Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Template Works for Everything

I got a question a couple weeks back about working with the pentacles from the Key of Solomon using my ritual techniques. Back in October, I published my latest ritual template, which I will be referring back to in this post. Next week I should be back on track with the magick posts on Mondays, with the script for the Capricorn Elixir that we will be doing on January 16th.

One of the best things about modular ritual templates is how versatile and effective they are for all different kinds of workings. If there's a "magical secret" out there, how to put the various rituals and forms together into a coherent operation is probably it. Many published books on magick include instructions on how to do the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. Some include the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. Some include the Middle Pillar. And so forth. But there's little instruction on what to do with them aside from recommendations that you practice them daily.

The Greater Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram are much more elusive in print. I met Donald Michael Kraig on his book tour for the second edition of Modern Magick, and told him that the biggest problem with his book is that he did not include how to do those rituals and he really needed to include them. But back then I wasn't a published author, just some random guy, and he obviously didn't take me very seriously. In the third edition, he devotes a whole (oversized) page to slamming Poke Runyon when he could have at least outlined the Greater rituals in that same space. Seriously, nobody ever really cared about Kraig's personal feuds, but adding even a page on the Greater rituals would have made Modern Magick a far better and more useful book.

At any rate, what I found when I published Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy is that nobody else publishes that stuff, either. I was told time and again how useful my book was because it laid out the whole structure of a ceremonial operation including the basic components that go into actually getting stuff done. I've gone ahead and published the whole magical and mystical series here on Augoiedes for precisely that reason. We really don't need any more occult books that teach the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and then don't really even tell you what it's for or what it's supposed to do.

Years ago, Mark Stavish used to snark online that "Nobody ever got enlightened by doing the LBRP." Snarky tone aside, he's right. But it's not because there's anything wrong with that overall approach to magick. It's just that doing microcosmic banishings is only really helpful for clearing stuff out. It is not true that once you clear everything out, what's left is "enlightenment." In fact, you wind up with a more resilient sphere of sensation that is less disturbed by day-to-day events, greater stability of your consciousness, and a slight flattening of your emotional affect - if microcosmic banishings are all you ever do. You can't just undo the negative stuff in your life and leave it at that. You have to put something "positive" in its place or you never will get anywhere interesting.

That idea there was one of the realizations that came out of my experiments with the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram that became the "operant field" approach. In addition to banishing your microcosm - your aura or sphere of sensation - you need to invoke the macrocosmic forces of the external universe into that banished and purified internal space. In a sense this union of the internal and external accomplishes the "Operation of the Sun" from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, so that which is above and that which is below (usually interpreted as macrocosm and microcosm) become synchronized with each other and open a physical space - or as I put it, a field - in which microcosmic thought and physical reality are most perfectly aligned.

So what that means is that, essentially, the operant field method found in the template works for everything. Chaos magick, grimoire magick, folk magick, whatever you want to do - in addition to the Thelemic and GD-style systems. You just treat the operant field as a foundation for everything. It's especially easy if you use it as part of your daily practice, so that the magical work you do every day is also what you do to open any and all practical work. It's both efficient and effective. And it makes the whole issue of how to sequence the different forms that much easier, even for beginning students.

This last Tuesday, we did an interesting experiment involving one of the Mercury pentacles from the Key of Solomon. We combined the Thelemic version of the operant field (Star Ruby - Star Sapphire - Elevenfold Seal) with Rufus Opus' grimoire-style method of calling the spirits. And it worked great. We've already seen definite signs of the operation working, and everything went very smoothly. The key is this: you open with the full operant field, then follow with your regular grimoire procedure, and finally just close with the Qabalistic Cross corresponding to your pentagram ritual. Like so:

Thelemic Version

1. Star Ruby (banishing)
2. Star Sapphire (invoking)
3. Elevenfold Seal
4. [Your Full Magical Operation Goes Here]
5. Star Ruby Qabalistic Cross

I omitted the final "Apo Pantos Kakodaimonos" from the Star Ruby Qabalistic Cross, replacing it with "I now declare this temple duly closed." That's because in this case, there was no intention to banish anything at the end but rather to seal the operation.

