Monday, July 2, 2018

The Greater Ritual of the Hexagram

Last week's post on the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram got a good response, so I figured I would go ahead and put one up today on the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram. The instructions for this one have not become quite as muddled as the instructions for the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram, but there are some differences between the material published in Aleister Crowley's Liber O (which is the version I use) and how the ritual is taught by at least some of today's Golden Dawn orders.

The biggest difference in that in Liber O, Crowley tells you that the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram is used for working with both planets and signs of the zodiac. At least some of the Golden Dawn groups don't do it that way, and instead use the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for zodiac signs and the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for planets only. Beyond that, there are some technical points regarding the use of the Keyword Analysis and how the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram fits into my operant model.

Zodiac signs are associated with both a ruling planet and a ruling element. So while you can work with the signs of the zodiac from an elemental "direction," in the operant model it makes a lot more sense to go with the hexagram. The pentagram is a symbol of the microcosm and the hexagram is a symbol of the macrocosm. Both planets and signs represent macrocosmic forces. I could see the idea that using the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram might get you the microcosmic aspect of the sign, such as associated personality traits, but the macrocosm includes the microcosm.

I have been quite successful affecting my own personality using the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for zodiacal rites, so I know for a fact that even if you are only looking to work with personality traits the macrocosmic approach is entirely viable. As a result, I really don't see the point of working with the signs of the zodiac from a microcosmic-only perspective, and the Liber O method strikes me as the most effective way to work with zodiacal forces of whatever sort. That's what I use the hexagram, and not the pentagram, for the signs of the zodiac and the spirits associated with them.

The basic structure of the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram is pretty simple. You might or might not open and close with the Keyword Analysis, depending on whether or not the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram is following the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. As with the Qabalistic Cross in the Lesser and Greater Rituals of the Pentagram, once the Keyword Analysis is performed for the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram it is considered done and does not need to be repeated with the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram.

The rest of the ritual consists of finding the hexagram you should be tracing, the color in which it should be traced, and the godname that goes with it. Then you do the following to all four quarters, starting in the east and proceeding clockwise:

1. Trace the proper hexagram in the corresponding color while vibrating ARARITA.
2. Trace the symbol of the planet or sign in the color flashing or complementary to that of the hexagram while vibrating the corresponding godname.

The symbols of the planets and signs are the standard figures that can be found in any reference on astrology.

The proper hexagram can be determined by taking a look at the diagram of the Kircher Tree of Life and noting which planet is associated with each of the sephiroth. The diagram on the left shows the Tree along with the colors for the sephiroth and paths. You can click on it to enlarge.

Since the names of the planets are still hard to read, even enlarged, they are attributed as follows from bottom to top:

9 - Yesod - Moon
8 - Hod - Mercury
7 - Netzach - Venus
6 - Tiphareth - Sun
5 - Geburah - Mars
4 - Chesed - Jupiter
3 - Binah - Saturn

Draw a standard Star of David hexagram onto the diagram, centered on Tiphareth. The points of the hexagram will touch five out of the seven ancient planets. Because Saturn stands in for all three supernals, it is attributed to the Daath point above Tiphareth. The hexagram does not touch the Sun because it is in the very center.

To draw the hexagram for each of the planets, imagine that this diagram is hanging on the wall in front of you and touch the point attributed to the planet. Trace the first triangle starting from that point, clockwise to invoke or counter-clockwise to banish. Then touch the point straight across the figure from your starting point and trace the second triangle there, in the same direction as the first. The hexagrams of the planets are therefore drawn like this:

The odd arrows on the Sun hexagram refer to the necessity of representing the Sun by tracing the other six hexagrams in order, from Saturn to the Moon, since no point on the hexagram touches the Sun. Crowley at one point proposed using the unicursal hexagram for the Sun, since it has lines that cross in the center. But the unicursal is really more of an elemental figure than a planetary one. I also floated this idea a while back, but so far I have not had the time to experiment with it in any sort of controlled fashion. Thus, I still use the standard six-fold hexagram shown here for the Sun in my own work.

The proper hexagram for a sign of the zodiac is the hexagram of the sign's ruling planet. This is according to classical rulership, so it only includes the seven ancient planets and does not include the outers. Under this system, the rulerships for each of the twelve signs are as follows:

Aries - Mars
Taurus - Venus
Gemini - Mercury
Cancer - Moon
Leo - Sun
Virgo - Mercury
Libra - Venus
Scorpio - Mars
Sagittarius - Jupiter
Capricorn - Saturn
Aquarius - Saturn
Pisces - Jupiter

The use of the color scales is a little more complicated than how a lot of people do it. Each of the planets has a dual aspect, a sephira and a path. The natural color of a sephira is the Queen Scale color associated with its Key Scale in Liber 777, and the natural color for a path is the King Scale color associated with its Key Scale value. So these are the base colors for the various hexagrams. The colors from all four scales should always be used when drawing the sigil of the spirit for your operation, but you don't need them for the lineal figures visualized in the ritual.

The sephirothic aspects of the planets correspond to mystical visions, and the path aspects correspond to practical powers. Many magicians conflate these two and, for example, use the sephirothic color and godname for Mercury when doing healing rituals. While this can work because the angels themselves are intelligent, coherent spirits and can basically figure out what is going on, it is less correct than using the path attribution. Mercury is kind of a special case because it swaps angels with the Sun depending on whether you are aiming for a mystical vision or a practical result:

Path of Mercury = Raphael, yellow hexagram.
Path of Sun = Michael, orange hexagram.
Sephira of Mercury = Michael, orange hexagram.
Sephira of Sun = Raphael, yellow hexagram.

