Tuesday, January 29, 2008

AOIVEAE - An Enochian Pentagram Ritual (V3)

This ritual has been on the Internet for awhile at my old website and has been revised and modified a number of times. It is essentially an Enochian version of the Golden Dawn Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. This is the third finished version of the ritual.

A number of writers have come up with Enochian pentagram rituals of this sort and they all share certain similarities. It is pretty clear that the most logical names to use when tracing the pentagrams are the threefold names of God from Dee and Kelley's Great Table (ORO IBAH AOZPI, MPH ARSL GAIOL, OIP TEAA PDOCE, and MOR DIAL HCTGA) and the most logical equivalents to the Archangels are the Kings of the four directions (BATAIVAH, RAAGIOSL, EDLPRNAA, and ICZHIHAL).

Beyond that, though, there are a number of differences between my version of the ritual and the other versions that are available.
  1. Instead of trying to reproduce the Qabalistic Cross I instead begin and end my version of the ritual by tracing the figure of the pentagram across my body accompanied by names from the Tablet of Union. To me this embodies the statement in the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram "About me flames the Pentagram." The ritual begins with the Invoking Pentagram of Active Spirit and ends with the Invoking Pentagram of Passive Spirit, setting up the two basic polarities of the suble body.
  2. I use the directional arrangement from the Reformed Great Table of 1587. There is some discussion among magicians regarding which version of the Great Table is the "best" but I have found that I get better magical results with the Reformed version. It's good to test this out, because your experience may vary.
  3. For this version I have finally given up on the idea of associating specific elements with each direction. Most authors do this using the Golden Dawn arrangement, with which I have some issues. In fact, the original Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram uses the Pentagram of Earth for all four quarters. I have done the same here.
  4. There is no English in my ritual - the entire text is written in the Angelic language, which I believe makes it more effective. It works even better if you do it while wearing the Enochian PELE ring.
  5. My final statement is completely different from the Golden Dawn version. It is a Thelemic allusion to the union of Nuit and Hadit.
Here is the full ritual text.
  1. Stand in the center of your temple facing east. If possible, wear the Enochian PELE ring. If you wish to use a magical weapon, use the banishing dagger for the banishing form and the invoking wand for the invoking form. Your Air Dagger and Fire Wand can double as these, but I prefer to use dedicated tools.
  2. With your finger or magical weapon, trace from your left hip to your right shoulder while vibrating NANTA (Earth), from your right shoulder to left shoulder while vibrating HCOMA (Water), from your left shoulder to right hip while vibrating EXARP (Air), from your right hip to your forehead while vibrating BITOM (Fire), and finally from your forehead back to your left hip while vibrating EHNB (Spirit). Then clasp your hands over your heart and vibrate IAIDA ("The Highest"). Visualize the pentagram traced over your body in bright electric lavender.
  3. In the east, trace the Banishing Pentagram of Earth while vibrating ORO IBAH AOZPI. The pentagrams should be visualized as formed from burning flames and as vividly as possible.
  4. Turn to the north. In the north, trace the Banishing Pentagram of Earth while vibrating MOR DIAL HCTGA.
  5. Turn to the west. In the west, trace the Banishing Pentagram of Earth while vibrating OIP TEAA PDOCE.
  6. Turn to the south. In the south, trace the Banishing Pentagram of Earth while vibrating MPH ARSL GAIOL.
  7. Turn back to the east. Extend your arms to form a cross and vibrate:

    RAAS I BATAIVAH ("In the East is BATAIVAH"),
    SOBOLN I EDLPRNAA ("In the West is EDLPRNAA"),
    BABAGE I RAAGIOSL ("In the South is RAAGIOSL"),
    LUCAL I ICZHIHAL ("In the North is ICZHIHAL").

