the elixir. Say:

Glorious and Mighty Djin, we make this offering unto you, that it may nourish and fortify you as you attend to your appointed tasks. Be the ferment of our spiritual alchemy mighty in the crucible of our souls! So mote it be!

The offering should be allowed to evaporate following the rite. If you feel ambitious and have the right setup, you could boil it away so that the King and spirits of Fire may partake of it easily. However, this is not necessary. If it has not fully evaporated after several days, you can pour it out at any convenient outdoor location.

5. The License to Depart

King DJIN and the elemental 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 ELOHIM, and that peace be ever continued between us. So mote it be!

7. Closing

The ritual should be closed with the Qabalistic Cross.

A couple of points: You will probably need to perform these rituals multiple times before you can consider yourself "initiated" into the element of Fire. Generally speaking, this is something that the King can bestow, but he won't necessarily do it the first time you ask. Or, maybe he will. It depends on his estimation of your state of awareness or realization. He may also give you specific instructions to follow in order to make yourself ready for the initiation. And they can always be performed afterwards, at any time, as rites of illumination.

Especially in the case of the Rite of Approach, be sure to write up a detailed journal entry including all that you experience. A voice recorder in the temple can be helpful for astral work of whatever kind so that you can describe what is going on as it happens. You may find trouble getting into the right mindspace to experience much the first time you do this and that's okay. Just use this trick: say to yourself "If I really was projecting into the astral, I would be seeing..."

You can test spirits you encounter by vibrating divine names at them. EHEIEH is a good general one, that dispels most false visions. You can also use the godname called upon in the ritual, Elohim. If you meet a spirit claiming to be Djin, vibrate his name at it. If it really is Djin, the vision should intensify rather than weaken. Finally, obtain from the spirit a word of power, a number, or both.

After the ritual, go back and look those up in a resource like Sephir Sephiroth or Godwin's Cabalistic Encyclopedia to see if the number or the gematria of the word is appropriate to the element of Fire. If it is, you most likely found your way to the right place. On the other hand, if you can find no connection, it is advisable to perform the rite again at some point in the future, maybe after doing an Elixir Rite or two.

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Anonymous said...

I have a few questions, although one of them is not quite related to this particular article, but to one further ahead.

1. Can these rituals equate to some extent to the GD grades? I don't mean that you would perform one ritual and you expect to have mastered that grade. Instead, I refer to multiple rituals using the same spirit, over a longer period of time, while also performing other workings and studying.

2. I see you talk about raising power in both elixir and talisman rituals, using a witchy cone of power technique. I myself raise the intensity of the energy I'm working with in that particular ritual when I'm doing the MP. Say I perform a ritual with Sachiel. When I perform the MP, I visualize the circulation of light and the fountain in violet x4. Do you think this is appropriate and can somewhat equate to the technique you use?

3. When performing the GIRH for Chokmah, what symbol do you trace in the middle of the hexagram, when vibrating IAH? And in what color?

Scott Stenwick said...

1. The short answer to number one is no, they do not equate because they're not GD initiations, not dramatic rituals, don't convey grades, or anything like that. The longer answer is that they are designed to cover the same "magical territory" - as in, first you work the elements, then the planets, then the signs. As far as multiple rituals with the same spirit over time while performing other rituals and study, though, that's exactly how you would go about it. It's intended to augment your work, not replace any of it.

2. Is what I'm doing "witchy?" Not a witch, never been a witch, so I have no idea. The method I use to raise power comes from Qigong. Maybe witches picked it up? I couldn't say. Anyway, when you do the personal raising of power, you can do it however you like that works for you. The direction in the script is just one way of doing it.

3. For Chockmah the colors are gray/gray (Queen Scale). No complement, so it doesn't flash. Late Crowley associates Chockmah with Neptune, so you could use that. Personally, though, I prefer early Crowley that associates Chockmah with Uranus. You can also use a symbol that represents the wheel of the zodiac - like a swirl, or a circle divided into twelve parts.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to ask you #1 from a perspective of someone working solo, without being part of any lodge or initiating group. I for one am no part of any of these, nor do i desire to be part of any, in the foreseeable future anyway. But i thought that a person working on their own could raise their consciousness in a similar as a neophyte who engages in an initiatory system, by working these rituals. My pathworking experience so far has lead me to this conclusion. That doesn't mean i've reached 7th heaven or something (LOL), but i definitely feel a positive and dramatic change in my microcosmos from working those rituals.

I didn't mean to say that you're using techniques that are part of witchcraft, but rather they are similar. I guess the modern systems of witchcraft have picked up several techniques from Eastern practices and made it their own, the same way they picked up many of the Western techniques. It also resembles Frater B's ritual techniques that employ all sorts of geometric shapes, pyramids and so on :)

I thought about using the basic circle divided into 12 parts for Chockmah, since i'm aiming for the sphere of the fixed stars itself, not a particular planetary energy. I only wanted to get a second opinion from someone way more experienced, like yourself, especially since i haven't done any working with Chockmah yet.

Thank you for your answers!

Scott Stenwick said...

Sure, that makes sense. One of the differences is that the way I put this stuff together, all four elements are still related to Malkuth. In the Golden Dawn system, Malkuth is Earth, Yesod is Air, Hod is Water, and Netzach is Fire. Part of that is how their degree structure is set up, whereas I don't have a degree structure to worry about. Also, Yesod as Air and Hod as Water has never made sense to me. It seems like they should be the other way around if I was going to use those attributions.

You move on to Yesod when you work with the Moon, and you only do that after you work with Malkuth as a whole. That's up for next week. That's where you use the so-called "Supreme Pentagram" with specific elements at the four direction. Basically, the "Supreme Pentagram" is just the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for Malkuth. Then for Yesod through Binah, you use the sephirothic form of the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for the corresponding planet.

Anyway, I'll be going into that in more detail in next week's Path of Initiation post.

Anonymous said...

It makes way more sense to have all 4 elemental forces in Malkuth, wrap it up by equalizing and integrating them as a whole into the sphere and then moving on to the planetary spheres. I did the SIRP after I've finished practicing each of the lesser pentagram forms in turn. I felt terrible for a week, but after that I felt great :)

I think Morgan Eckstein talks about the reasons why Yesod is Air and Hod is Water and it's logical, considering that the central pillar of the ToL keeps the other two in balance. So if Mercy is Fire and Severity is Water, then the central one is Air, and all sephira on it are Air. But it seems to me that going at it the GD way of initiation, one is deprived from the planetary aspects of the sephira below the Veil.

As always, looking forward to your articles! :D

Scott Stenwick said...

It just seems cleaner to me that way, without as much overlap.

I did read Morgan's article, and that may very well be the official GD explanation. But I still don't really buy it. Are the pillars "really" elemental, or is that yet another overlay? The tradition warns against mixing the planes, after all.

Experimentally, Earth-Air-Water-Fire doesn't work well as an initiatory sequence. Earth-Water-Air-Fire is not only more logical, but it works better.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's a convention they had made in order to arrange the elemental grades and other workings. I mean the central pillar can't be all Air, since Malkuth is a mixture of all the elements - the cross of matter inside the circle of spirit; or at least that's what I understand when I'm looking at these symbols.

Anyway, Malkuth to me really represents the "place" to deal with these grades.