There is a lot of talk about this in various sources this as if it's confusing, but if you understand the sephira as mystical and the paths as practical it makes perfect sense. Yes, you want to call on Raphael for a healing ritual - that's the path of Mercury. But if you ae working on the vision of splendor, Michael is who you want to call because you should be working with the sephira Hod.

Liber 777 also includes different godnames for the sephiroth and the paths. The sephirothic godnames are well-known and used extensively, but the path godnames are from Agrippa and are not used nearly as widely. The table here shows the proper hexagrams, colors, and godnames for the planets. You can find these rituals individually in my planetary work rituals, and in my path of initiation articles.

PlanetKey ScaleVision or PowerHexagramColorGodname
Saturn (Sephira)3Vision of Sorrow, Vision of WonderSaturnBlackYHVH Elohim
Jupiter (Sephira)4Vision of LoveJupiterBlueEl
Mars (Sephira)5Vision of PowerMarsScarlet RedElohim Gibor
Sun (Sephira)6Vision of the Harmony of Things, Mysteries of the Crucifixion, Beautific VisionSunYellow or GoldYHVH Eloah ve Daath
Venus (Sephira)7Vision of Beauty TriumphantVenusEmeraldYHVH Tzabaoth
Mercury (Sephira)8Vision of Splendor (as in Ezekiel)MercuryOrangeElohim Tzabaoth
Moon (Sephira)9Vision of the Machinery of the UniverseMoonVioletShaddai El Chai
Mercury (Path)12Miracles of Healing, Gift of Tongues, Knowledge of SciencesMercuryYellowAzbugeh
Moon (Path)13The White Tincture, Clairvoyance, Divination by DreamsMoonBlueDah, Alim
Venus (Path)14Love-philtresVenusEmerald GreenAha
Jupiter (Path)21Power of Acquiring Political and Other AscendencyJupiterVioletAla, Al Ab
Mars (Path)27Works of Wrath and VengeanceMarsScarletAdonai
Sun (Path)30The Red Tincture, Power of Acquiring WealthSunOrangeAlah
Saturn (Path)32Works of Malediction and DeathSaturnIndigoAb, Yah

For the signs of the zodiac, you use the permutations of Tetragrammaton. The system in Liber 777 may have one error in terms of which permutation goes with which sign, in that the permutations for Pisces and Virgo may be switched. They are noted with an asterisk on the table below, which shows the proper hexagrams, colors, and godnames for the signs of the zodiac. Note that the godnames should always be spoken as a word rather than spelled out, as some teachers recommend for the Tetragrammaton and its permutations. Vibrating a word rather than a series of letters is more effective.

SignKey ScalePowerHexagramColorGodname
Aries15 or 28The Power of Consecrating ThingsMarsScarletYHVH (Yah-Weh)
Taurus16The Secret of Physical StrengthVenusRed-OrangeYHHV (Yah-Hav)
Gemini17The Power of Being in Two Places at One Time and of ProphecyMercuryOrangeYVHH (Yav-Heh)
Cancer18The Power of Casting EnchantmentsMoonAmberHVHY (Hev-Hay)
Leo19The Power of Taming Wild BeastsSunGreenish YellowHVYH (Hev-Yah)
Virgo20Invisibility, Initiation, ParthenogenesisMercuryYellowish GreenHHVY (Heh-Vay) *
Libra22Works of Justice and EquilibriumVenusEmerald GreenVHYH (Veh-Yah
Scorpio24NecromancyMarsGreen-BlueVHHY (Weh-Hay)
Sagittarius25Transmutations, Vision of Universal PeacockJupiterBlueVYHH (Vay-Heh)
Capricorn26The Witches' Sabbath so called, The Evil EyeSaturnIndigoHYHV (Hay-Hav)
Aquarius28 or 15AstrologySaturnVioletHYVH (Hay-Vah)
Pisces29Bewitchments, Casting IllusionsJupiterCrimsonHHYV (Heh-Yav) *

The pronunciations shown are suggestions, not necessarily to be rendered literally. In ancient Hebrew, no vowel markers were used so the vowel sounds between the consonants could be pronounced any number of ways. Also, remember that all the powers listed here are descriptive, not prescriptive. They are examples of the kinds of things associated with the planet or sign, not the only possible application of the associated force or spirits.

In the standard operant ritual sequence, this ritual would follow the Preliminary Invocation step (Middle Pillar or Elevenfold Seal) for all operations involving a planet or sign of the zodiac. Just as the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram is used to tune your space to an element, the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram is used to tune your space to a planet or sign. Once this is done, the magician can commence with conjuring the spirit into an environment that has been set to be in harmony with its nature.

The invoking form of this ritual is by far the most commonly used. You do not need to perform the corresponding banishing ritual after the license to depart if you use the invoking form prior to the conjuration, though this is often done by magicians who think it represents some sort of symmetry. As is the case with using the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram when closing, you do not want to shut down the force you just set in motion unless you really intend that your operation should last only as long as the duration of the ritual itself. I usually send spirits out to accomplish tasks within a timeframe that is at least somewhat longer, so I hardly ever banish planets or signs.