    Make one full spin counter-clockwise while vibrating MICMA AO COMSELH AOIVEAE ("Behold the Circle of Stars"), then clasp your hands over your heart while vibrating OD OL, MALPRG, NOTHOA ("And I, Through-Thrusting Fire, in the Midst.").
  8. With your finger or magical weapon, trace from your right hip to your left shoulder while vibrating EHNB, from your left shoulder to your right shoulder while vibrating BITOM, from your right shoulder to left hip while vibrating EXARP, from your left hip to your forehead while vibrating HCOMA, and finally from your forehead back to your right hip while vibrating NANTA. Then clasp your hands over your heart and vibrate IAIDA. Visualize the pentagram traced over your body in dark, deep purple.
This is the banishing form of the ritual. The invoking form is the same except that the pentagrams should be the Invoking Pentagram of Earth and they should be traced to the quarters in clockwise order. The directional names remain the same. Also, the spin should be clockwise to align with your initial clockwise rotation.

A number of variations on this ritual are possible. It can be adapted to fit the Golden Dawn directional arrangement without too much difficulty - you swap the names associated with the west and south, so that you vibrate OIP TEAA PDOCE in the south and MPH ARSL GAIOL in the west, and switch RAAGIOSL and EDLPRNAA when calling the Kings. I like to trace the pentagrams as I vibrate the associated name, but you could also visualize the pentagrams on your forehead and "fling" them to the quarters along with the vibrations as in Aleister Crowley's Star Ruby.

Monday, January 28, 2008

An Enochian Greater Ritual of the Heptagram

Here's a chance to engage in some cutting-edge magical research. Over the years my magical working group has done some work with John Dee and Edward Kelley's Enochian system. In one of those operations we received names in the Angelic language for the five classical planets that are not named in Dee and Kelley's Calls. The two that are named are the Sun (ROR) and the Moon (GRAA). I did the scrying for this session, and while I am not normally all that great a scryer this particular operation seemed to go smoothly. When I asked the spirit for the names of the planets I was immediately struck by the image that the first letter of each planet's name corresponded with the sound of the appropriate Hebrew letter according to the Golden Dawn arrangement. Prior to that, I had never noticed that ROR begins with the same sound as Resh, the Hebrew letter corresponding to the Sun, and that GRAA begins with the same sound as Gimel, the letter corresponding to the Moon.

Here are all seven classical planet names, including the five that we received.

1. Venus - DMUZ
2. Sun - ROR
3. Mars - PAROTH
4. Jupiter - KYLMA
5. Mercury - BANRO
6. Saturn - TUR
7. Moon - GRAA

Knowing these names makes it possible to construct a ritual akin to the Golden Dawn Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for the Enochian system. Rather than using the figure of the hexagram, the figure of the heptagram seems more appropriate to Enochian work given the significance of the number seven throughout the system. The seven Ensigns of Creation, one for each planet, are place on the Holy Table in the shape of a heptagram. For the purposes of this ritual, I have associated the seven planets with the points of the heptagram in the order of the seven Ensigns. This is the order in which the names appear on the list above, beginning with the top point of the heptagram and moving clockwise. As with the Golden Dawn Greater Ritual of the Hexagram, to invoke a planet you start at the appropriate point and trace clockwise, while to banish a planet you trace counter-clockwise instead.

Since this ritual follows the Golden Dawn structure, the last word that is required is some Angelic equivalent of ARARITA. This is a Notariquon or acronym for "One is his beginning; one is his individuality; his permutation is one” and in addition is a formula of seven letters, also alluding to the planets. As it turns out, the Calls contain a pretty good match: GE-IAD-I-L, meaning "Our Lord and Master is All One." Not only is the meaning very similar, it also consists of seven Angelic letters. I pronounce this phrase in the Calls as geh-ee-AHD EE LAH, though it could also be run together as geh-ee-ahd-EEL, which has four syllables like ARARITA. I plan on starting my testing of the ritual using the standard pronunciation, since in some ways five syllables is really more appropriate than four. As I see it, this ritual conjoins the planetary and elemental spheres, and five represents the pentagram, whereas four represents the cross of the elements and could be said to exclude Spirit.

For visualization of lineal figures, I use the Golden Dawn flashing color method. I visualize the lineal figure itself in the color associated with the planet and then visualize the figure in the center appearing in its compliment. This helps to make the visualization more intense and is also easy to practice - just build the figures you will be tracing out of construction paper or paint them onto a piece of paper in the proper colors and meditate on them. The contrast makes for a strong and lasting memory impression.