The more general Golden Dawn version would look like this:

Golden Dawn Version

1. Lesser Banshing Ritual of the Pentagram
2. Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram
3. Middle Pillar
4. [Your Full Magical Operation Goes Here]
5. Qabalistic Cross

For both versions, if you are explicitly sending a magical intent out into the universe that you want to keep separate from yourself, you replace the Qabalistic Cross in step 5 with a repetition of the pentagram banishing ritual from step 1.

If you want to get a little more involved, you can place the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram (for elemental operations) or the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram (for planetary and zodiacal operations) between steps 3 and 4. We didn't do this on Tuesday, but it should work provided that all of the spirits you are working with are attributed to a single element, planet, or sign. For Key of Solomon operations, that should be fine.

We could have added the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for Mercury when we did the ritual on Tuesday, but as the grimoire procedure is complete in and of itself, we felt in that particular case that it was not necessary. Also keep in mind that if you are calling on multiple spirits with multiple attributions, you should not use a Greater ritual. The entire function of each Greater ritual is to tune the temple to a single magical force, so if you do it when calling in spirits with multiple attributions you effectively strengthen the one that matches your Greater ritual at the expense of weakening all the others.

It should be pretty clear that this method should work for any other grimoire as well. It is designed to be modular enough that you can just use it to encapsulate what you're already doing. And despite some of the disdain out there in the grimoire community regarding "lodge magick," it does work well when done properly - without that pesky Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram that basically kneecaps your spirits as soon as you send them out to do anything. Those lodge magicians were definitely on to something, it just requires a bit of technical tweaking, which is how I cam up withe operant field idea in the first place.

Hopefully that answers some questions about how my methods combine with grimoire methods, regardless of the grimoire you happen to be using. If you do experiment with this, as always I would love to hear your results. Unnecessary secrecy has been the enemy of magical experimentation for far too long, and if we ever want to catch up with the physical sciences we still have quite a long way to go.

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Anonymous said...

It is I who will be detailing on the greater rituals :P :P

Thank you for another wonderful article!

Anonymous said...

As usual, I forgot to ask what was important :) Did you by any chance use the second pentacle of Mercury? I'm asking you this because the description of its powers is vague, and I can't understand much out of it. The down side is that I don't have the time to have a sir down with the angels in order for them to explain its practical uses to me...

Scott Stenwick said...

The second pentacle of Mercury is for any paranormal effect not covered by the other pentacles. In effect, it is a catch-all for any magical operation that is not described under any of the other pentacles in the KOS.

"Contrary to the order of nature" is Medieval phrasing, since magick in general was believed to be "contrary to nature" in some meaningful sense. I don't see it as accurate in the context of modern metaphysics, though, since as I see it everything that exists is "nature." Hence no "unnatural" and no "supernatural." Nature is just what is.

But "contrary to the order of nature" is how folks back then thought of any paranormal events or effects that were not officially sanctioned by the church.

Anonymous said...

I see. So it's basically a multipurpose talisman. Great! Thank you very much!!!

C-Style Magazine said...

Hello Scott,

In mentioning Frater Rufus Opus, do you agree that you would use the First Pentacle to call the Spirits of the Pentacle( as Frater RO describes) and then show them the Pentacle whose attributes you desire they fulfill (as Donald Michael Kraig describes in an earlier edition of Modern Magick)?

Scott Stenwick said...

I have done rituals with RO and he generally knows his stuff, so I would agree with his methods barring substantial contradictory evidence. But I have not personally experimented with that method to anywhere near the level it would take to verify it as the best possible way to work with the pentacles.

I'm not sure what Kraig's source was, so I can't really comment there. The trouble with Kraig is that he passes along a lot of stuff that he didn't personally do much work with, and instead obtained from other sources that he often doesn't cite. So whether his instructions are good or bad can be hard to say. Usually you have to try them out for yourself and see - which, to be fair, is what he always advised his students to do.