Also regarding the banishing version, it can be used for protection but it is a very poor and inefficient way to work. It takes a lot of effort, prevents you from using whatever energy you are trying to banish, and generally has to be renewed at least every day. You are almost always better off calling up a spirit of Mars or Saturn, perhaps Capricorn, that are associated with cursing. Remember that those spirits rule over curses, and you can charge them with protecting you from whatever negative influences that you are trying to repel. This spirit or spirits can be bound to a talisman, after which they will keep working automatically.

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javier said...

Hi Scott

the question is when we do not banish, is there the possibility that any of the spirits-angels, elementals, etc.-could manipulate us in any way?
On the other hand, perhaps the geometrical figures themselves, such as the hexagram, are intrinsically protective and insulating from negative forces.

Scott Stenwick said...

Not in my experience. The license to depart sends them back to where they came from, and the final LBRP disconnects you from the operation so it runs on its own in the macrocosm. On the other hand, if you want the rite to continue influencing you after you close it down, close with just the Qabalistic Cross.

If the license to depart were not sufficient, I would expect the grimoire purist folks to have a lot more trouble working with spirits.

Alex Scaraoschi said...

Imagine someone being stuck with a spirit in physical form in their house LOL.

Thanks for the answer concerning Brorges, Scott!

Scott Stenwick said...

That would be funny. It could backfire, though, if they could exploit it and make a lot of money. "Come see my spirit! A hundred bucks a pop!"

Maybe another million too, if that cheapskate Randi would pay up...

Unknown said...

Why don't Libra through Pisces use hexagrams for their ruling planets?

Scott Stenwick said...

They do. Half of my table got screwed up there when I tried to hand-code it. Fixed now.

I'm surprised nobody pointed that out until now...

Frater OEN said...

Hi Scott,

I'm doing lots of experimentation with evocation this year, and have been exploring Zodiacal and Planetary spirits, and possibly making a Lotus Wand or Kraig's Rainbow wand for this use. I'm wondering a few things:

1. Have you ever found what attributions work correctly for the possible Pisces/Virgo error?
2. This is especially important to me because I plan to use zodiacal and planetary attributions for Goetic work. Have you ever done this? Thoughts?
3. Ever worked with a Lotus/Rainbow wand? Whether or not you have, do you think such a wand might produced better results, worse results, or be wholly unnecessary?

Thanks for your time!

Scott Stenwick said...

1. As far the Pisces-Virgo thing goes, the fix is simple. You swap the godnames and then everything lines up. I've tried it both ways and I have to say, it's hard to discern a difference. That being said, the powers of Virgo and Pisces are also hard to quantify. Switching them probably fits the overall pattern best, but for my elixir rites I've been sticking with the 777 version in case there's some reason that the pattern breaks for those two signs.

2. I've done very little work with The Goetia at this point, not enough to give you an authoritative answer there. I went with Enochian instead for my go-to system.

3. I have worked with a rainbow wand, and it works well especially if you consecrate it properly. You can use an Aries ritual for that, calling on Melchiadel, the angel who rules the power of consecrating things.

Anonymous said...

@Frater OEN

I'm using zodiacal and planetary attributions of the 72 spirits as presented in Liber 777. I've had no problem with that so far.

Frater OEN said...

Thank you both for the replies! Your thoughts are appreciated. I'm planning to do zodiacal temple openings for Goetic evocations, but I have seen zero literature about this approach, aside from 777 and the original sources that merely name the planets and zodiac of each spirit (which frankly, is why I want to do it).

My reasoning is thus: Rudd/Runyon's approach of getting the help of ruling angels makes sense to me, because I always like to invoke a spirit's superiors (especially a potentially unruly spirit) in an evocation... It's just that the zodiacal or planetary Archangles are more likely candidates as "the bosses" than the Shemhamphoresh (which are on the Decans but not necessarily rulers of the Decans).

Dacea, when working Goetia, have you opened your temple with a zodiacal hexagram ritual appropriate to the spirit? If so, have you noticed any difference between that and the standard Solomonic opening?

Scott Stenwick said...

I personally am skeptical of the idea that celestials rule over chthonics - the chthonics seems to have their own hierarchy. But that's not based on anything experiential. It just makes more sense to me that the two polarities should be balanced.

I would probably look at conjuring the chthonics using the godnames corresponding to the signs or planets rather than the angel names. The godname should rule over both polarities, the angels not necessarily so much. But again, that's speculation based on how my model of magick works. By all means experiment, and let me know how it goes.

Frater OEN said...

@ Scott: That's the plan, and I don't disagree about the separation of dual powers. This approach is fairly theoretical for me too, and I don't know anyone who's done it, but it's also traditional... just in a super-secret-hinty way, like Adept workings tend to go. I actually never had any interest at all in working with Goetic spirits or Demons until I had completed Abramelin. That system is very clear about evoking the Infernal Hierarchy in order to work with lesser spirits, and also very clearly implies (although gives no explicit instruction) that the first several days of the culmination ritual is involved in connecting to the Celestial Hierarchy. You know, the HGA is supposed to tell you how to do that.

If you think about it, the outcome of invoking celestials and evoking infernals (after having bound their bosses) before a working, is that the magician invites a convocation of the full celestial and infernal courts that represent a given power. Runyon's system jives with this too, and provides a system, and although it works, an adviser of mine is very clear that it is still an incomplete system; sort of like inviting a couple of foremen to a job instead of the Ceo's, the VPs, the architects, contractors and the actual workmen. Foremen are great for doing something small with an already existing structure. Grander things may be possible with buy-in from the full court. Guess I'll find out!