The proper colors depend on whether you are working along active or receptive lines. The Golden Dawn system actually has four color scales attributed to the four Qabalistic worlds, called the King, Queen, Prince, and Princess scales. The four worlds correspond to the four letters of YHVH and represnt the realms through which potentiality manifests as physical reality. For normal use, you should only need the King and Queen scales. The former is used when working active magick, whereas the latter is used when working receptive magick. In terms of the Tree of Life, paths correspond to the King scale whereas spheres correspond to the Queen scale. The paths represent magical powers of various sorts, whereas the spheres represent mystical realizations. You can consult column XLV: Magical Powers [Western Mysticism] of Liber 777 for a complete list.

The colors for the planets are as follows:

Venus - King scale emerald green, compliment scarlet. Queen scale green, compliment red.
Sun - King scale orange, compliment blue. Queen scale yellow, compliment purple.
Mars - King scale scarlet, compliment emerald green. Queen scale red, compliment green.
Jupiter - King scale violet, compliment yellow. Queen scale blue, compliment orange.
Mercury - King scale yellow, compliment purple. Queen scale orange, compliment blue.
Saturn - King scale indigo, compliment pale yellow. Queen scale black, compliment white.
Moon - King scale blue, compliment orange. Queen scale violet, compliment yellow.

So this gives the basic structure of the ritual. The heptagrams are traced to the four quarters just like Golden Dawn hexagrams - you start at the point with which you are working and trace clockwise to invoke and counter-clockwise to banish. You start in the east and trace the appropriate heptagram to each direction moving clockwise. The heptagram should be traced with a single point up, just like the Ensigns are arranged on the Holy Table. You vibrate GE-IAD-I-L when tracing the figure in the color of the planet and vibrate the planet name while tracing the astrological symbol of the planet in the center in the flashing color.

This ritual has not been tested yet, but my hypothesis is that it should make Enochian planetary workings more effective. This is because it uses the Angelic language and not the "intermediary" language of Hebrew. It is not that Hebrew works poorly with the Enochian system - actually in my experience it is the only language besides Angelic itself that works well and it is found in John Dee's diaries. Notably, Dee and Edward Kelly contacted the traditional four Archangels and addressed them by their Hebrew names. As with any magical working posted to this site, I invite you to try it out and post your results. This ritual should follow the Golden Dawn "Lesser" rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram or their equivalent.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Could Magick Protect Memory?

Recent brain imaging studies have found that memory and imagination are closely linked. The hippocampus, a small structure in the limbic cortex, has long been recognized as a key area of the brain for forming new memories and it now appears that it is equally instrumental in imagining future events. Another recent study compared the ability of young versus old adults in a simple test that involved either remembering a past episode or imagining a future event based on a cue word. Younger people were able to both imagine and remember more detailed accounts in terms of both the images themselves and related emotional content.


As the Boomer generation ages the popularity of puzzles and brain teasers has increased, based on studies that show using the brain's ability to work through problems can delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. If memory and imagination are indeed linked, magick that involves the visualization of lineal figures and detailed godforms might have a similar effect. It is even possible that complex visualizations could do a better job of strengthening memory than Suduko.

While there are too few elderly ritual magicians for us to get much of a sample size, I've never heard of a practitioner who was later struck with Alzheimer's disease, even at advanced age. Another tradition that is much larger and also uses complex visualization is Tibetan Buddhism, and I can also say that in my studies I haven't come across any well-known Tibetan lamas who suffered from dementia in old age. Given how common Alzheimer's is I'm sure there have been some, but it certainly seems as though the incidence is significantly reduced compared to the general population.


