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 EquilibriumMarsEmerald GreenVHYH (Veh-Yah
Scorpio24NecromancyVenusGreen-BlueVHHY (Weh-Hay)
Sagittarius25Transmutations, Vision of Universal PeacockMercuryBlueVYHH (Vay-Heh)
Capricorn26The Witches' Sabbath so called, The Evil EyeMoonIndigoHYHV (Hay-Hav)
Aquarius28 or 15AstrologySunVioletHYVH (Hay-Vah)
Pisces29Bewitchments, Casting IllusionsMercuryCrimsonHHYV (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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4 comments:

enokiano1 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...