Scott Stenwick said...

The way to handle that is to work down to the level you want on the hierarchy and deliver the charge to whatever spirit is at the level you want to work with. The trade-off is generally speed versus power, though there are some variations.

Foremen are right there and can fix stuff immediately, but are limited in their perception of the situation. CEO's, VP's, architects and so forth can affect bigger changes, but they are more distant from the situation so it will take longer to manifest.

This is for sure the case with celestials and probably the case with chthonics as well.

Also, I don't do much along the lines of "invoke celestials, evoke chthonics (or infernals)." I evoke everything into containment structures because I find it "cleaner," though I will say that you don't want to call the celestials and the chthonics at the same time using that method unless you have multiple containment structures.

Rise&Shine said...

What exactly are the differences between the visions and the power? like what does the vision of love do exactly, I mean the power is more straightforward, but I don't get what the visions would do exactly.

Scott Stenwick said...

The visions are mystical realizations and the powers are practical effects. So if you wanted to experience the state of consciousness corresponding to love, that would be the vision of love. If you wanted to cast a love spell to bring you a romantic partner, that would be the corresponding power.

Erestis said...

I'm unclear on how to apply this to basic daily practice, as suggested on the Magical Instruction page. First, my sequence is currently LBRP, LIRH, MP, GIRP, meditation; should GIRH be done after GIRP? Second, which variation of GIRH be done daily; which planet/sign?

Scott Stenwick said...

You do not need to add the GRH to your daily practice. It is primarily used for specific planetary and zodiacal operations, not general daily work. That also is true of the GRP. If you are working on the Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel in Malkuth, you can do the GRP with all four elements on a daily basis. But that's what you are doing with it - working on a specific realization, albeit a very important one.

I'll say this again. The "Greater" rituals are not "better" versions of the "Lesser" rituals. They do entirely different things. Generally, the "Lesser" rituals are general/foundational, and those are the rituals you want to make sure you include as part of your daily practice.

That being said - if you want to add the GIRH as part of your daily practice, it should follow the GRP (if you are using it) and you should use the planet corresponding to the day. Sun on Sunday, Moon on Monday, Mars on Tuesday, and so forth. It is important that you don't miss a day if you are going to do this, because the planetary energies are balanced by each planet being invoked throughout the week.

It is not necessary to do both the GRP and GRH. They are not dependent on each other the same way that the LRP/LRH are, because they work with specific and separate magical aspects.

Johannes Farr said...

Hey Scott - a few questions.

I'm looking at using AOEVEAE and MADRIAX for opening after trying it a few times. I'm actually going to test using it for all work, even work I do with the Verum (followed by invoking the four kings, and the LBA trinity). Do you see any downfall with using a particularly Enochian opening with other "general" works of magick chthonic or otherwise? I know many authors don't like to mix. I've had good luck using the keys in other operations.

Second - the GRH - it is a tuning not a "cheat code" for timing, correct? For instance is tuning to say Pisces or to Jupiter sufficient for those types of workings even if they are not in their hours or aspected properly (not sure if you look at traditional astrology for timing or not)? And if so do you find that doing both creates a greater probability shift?

You mention the method of calling Hagonel during any hour and he can deliver a charge to other princes for practical work. Then it is delayed until the proper planetary day for that prince. In your estimation is there any different probability shift? Does this same trick work for knowledge as with the kings? Obviously an instant method like scrying wouldn't work, but what about delayed dreams, syncs, etc?

Finally as above using the GRH to invoke the correct planet doesn't work for bringing in another prince or King to aspect on an "off" day, correct?

Scott Stenwick said...

(1) I wrote those rituals in the first place because I do not really like to mix systems, but I also think that's probably more of a personal preference than anything technical. If you try it, do let me know how it goes.

(2) Sort of, yes. I find that using the forms for tuning in the "wrong" hour does work, but it works better if the hour is right AND you use the forms. Also, I think it is likely that the planetary days and hours system was possibly developed as a shorthand for the chart victor, for which I have the full formula in my Chart Victor Calculation article. I find that regardless of day and hour, if your chart victor is favorable the operation will generally work well even without the forms. Day and hour do play into that calculation, but there are also a number of other traditional astrological factors.

I wouldn't say that using the forms will mitigate a bad astrological aspect. Generally those will affect your operations whether you use forms or not.

(3) Yes, that same trick will work with Kings, but by calling on Carmara rather than Hagonel. Princes listen to Hagonel and Kings listen to Carmara.

(4) Probably not. There might be some circumstance under which it could work, but it's going to be pretty unreliable at best.

Mauricio said...

Masterful disertation...

Mauricio said...

Great exposition.
two questions: following your advice on the last paragraph, when one does a work with a spirit, one binds the work or spell done or binds the spirit itself? maybe is the same thing but how you'll word it? like "I bind this spell to this ring" or "I bind you so and so spirit to this ring" ?

2- When invokin a zodiacal sign, we use the hexagram of the ruling planet, but is there a sign that represents the zodiacal sign or you just say "Virgo" or Aries as you trace the invoking hexagram of the ruling planet?

Scott Stenwick said...

For your first question, it works like object-oriented programming. Actually, all spirit work does, binding or not. When you conjure a spirit, you aren't conjuring the single macrocosmic manifestation of that spirit into your circle. Spirits are non-local entities, so in their "native form" they are less bound by time and space than we are.

