Friday, May 31, 2019

Thoughts on the Rose Cross Ritual

A reader asked me for some thoughts on this ritual, since I have yet to post a commentary on it. I don't personally use it as written, which is why I haven't posted a commentary up until now. With the Thelemic rituals Aleister Crowley combined the functionality of this ritual with that of the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram in the Star Sapphire. Still, the ritual is part of the Golden Dawn tradition and a subject of online discussion. As always, my take on these rituals is my own, and should not be taken to represent the interpretation of any particular individual or group. Furthermore, I am not a Golden Dawn initiate, so if you are and your group interprets it differently you probably should stick with that, unless what I have to say here really resonates with you and your magical practice.

And yes, I know that it's Thursday. I originally planned to put this up on Monday, but I wound up having a little more to say than I expected and it took longer to write. Next Monday will be the elixir rite for Gemini, so I didn't want to post it then either.


The stated function of the Rose Cross ritual in the Golden Dawn tradition is to anchor the consciousness of the magician in Tiphareth, the sephira of the Sun that occupies the center of the Tree of Life in Golden Dawn and Thelemic Qabalah. It may be thought of as having a similar effect to the sephirothic version of the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for the Sun, to which is attributed The Vision of the Harmony of Things, The Mysteries of the Crucifixion, and the Beatific Vision. The difference seems to be that the latter is more effective for reaching this state, while the former is supposed to be more effective for maintaining it - especially when performed on a daily basis.


One of the reasons that I don't personally use this ritual is that when I was first working out the operant field method, I had this idea that I could facilitate the harmonious merging of my microcosmic banishing and macrocosmic invocation by performing it directly following the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram. But as far as I can tell, it made no difference whether I performed it or not when I measured the results of my operation. The operant field seemed to just merge on its own, without any addition stabilization. It is possible, though, that the effects are more profound over time if you keep doing it as a daily practice. Again, I did not notice much of a difference when I tried that, but perhaps I didn't do it for long enough or something like that.

At any rate, the figure of the Rose Cross - drawn as a cross conjoined with a circle - is central to the Rosicrucian magical tradition that originated during the European Renaissance and includes modern magical systems such as those of the Golden Dawn and Thelema. In its most basic alchemical form it represents the union of polarities in a balanced configuration that results in the creation of a whole greater than the sum of its parts. These polarities can be active and passive/receptive spirit, solar and lunar energy, the actual and potential worlds, the microcosm and the macrocosm, and so forth. The cross represents the active pole and the circle represents the passive/receptive pole. Combining the two represents the creation of a circuit of magical energy that is more powerful than either pole on its own, much as both an anode and cathode are necessary for the creation of an electrical circuit.

The ritual may be performed with lit stick of incense, preferably appropriate to Tiphareth (Olibanum in Liber 777). I also have experimented with using the invoking wand in place of the incense, which seemed to work about as well. It is performed as follows:

1. Perform the Keyword Analysis if you have not already done so as part of a magical practice session or larger rite. If you already have opened an operant field this step is not necessary, since this ritual will be following the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram.

2. In the southeast corner, trace the symbol of the rose cross. Starting at the top if the figure, trace a cross and then a circle not quite big enough to surround the cross. The circle represents the rose. As you make the cross and circle, vibrate YHShVH (yeh-heh-shu-AH). Stab the figure on the last syllable and feel the symbol becoming being energized. If you are visualizing the figure in color, it should be yellow or gold for Tiphareth.

3. Trace a line from the center of the rose cross in the southeast to the southwest corner. Repeat drawing the cross and rose, again vibrating YHShVH as before. Moving from the southeast corner to the southwest corner follows the path of Fortune (Kaph - Jupiter), arriving in Netzach, the sephirah of Venus. This expands the energy of Tiphareth into Netzach.

4. Trace a line from the center of the rose cross in the southwest to the northwest corner. Repeat drawing the cross and the rose, again vibrating YHShVH as before. Moving from the southwest corner to the northwest corner follows the path of The Tower (Peh - Mars), arriving in Hod, the sephira of Mercury. This expands the energy of Tiphareth into Hod.

5. Trace a line from the center of the rose cross in the northwest to the northeast corner. Repeat drawing the cross and the rose, again vibrating YHShVH as before. Moving from the northwest corner to the northeast corner follows the path of The Hanged Man (Mem - Water), arriving in Geburah, the sephira of Mars. This expands the energy of Tiphareth into Geburah.