This could make for some interesting future research.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Review: Ritual Versus Ceremonial Magick

A while back I received a copy of Joseph Lisiewski's Ceremonial Magic & The Power of Evocation as a gift from a fellow magician who bought it based on the promotional description and of course the cover art, which is just plain cool. When I read through the book, though, I found it absolutely infuriating. Lisiewski is convinced that the only kind of magick that can ever work has to be performed by following one of the old grimoires to the letter, without making any changes or innovations to the ceremonial forms. He even goes so far as to equate someone who spends years learning and perfecting modern magical forms to the sort of idiot who makes statements like "I set up my magical circle when I put on my belt" - simply because Golden Dawn magick is not a literal reproduction of a grimoire text dating from before 1350.

As I thought more about it, though, I realized that part of my reaction was due to the fact that what Joseph Lisiewski and I do magically are fundamentally different - Lisiewski is a ceremonial magician whereas I am a ritual magician. To most people, and even the majority of practitioners, “ritual magick” and “ceremonial magick” are synonymous. However, there is an important difference between the two terms. In a magical and/or spiritual context, ritual is defined (http://www.dictionary.com/) as:

1. an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.
2. a system or collection of religious or other rites.
3. observance of set forms in public worship.
4. a book of rites or ceremonies.
5. a book containing the offices to be used by priests in administering the sacraments and for visitation of the sick, burial of the dead, etc.
6. a prescribed or established rite, ceremony, proceeding, or service: the ritual of the dead.

Ceremony, on the other hand, is defined somewhat differently in the same context:

2. a formal religious or sacred observance; a solemn rite: a marriage ceremony.

The difference between the two is that a ritual consists of the necessary instructions for performing a ceremony, whereas a ceremony refers to a specific performance of a given ritual. Ceremonial magicians like Lisiewski work from grimoires. They do not write or develop their own rituals, but rather adhere as closely as possible to the ritual as specified in the text. The reason that Lisiewski's book is annoying to me is not that it is wrong, exactly, but that he covers ceremonial methods while asserting that they are the only possible way that anyone could get magical results. Also, his condescension toward anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't help matters. While there is nothing wrong with practicing ceremonial magick and ceremonial techniques work for many magicians, for me such an inflexible approach is not particularly compatible with Scientific Illuminism as it tends to enshrine past magical techniques as unchanging dogma.

A ritual magician looks deeper into the mechanics of magick and designs ceremonies based on his or her understanding and insight. In my own professional field of software development, the difference between a ceremonial and a ritual magician is similar to the difference between a coder and a designer. Purely ceremonial magicians like Lisiewski are essentially technicians – they know their rituals and understand when and how to use them, and possess the technical skill to produce good results. Ritual magicians work at the level of liturgy and rubric, creating and testing new magical forms in order to buildup a repository of innovative magical techniques that can address new problems beyond the scope of the old grimoires, or address the same problems more efficiently and effectively.

The fundamental problem with the "pure ceremonial" approach is that even the grimoires written before 1350 must have come from somewhere. The Renaissance "Faustian Grimoires" are almost certainly fakes - they came out after the Faust legend became popular and detail remarkably similar ritual procedures to those found in the fictional account - so an earlier cutoff date is not completely out of line, but for earlier grimoires some ritual magician must have sat down and put the text together. I see no reason why a magician who lived during the Middle Ages would necessarily be able to write a better ritual than I can, given the sheer volume of information that the modern world makes available to me as sources.

It would be truly fascinating to see how these Medieval ritualists complied and tested their texts. The Enochian system of John Dee and Edward Kelley enjoys a fearsome reputation among modern magicians, perhaps because it is literally the only example we have of a complex magical system where the actual transcripts of the spiritual operations that led to its creation are available. This leads to a lot of controversy among practitioners, but it is also a goldmine for ritual magicians everywhere - the building blocks of the system are laid out for study in their original context. The system is also by most accounts particularly effective, maybe because of all the innovations that this open structure enables or maybe because the older grimoires have been degraded by centuries of copying errors.

In the end, it is more Lisiewski's exclusivist attitude that makes his book less worthwhile than it might otherwise be than any particular technical errors. He includes an annoted version of the Heptameron, a famous Medieval grimoire, and gives solid instructions on how to use it. I prefer ritual magick to ceremonial magick simply because I'm essentially a hacker by nature and I'm always looking to enhance and improve my techniques. On the other hand, a ceremonialist will probably that find the book does have some useful advice as long as he or she ignores the pontification.