When you conjure, then, what manifests is an "instance" of that spirit formed by the relationship between your human consciousness and the non-local consciousness of the spirit. The power of your rite is the power of the instance, which combines the spirit's ability to influence probability with your own.

So if you were to bind a spirit into an object, what is bound is the "instance" conjured during the operation. The spirit itself in its native form is more like the "baseclass" used to "instantiate" the manifestation that you are working with and/or binding. If you're a programmer like me that will make perfect sense, but otherwise it might not. I'm happy to clarify if it's confusing.

With a talisman, it is less common to bind the instance of a spirit into and more common to just rework the charge a bit. So instead of "Spirit, I call on you to perform this task" you use something like "Spirit, I call on you to empower this talisman to perform this task." Talismans are by far the best way to go for anything that you want to have a lasting effect, whereas straight conjurations are usually what I use for single tasks with more limited scopes.

For your second question, I trace the symbol of the zodiacal sign in the center of the hexagram. You can find those in any chart or astrological website. You vibrate ARARITA as you trace the hexagram, and vibrate the godname you are using for the rite as you trace the symbol. It's just like with planets that way.

Jma524 said...

Hi, I’m looking to explore the hexagram ritual, specifically to create personality changes. How can I lean what signs/planets to use? I am a Gemini, Leo rising, Scorpio moon. I’m looking to be more solid and set goals and bri g to completion. My Gemini seems to always have me moving from one thing to the next, without completion of the goal. Also, I’m too easily offended or thin skinned. Can you suggest resources or reading materials or can you give specific instruction? Thank you.

Scott Stenwick said...

Sure. If you want to deal with personality traits associated with the signs or planets you can create talismans to help with that. A talisman is better because you can create it once and you don't have to recast.

With the example of Gemini - use a ritual like this one:

You would make your talisman out of a material appropriate to Gemini. If you want to use a stone, Liber 777 lists Alexandrite, Tourmaline, and Iceland Spar. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, which corresponds to both quicksilver and any alloy. So something like brass would work fine there. There's more information on talismans in my latest video from July 21st.

When you deliver the charge to the angel, modify it so that you say "Empower this talisman to keep my Gemini nature from moving on from tasks before they are completed" or something like that.

Similar operations can be done with all the elements, planets, and signs.

javier said...

Hi Scott,
Is it really necessary to project 4 pentagrams or hexagrams in each quadrant? in addition to the one that takes place in the center ..
I think that just making the figure -hexagram or pentagram-is enough, it also allows you to concentrate much more on the Rite.the truth is that the results are equivalent, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that Magic does not follow standard patterns,doing so it is much faster to concentrate energies in a more direct way

Scott Stenwick said...

I assume what you are asking about is tracing pentagrams or hexagrams at all four quadrants, not four figures per quadrant for a total of sixteen - because if you mean the latter, I have no idea where that idea would have come from.

The reason that you trace pentagrams and hexagrams to all four quadrants is to tune your entire magical working space for the spirit or force that you are calling up. When working with a spirit, I find that it works better to tune the full space prior to the conjuration. The tuning sets the environment so that the power of the spirit can manifest more fully in line with the particular goal of the operation.

If you are working with an element or planet more like a force or energy, though, there's another way to do it using a single figure. In the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, the elements follow the order of the zodiac. With elements it's easy - trace a single pentagram across your altar to the corresponding direction Fire - East, Water - North, Air - West, Earth - south.

With planets it's a little more involved. Place zero degrees Aries in the east and then process around the circle counter-clockwise to 0 Cancer in the north, 0 Libra in the West, 0 Capricorn in the south, and back to Aries in the east. Then consult an ephemeris or astrology software to find the location of the planet at the time you will be performing your operation. Cast across the altar in that direction. So today Jupiter happens to be at 17 degrees Capricon, making your direction slightly to the east of south.

For signs, use the 0-degree point for the sign. That one's easier too, in the sense that like the elements it doesn't depend on making any calculations. For Aries, for example, you would just trace your hexagram across the altar to the East.

As far as the results being equivalent - are you sure? That is, have you precisely measured the probability shift produced by both methods and concluded that they are indeed the same? Using a single figure is clearly faster to perform because there's less tracing, but I find that at least for me the trade-off is that the probability shift is reduced at least a little when I start dropping steps from the template. Just because you can get results with two distinct methods doesn't mean they work equally well - it just means they both work to some degree. Sorting out those degrees is the tricky part.

But by all means, experiment as you see fit, and feel free to share your insights. We have to do that if we're ever going to build up a body of magical knowledge on par with what we see in the physical sciences.

javier said...

Yes Scott, I mean that. If I am going to evoke for example the energy of Mars, I do not use the 4 hexagrams in each quadrant, I use the hexagram on the magic link that is inside the trithemic Table, that's where I pronounce the entire hierarchy, so it happens that I can dedicate more time to concentration, visualization and contact with the forces - by the way the tarot is wonderful for that -. This allows me to explore astrological, planetary energies etc with more precision, personally to enhance that Attunement it is very powerful to visualize the luminous colors of the sphere, element etc ... around the Temple. After much experimentation I came to this conclusion, of course the pentagrams or hexagrams can be made on the 4 quadrants, but certainly not in practical work it is necessary, I think as training can help,This method is more direct, now for example I am going to work a great demonstration with the 4 court figures the Tetragrammaton in the rods (fire in this case) and then I continue from ace to 10 of rods and use this system with all invocations necessary, in the Trithemic Table and with the tarot as a magic link -no talisman-I make the pentagram of the spirit and fire as I have commented before

Scott Stenwick said...