6. Trace a line back to the southeast to complete the circle, but do not vibrate the word or redraw the cross. Moving from the northeast corner to the southeast corner follows the path of Lust/Strength (Teth - Leo), arriving in Chesed, the sephira of Jupiter. This expands the energy of Tiphareth into Chesed.

7. Trace a line from the rose cross at the southeast corner to the point above your head in the center of your working space. Repeat drawing the cross and the rose, again vibrating YHShVH as before. Moving to the central point above activates the path of The Priestess/High Priestess (Gimel - Moon) and expands the energy of Tiphareth into the realm of the three supernal sephiroth (Binah, Chockmah, and Kether).

8. Trace a line from above you to the northwest corner, then from the northwest corner to the point below your feet in the center of your working space. Repeat drawing the cross and the rose, again vibrating YHShVH as before. Then trace from the central point below back to the southeast corner. Moving to the central point below activates the path of Art/Temperance (Samekh - Sagittarius) and expands the energy of Tiphareth into Yesod, the sephira of the Moon. Completing the circle by moving back to the southeast links this path to the energy of Tiphareth that has expanded into Chesed and Hod.

9. Trace clockwise to the southwest corner. Repeat steps 7 and 8, this time tracing a vertical circle between the southwest and northeast corners. As you pause in each direction, do not redraw the cross and rose, but point to where you drew them before, and vibrate the name. Complete the circle at the southwest corner. This circle links the paths above and below to the energy of Tiphareth that has expanded into Geburah and Netzach.

10. Trace clockwise around the corners back to the southeast. As you move, draw a line around the room. At each corner, point to the spot where you drew the rose cross as if stabbing the center of the rose and again vibrate the name. This circumambulation activates the paths of Fortune, The Tower, The Hanged Man, and Lust/Strength, completing a sphere of Solar energy that expands outward in all directions from Tiphareth.

11. Once you have returned to the southeast, rest the point of the incense or wand briefly at the center of the cross. Then trace another cross and rose, but this time draw them as large as you can. As you draw the cross, vibrate YHShVH. As you draw the circle vibrate YHVShH (yeh-hoh-vah-SHAH). This final rosy cross unites the Tree of Life with the material world of Assiah. Spirit (Shin) unites the cosmic and transpersonal fields in the formula of YHShVH, and the transpersonal and personal fields in the formula of YHVShH. The entire sphere is now empowered with the energy of the Lightning Flash concentrated in Tiphareth.

12. Stand at the center of your working space and face east. See and feel the rose crosses that surround you. This sphere of solar force is protective, stabilizes your consciousness in Tiphareth, and allegedly aids in in "astral invisibility."

The names of power YHShVH and YHVShH constitute two forms of the Pentagrammaton, or five-letter name of God. The Tetragrammaton, or four-letter name of God, is YHVH. This word is not merely a name, but a formula that embodies the process by which the material world is continually created. Each letter traditionally corresponds to one of the four elements and thus one of the four worlds that span the Tree of Life. The first letter, Yod, is attributed to the element of Fire and to Atziluth, the archetypal world, while the second letter, Heh, is attributed to Water and to the creative world of Briah. The third letter, Vav, is attributed to Air and to Yetzirah, the formative world, while the fourth letter, Heh final, is attributed to Earth and to the material world of Assiah.

Some further discussion, beyond the scope of this article, relates to the elemental attributions of the letters. The Philosophers of Nature, a European alchemical group, adjusted the formula so that it follows the order of elemental density. The result is that in their model, Heh is Air and Vav is Water. Yod and Heh final keep their traditional attributions as Fire and Earth respectively. From an experimental standpoint, my magical working group verified that invoking the elements in density order (Earth-Water-Air-Fire) is more effective than in reverse YHVH order (Earth-Air-Water-Fire), but whether that means the order of the elements through the four worlds has not been established.

The principle form of the Pentagrammaton, YHShVH or Yeheshuah, is familiar to Christians as the name of Jesus in Hebrew and Aramaic. The four letters of the Tetragrammaton are still present, but placed in the center of the name is the letter Shin, symbolizing the element of Akasha or Spirit. In esoteric Christianity, the four elemental letters of the Pentagrammaton refer to the human nature of Jesus while the letter Shin refers to his spiritual nature, and as a result the name is a perfect formula for representing a human being completely filled with what Christians call the Holy Spirit or what some New Agers call "Christ Consciousness." Magicians differ from orthodox Christians in that they see Jesus as an example rather than a unique creation and seek to establish the same union of Heaven and Earth within themselves. The idea here is that the only place on the Tree of Life where this union can occur is in Tiphareth, halfway between the most spiritual sephira of Kether and the most material sephira of Malkuth.