Personally I find that if I tune the whole space and then go through the conjuration with the appropriate hierarchies and so forth the overall operation works better. But if what you are doing is working for you, by all means keep at it. My first rule of magick is that if it works, it works.

Merlyn78 said...

Hi Scott.

I've a question about the use of the Greater Hexagram Rituals when Astral Traveling:
I'm aware that the purpose of the Greater Ritual is to "Tune a Space". The nature of the Kabalistic Pathworking that I am most familiar with is the one taught by Donald Michael Kraig, using Tarot Cards as Astral "doors", etc.

Pathworking, as I understand it, is "traveling to" a Sephira. Whereas, "Tuning a Space" is bringing the Sephira to you. If one tunes the space, then does that make the Astral Traveling redundant, or would it simply strengthen the personal connection with the sephira upon arrival? What are your thoughts on this, please?


Scott Stenwick said...

The short answer is that when your are tuning your space you also are tuning yourself since macrocosm includes microcosm. So when you are reaching out to connect with a spirit or a spiritual realm, you are tuning yourself so that you are more in harmony with its nature. If you are calling the spirit into your working space, you are tuning the space so that it will be more in harmony with the nature of the spirit. It works both ways.

Alex Scaraoschi said...

What Scott said.

I would caution you without the intent of frightening you though, that any such pathworking can manifest as an "initiation" to a degree. I specifically wrote initiation inside quote marks because it's obvious it's not the same thing. But it can very well happen that whatever lessons are being taught to you during these operations can manifest through changes in your mundane environment in such a way that you will make use of whatever you've learned during the pathworkings so that you can overcome the challenges, thus leveling-up so to speak. This can be the case especially when tuning the space to the macrocosmos.

Merlyn78 said...

Thanks, Scott. That makes a lot of sense.

Philip said...

For pure personality changes, would you recommend summoning spirits and charging them at all? Or just doing the LIRP, MP, and GIRH with the exact planet's hexagram? Would you use the planetary Sephira or path? For example, working with Mars to control your anger.

Scott Stenwick said...

When working with magick you always want to formulate some kind of charge or intent. LRP/MP/GIRH without anything after them just (A) does the same thing as an LRP/MP, and then (B) tunes your sphere of sensation to a planet.

But the point of tuning at all is to set up your space for some sort of intent and/or conjuration. You don't necessarily have to work with spirits, but you have to do something to set your intent or objective. It can be as simple as a written statement of intent or a sigil, or it could be a full conjuration. If you're working microcosmically there isn't a lot of difference.

So your sequence for what you describe here would more like this:

GIRH - Mars
Statement of intent, sigil, conjuration, etc. to set your intent.
Qabalistic Cross on its own to seal and close the rite.

I would go with sephira rather than path here for that particular intent. The sephiroth are related to visions (that is, changes in consciousness) while the paths are more related to practical effects (like casting or protecting from curses, for example, for Mars).

Pete said...

Thank you for this exceedingly informative post!

I wonder whether I can invoke a particular planet daily for a period of time?
Or perhaps a Sephira would be better?

Scott Stenwick said...

Some people do use the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for the planet corresponding to the day as part of their daily practice. Most of the time that's the sephirothic version rather than the path version, but I think some of that is because the distinction between paths and sephiroth is not taught as widely as it should be.

Nonetheless, if you are looking to cultivate the general characteristics of a planet rather than accomplish a specific practical objective, the sephirothic version is probably going to be closer to what you want. On the other hand, if you were casting for a specific practical intent, the path version will probably work better in that context.

Pete said...

Thank’s for this reply!

But does this implies/allows for also using GIRH for a specific planet/sephira on non-corresponding days for extended periods?

For instance doing periods of invoking only Mars or Mercrury (on a daily) to cultivate specific characteristics?

Scott Stenwick said...

You can do that as part of a specific operation, for example if you want to do a Jupiter operation that spans four days or a Mars operation that spans five or whatever.

One thing that's important to understand, though, is that the primary purpose of the GRH is to tune a magical working space so that you will have a proper environment in which to do magick related to a planet or sign. So this ritual by itself doesn't have a particularly powerful practical effect. If you want to cultivate characteristics specific to a planet, you are much better off doing something like a full planetary operation to create a talisman, which you would then charge with cultivating the characteristics that you want.

Pete said...

Thanks for the answers!

Now I understand. Charging a talisman definitely makes more sense.

I know you don’t regard the unicursal hexagram as much of a macrocosmic symbol. But what do you think of using it for GIRH Sun?
Also if go I with the traditional GIRH Sun, stacking all planetary hexagrams on top of each other in each direction, do I have to trace the Sun symbol for each of them, or only do that once in each direction?


Scott Stenwick said...

I do not recall saying anywhere that the unicursal cannot be a macrocosmic figure. In fact, I use it as a macrocosmic figure in the version of the LRH that my magical working group developed. So not sure where you are getting that.

I know a number of Thelemic magicians who use the unicursal traced from the center point for the Sun and they report getting good results. Personally I stick with the unicursal for my version of the LRH and possibly the Star Sapphire - working on testing that now, even though I was recommending the standard hexagram in my old Star Sapphire article.

When working with standard solar hexagram, I vibrate ARARITA as I draw each of the six hexagrams, and then trace the symbol of the Sun once while I vibrate the godname. You don't trace symbols for any of the other planets because you are not actually invoking them.

Pete said...

Well, then it’s my mistake.
Thank you so much for this reply. It clarified so much!

Do you have all the Unicursal hexagrams on your blog? I found several options on how to trace them, and that gets me puzzled.

Also, is there a post on your blog with your version of the rite. I’m really curious to give it a try.

All the things I implemented from your blog (about the different fields of operation, and not closing my rites with LBRP and LBRH) made an enormous difference.

Once more, thanks!

Stay Safe!

Scott Stenwick said...

You are very welcome!

I do not have all the different versions of how different people trace the unicursal on here. I don't think there's a general consensus among practitioners, so we are to some extent at a "try it and see what works" perspective at this time.

Here's the Comselh Ananael Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. You can see me do it in the videos of the various elixir rites.

Glad to hear that the material is working for you!

Bishop said...

In some variations of Greater Pentagram zodiac sings are used,for example a Zodiac Sing of Aquaris in the East ?

Is there a ritual that would let you to feel Kether State of Union temporally?

Bishop said...

I mean do your know about Greater Pentagram rituals doing it with Zodiac singns ,it s smiliar to Elevenfold Rite?

Scott Stenwick said...

One of the differences between the Golden Dawn system and the Thelemic system is that the Golden Dawn system uses the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for zodiac signs, while in the Thelemic system we use the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for zodiac signs. So I'm familiar with that method, but it's not the method that I use.

Technically a sign can be thought of as element plus modality (cardinal, fixed, mutable) just as easily as it can be thought of as planet plus sect (diurnal or nocturnal). So there's no reason to think that the Golden Dawn method wouldn't work. I just don't have much experience with it myself.

Probably the closest thing to get you to a Kether state is formless meditation, like dzogchen or mahamudra is considered the "highest level" practice in Tibetan Buddhism. The problem with any specific ritual is that in the Kether state there is no difference between subject and object, so anything like ritual methods or tools will distract from that realization.

Pete said...

Hey Scott,
Thank you for this thorough explication of GIRH and the treasure of practical information that is your blog.

Considering that the GD recommends Saturn/Binah hexagrams for also working with Chokmah and Kether with SRH, I wonder if that can apply to GIRH? I wonder because I found some sources outlining such rites while using Venus hexagrams for Chokmah (+ sigil of Chokmah or spirit spokes wheel) and Mars/Geburah hexagrams (+ dot Kether sigil ) for Kether. I wonder what is your take on that.

Scott Stenwick said...

For Chockmah I do the GRH like this:

1. Trace the Invoking Hexagram of Saturn in Gray while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah). The Hexagram of Saturn is used for all three supernals, but with different colors for each. The Invoking Hexagram of Saturn is traced by starting at the top point and tracing the first triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the bottom point and tracing the second triangle clockwise from there.
2. Trace the symbol of the zodiac in the center of the hexagram in gray while vibrating YAH. This symbol is a wheel that is similar to the wheel of spirit, but divided into twelve sections instead of eight.

Chockmah is the sephira of the zodiac, so something like Venus wouldn't necessarily fit.

For Kether I do it like this:

1. Trace the Invoking Hexagram of Saturn in brilliant white while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah). The Hexagram of Saturn is used for all three supernals, but with different colors for each. The Invoking Hexagram of Saturn is traced by starting at the top point and tracing the first triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the bottom point and tracing the second triangle clockwise from there.
2. Trace the symbol of the primum mobile in the center of the hexagram in deep black while vibrating EHEIEH. This symbol is usually drawn as a spiral with four arms that meet in the center.

Kether is the sephira of the primum mobile, so again, not sure that using a planet like Mars would fit.

That being said, I haven't tried using planet symbols like that so I'm not sure how (or if) it would work. If you want to try working that way, experimentation is likely required to see if it's useful or not.

Pete said...

Dear Scott,
Thank you for this thorough reply.

I assume Chokmah's color is grey (both hexagram and sigil)

Otherwise, the paths/planets use the King and Sephiroth Queen scale for both the hexagram and sigil. Is that correct?
Regarding the Sun/Tiphereth, are the 6 planetary hexagrams in identical colors, or do they use those of the path sephira: yellow and orange.

Lastly, the zodiac signs follow the same scale for hexagram and sigil; according to some sources, they do, and according to others, they don't. Luckily there's your blog, one can always trust.


Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, for Chockmah both the sigil and hexagram are grey. Paths use King Scale, Sephiroth use Queen Scale. I call those the "natural colors" for those Paths/Sephiroth in my writings, so if you see me use that term, that's what I mean. The Sun hexagram is drawn in yellow or orange, not multiple colors.

I post what I do, so I use King Scale for the signs of the zodiac and Queen Scale for Chockmah (always grey) for their sephirothic aspects. Sephirothic zodiac hexagrams always are traced like Saturn, always in grey, and the godname is always JAH. The only difference between is the sigil of the sign.

Pete said...

Thank you so much! I appreciate the clarification

Pete said...

Hey, one more think.
Does this mean, the sephirotic zodiac sigils have the same Chokmah grey color, or they use different ones?