The sphere of Tiphareth is also alluded to by the geometry of this ritual. Instead of placing figures at the cardinal points, in the Rose Cross Ritual the magician places them at the cross-quarters and the points above and below the center. These points represent the four paths entering Tiphareth from the spheres of Chesed, Geburah, Netzach, and Hod. The point above represents the path of Gimel, descending from Kether, and the point below you represents the path of Samekh ascending from Yesod. By vibrating YHShVH at the points representing the spheres surrounding Tiphareth, the energy of the Sun flows along each of these paths, activating them. Within each sephira is a representation of the entire Tree of Life, so as you vibrate you are awakening the Tiphareth-nature of the four surrounding spheres.

The key to understanding the final word of power, YHVShH, is in noting the placement of the Shin with respect to the four worlds. In the name YHShVH, Yod and Heh represent the cosmic-level worlds of Atziluth and Briah, and Shin is placed between Heh and Vav, which represents the transpersonal-level world of Yetzirah. In the name YHVShH, the spirit of Shin has descended so that it now unites Yetzirah with the personal-level material world of Assiah. This unites and activates the entire Tree of Life, with the consciousness of the magician centered in Tiphareth.

Now all of that sounds very impressive! The symbolism spans the entire Tree of Life and extends the solar energies of Tiphareth throughout the other sephiroth. This also suggests another ritual, the original Felkin version of the Middle Pillar Ritual as described by Israel Regardie. Unlike in the Regardie ritual, with Felkin's version you would visualize the color and vibrate the godname of the single aspect that you wanted to invoke at each of the middle pillar points on the body. So with solar symbolism, you would bring YHVH Eloah Ve-Daath in yellow-gold from the top of the head all the way down to the feet, presumably vibrating it six times at each point since six is the number of Tiphareth.

One of the claims with respect to this ritual is that it confers "astral invisibility." The idea is that when you do a magical working you can call spiritual entities into your presence that may harrass or annoy you, or worse. My opinion is that this may be a misunderstanding based on the development of magical perception - spirits and entities are in fact around you all the time and some of them are mischievous. But they aren't drawn to magical practitioners. All that happens is that once your perceptions start working, you are able to see them and do something about them. Non-practitioners don't have the same luxury.

In fact, spirits and entities are more likely to avoid magical practitioners unless explicitly conjured or summoned. It is very easy for a practicing magician, even a relatively inexperienced one, to destroy a spirit or at least a localized manifestation of one. That's why practicing magicians so rarely encounter haunted houses, even though many of us love older buildings with a rich history. I was told by the previous residents that my current house was haunted, but I have never heard so much as a peep from a spirit I didn't deliberately call up. I set up my temple, started a regular practice, and if they were ever really there they got out as quick as they could.

In fact, one of the criticisms of my operant field method is that it calls in potentially malicious entities, or at least it should according to the standard Golden Dawn paradigm. But I have never encountered anything like that in decades of practice. There really don't seem to be "larvae" or other similar entities floating around in the ether, intent on mobbing the next LBRP they see a magician put up. The whole idea seems to be little more than a superstition promulgated by Victorian magicians in order to make the practice of magick sound scarier and more dangerous than it really is.

Some magicians also claim that this ritual works for physical invisibility as well, or at least the sort of physical invisibility that you can accomplish with magick. Invisibility is one of the powers of the path of The Hermit, attributed to Virgo and extending from Tiphareth to Chesed, and that path does figure prominently in the ritual as it links the southeast corner where the ritual begins and ends with the center. At the same time, though, I've experimented a little with this idea and have encountered nothing definitive enough for me to say one way or the other.

Donald Michael Kraig has a story in Modern Magick in which he claims that he quickly cast a rose cross over his car when he encountered a speed trap. The police car turned on its lights and pulled out, but then drove right by him as if he wasn't even there. But even if it's true, (1) magical invisibility doesn't work once you're seen, and (2) police officers take calls all the time and that's probably what happened - the officer turned on his lights to pull Kraig's car over, but got a more important call and took that instead.