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, grey is its own complement, so both the hexagrams and sigils should be grey for Chockmah.

Pete said...

Thanks. I got that for Chokmah, I asked about the mystical/sephirothic way for the Zodiac signs. Are they exactly like Chokmah in terms of color, or does the sign follow the path color, Queen scale, I assume?


Scott Stenwick said...

All the zodiac signs are sephirothically attributed to Chockmah, so you use the Chockmah colors (grey/grey) when working with the signs sephirothically for mystical operations.

When working with the signs by path for practical powers, you use the King Scale colors like you do for all the other paths. As shown here:

Those posts lay out all 12 zodiacal operations including the colors for the GRH.

Pete said...

Thanks again!

I went through the post and its other parts. It's unreal how much information your blog offers. What I'd like to know is that:
Do the zodiac signs mystical aspects (Chokmah colors) also use Saturn hexagrams, or they stick to their ruling planets' hexagrams just in grey (Chokmah) colors.

When doing the paths of Zodiac signs, do I trace both the hexagram and the signs in Natural Path colors, or rather use the Natural Path colors (king scale) only for the hexagram and the complementary ones for the signs.

Lastly, what colors use the signs ruled by the Sun.

I'll be happy if you let me know.

Once more, thanks for your amazing contribution! Your blog includes so many things bestselling books should actually include!


Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, sephirothic zodiac signs are always Chockmah - grey, Saturn hexagram. The only difference is the symbol of the sign drawn in the center, which is also grey.

I do the natural path color (King Scale) for the hexagrams and the complement for the symbol of the sign. But I also can see where doing both in the natural color could work, it's just not the way I do it.

Leo is the only sign ruled by the Sun. Its natural color (King Scale) is yellow with a slight greenish tint.

You're very welcome! I try to make as much information available as I can.

Pete said...

Thank you so much.

But considering the colors of the practical Zodiac Hexagram, they don't seem to follow and of the Tree scales.

Is that correct?

Scott Stenwick said...

I am not sure what you mean by not following the Tree scale.

The practical aspects of the signs are attributed to their corresponding paths. Because they are paths, they use the King Scale for the path from Liber 777.

If you mean the sephirothic scale, then yes, they are different - but paths are part of the Tree of Life just as much as the sephiroth are.

Or do you mean something else by Tree Scale?

Pete said...

Hey Scott,
Thanks for the reply!

I understand the path's colors are attributed to the signs' practical aspects. So, Leo is a greenish-yellow hexagram with a red/scarlet Leo Sign? Right? I am asking because some sources recommend a yellow hexagram and violet Leo sign for Leo.

I also wonder if the Kether symbol (often) found on the Internet, partially resembling Mercury's, won't do as well. Otherwise, doesn't the symbol of Primum Mobile resemble an original swastika, and where can I actually find it.

Lastly, how many knocks/rings before the signs' practical aspect; for the mystical, I assume these are two as Chokmah is number 2.

Writing this made me wonder if using 4 knocks for the 21 Path (Kaph) is really appropriate or if 21 is even more so.

I wonder what is your take on these. And I'd be very glad if you let me know.


Scott Stenwick said...

For the paths I go off Liber 777 for the base color and use that for the hexagram. Then I trace the symbol in its complementary color. So Leo would be a slightly greenish yellow hexagram with a violet Leo sign. Violet is slightly reddish purple, so the complement of greenish yellow.

That "Kether" symbol is for Pluto, and I don't recommend using it. Crowley originally laid out the supernals with Uranus mapped to Chockmah and Neptune mapped to Kether in the 1920's. When Pluto was discovered, he moved Uranus into Daath and assigned Pluto to Kether, which as I see it is not a good set of associations.

But then Pluto gets demoted and is no longer a planet because there are a bunch of similar objects out in the Kuipper belt. That's why the "dwarf planet" thing makes sense, because Pluto is fundamentally different even though we didn't realize it back when it was discovered. So I use the earlier 1920's attributions as far as those planets go.

The Primum Mobile symbol that I use is similar to a swastika, but spinning in the opposite direction and with rounded corners so it looks like a swirl. You can find it here.

The number of knocks for the signs are always the number of the sephirah mapped to the sign's ruling planet. The key scale number is really only Qabalistically relevant for the sephiroth, not the paths. The paths are given those key scale numbers for convenience, not because they're magically relevant. So here is what you use:

Aries and Scorpio - 5 (Mars)
Taurus and Libra - 7 (Venus)
Gemini and Virgo - 8 (Mercury)
Cancer - 9 (Moon)
Leo - 6 (Sun)
Sagittarius and Pisces - 4 (Jupiter)
Capricorn and Aquarius - 3 (Saturn)

Path 21 is Jupiter, so 4 is the correct number. 21 has no special magical relevance, it's just the key scale number.

Pete said...

Hey Scott,
once more thanks for the thorough answer.
That's precisely the Kether symbol I actually thought of.
Oddly, some books recommend a simple white dot (like the Sol symbol minus the circle) .

I wish some of the best sellers on Magick were more like this blog.

Do you know where I can find all the names of the Planets/Paths, the Sephiroth, and the Signs?

As far as I know, the last only have a permutation and an angel.

I'll be happy if you let me know.


Scott Stenwick said...

All the attributions I use are from Liber 777. You can find an online version here:

Note that the angels of the zodiac signs are listed in the "Geomantic Intelligences" column, which is kind of misleading. Otherwise it's mostly straightforward.