So I do not recommend visualizing rose crosses over your car and expecting that you can then speed with impunity. You probably will get caught, and even if it works remember that you will be "invisible" to other cars on the road as well, and those cars might change lanes right into you if they don't notice you. You would do better to conjure the Angel of Virgo to empower a talisman that will confer invisibility specific to traffic cops on your car. A more elaborate ritual allows you to specify a complex charge rather than trying to rely on a general effect from a field-type ritual.

The solar energy of Tiphareth is a good general protective force and it is very useful for doing your will, overcoming obstacles, and being true to yourself. I have encountered several uncrossing ritual procedures that call on Michael, the angel of the Sun, or the various aspects of Tiphareth, and even though none of them include this ritual the symbolism suggests that it might be helpful. It also should be appropriate for working with the Holy Guardian Angel, since in order to contact the angel your consciousness must be extended into Tiphareth. Also, this ritual is a good preliminary for meditation that is undertaken with the intent of merging your consciousness with the transpersonal field.

But as I said, you can take some of that with a grain of salt. I have worked with this ritual in the past, but only for a limited period of time, and my findings were not particularly impressive. Much as I found with the Opening by Watchtower, this ritual seems to be superfluous or at least subtle when they follow an operant field opening.

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6 comments:

javier said...

Hi Scott

great article Scott!

although it is not the subject How could we invoke in a ritual the salt the sulfur or the mercury ,?
this is prior to the elements, planets and so on,there has to be a ritual procedure

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, there must be. But as far as I know, neither Crowley nor the Golden Dawn ever wrote one up. So we have to improvise.

The three principles are related to the elements, even though they precede them. They also are related to the three modalities of the zodiac - cardinal, fixed, and mutable, even though the zodiac is far more subtle.

If we take the attributions as outline on this web site:

http://www.organic-unity.com/top-menu/the-three-philosophical-principles/

Sulphur = Fire + Air
Mercury = Air + Water
Salt = Water + Earth

So that suggests you could do a modified Greater Ritual of the Pentagram that would at least allude to the idea. I'd think you would drop the spirit pentagrams because what you're doing precedes the element proper, and do something like this.

For Sulphur - Fire pentagram in the east with the Sulphur symbol in the center, Air pentagram in the south with Sulphur symbol, Fire pentagram in the west with Sulphur symbol, Air pentagram in the north with Sulphur symbol.

For Mercury - Air pentagram in the east with the Mercury symbol in the center, Water pentagram in the south with Mercury symbol, Air pentagram in the west with Mercury symbol, Water pentagram in the north with Mercury symbol.

For Salt - Water pentagram in the east with the Salt symbol in the center, Earth pentagram in the south with Salt symbol, Water pentagram in the west with Salt symbol, Earth pentagram in the north with Salt symbol.

But that's just off the top of my head. You might also want to track down proper godnames for the three principles, so you would vibrate the element godname while tracing the pentagram and the godname for the principle while tracing the symbol.

If you do wind up experimenting along those lines, let me know how it goes. I'd be very interesting in seeing how well this works in practice.



Arcadiology said...

Hi Scott, thank you for posting this article. It couldn't have been better timed - a mentor recently recommended I work with this ritual, and having tried it a couple of times I found that it did have a profound effect on the clarity of both my mind and my ritual space. To be fair, this was my first experience with Enochian magick - the version of the ritual I've been using concludes with vibrating the four Tablet of Union Names - which may have largely accounted for my perception of the ritual's power.

One question: There's talk on some magickal internet forums about whether vibrating "YHShVH" and "YHVShH," as instructed here, is suitable in the context of Thelemic ritual. The reasoning goes that these are Old Aeon/"dying god" formulae, although part of me wonders if the motive behind extricating these elements from the ritual may have been simply for sake of their Christian associations. What are your thoughts on this? One of the commenters suggested substituting "ABRAHADABRA" for "YHShVH," but was at a loss as to what to replace "YHVShH" with. My intuition is that these are unnecessary emendations to a ritual that is already New Aeon-compatible, but I'm curious to hear your take on the matter.

Joseph

Rob said...

Hey Scott, you have any idea if there is any angel or archangel responsible for gematria and the way it affects our lives?

Scott Stenwick said...

Joseph: You can do a Thelemic version of this ritual replacing YHShVH with ABRAHADABRA and YHVShH with AUMGN. It seems to work about the same as the original. You should be able to add the Tablet of Union names as well if that's something you want to be doing.

Rob: The power of geomancy is attributed to the path of Earth (32 bis), so my expectation is that the corresponding archangel would be Auriel.

Arcadiology said...

I'll try it. Thank you!