Want to buy your own copy of Ceremonial Magick and the Power of Evocation by Joseph Lisiewski? Order from my Books and Media page and you can help support Augoeides.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thelema and the Pure View

This article started off as a comment that I was considering posting on Pyrrhotechnics, a blog belonging to a friend and OTO brother, but never actually made it into the comments there or onto the previous version of this blog. My friend was commenting on people who consider themselves Thelemites but nonetheless criticize Aleister Crowley without really understanding his work or practicing his teachings. In response, I posted the following:

Tibetan Buddhists address similar issues with regard to the proper attitude to take toward their lamas in a very succint manner. In their tradition it is said that it is said that if the lama is viewed as an ordinary human, the resulting attainment is that of an ordinary human; if the lama is viewed as a Buddha, the resulting attainment is that of a Buddha; and if the lama is viewed as a dog, the resulting attainment is that of a dog.

Substitute Magus for Buddha and this same idea strikes me as applicable to the proper attitude to take toward Crowley in Thelema.

"Is a God to live in a dog? No!"

The attitude of regarding a Tibetan lama (which incidentally is the Tibetan translation of the more familiar sanskrit guru) as a Buddha is called the Pure View. On the surface it seems counterintuitive, especially since lamas do not actually claim to be enlightened beings themselves and in many cases will actively deny being enlightened if asked. In effect, this attitude could be criticized as "faking it" - you may know that the person giving the teaching does not claim enlightenment, but you are deliberately choosing to regard his or her words as enlightened speech anyway.

Judging from the history of Eastern religious movements in the West, Westerners are not very good at cultivating this sort of attitude. The tendency seems to be for Westerners to either accept every word the teacher utters as truth, or to devalue both the teacher and the teachings. There seems to be little middle ground, which I would argue gives rise to the criticism of Western teachers such as Crowley. Furthermore, this sort of black and white thinking strikes me as sloppy and not particularly conducive to the cultivation of genuine spiritual realization.

The Pure View does not require an abandonment of critical thinking regarding the teachings themselves. Crowley published an extensive set of spiritual techniques and practices, and I do not believe I have ever met anyone who actually makes use of all of them. Thelema is a very individualistic spiritual path and it is left for every student to decide for themselves whether or not a given teaching is appropriate or useful. It does, however, counteract pointless criticism of the teacher. If you believe a spiritual teacher to be genuine you should respect him or her as though you would respect a fully enlightened being.

Where Westerners seem to have problems is that they often assume that if they do not hold the same opinions and have the same personal quirks as their teacher there is something wrong with them. Frederick Lenz, for example, was a self-proclaimed teacher of "American Buddhism" and told his students what movies they should watch, what music they should listen to, and where they should work - all the while collecting the majority of their income. That anyone went along with that sort of teaching amazes me - it simply is irrelevant whether or not you and your teacher like the same movies. I have some things in common with Crowley - for example, I enjoy writing both fiction and nonfiction, ritual magick, philosophy, and chess. On the other hand, I have little interest in mountaineering, writing poetry, or painting.

Crowley produced an enormous body of written work and for better or worse just about every opinion he held is likely in print somewhere. However, unlike most other gurus and teachers he actually helps his students out by offering a handy classification system for his writings. From Thelemapedia:
  • Class [A] consists of books of which may be changed not so much as the style of a letter: that is, they represent the utterance of an Adept entirely beyond the criticism of even the Visible Head of the Organization.
  • Class [B] consists of books or essays which are the result of ordinary scholarship, enlightened and earnest.
  • Class [C] consists of matter which is to be regarded rather as suggestive than anything else.
  • Class [D] consists of the Official Rituals and Instructions.
  • Class [E] consists of manifestos, broadsides, epistles and other public statements. Some publications are composite, and pertain to more than one class.

Furthermore, Crowley considered himself a Scientific Illuminist who practiced "The method of science, the aim of religion." One of the key points of the scientific method is its universality. If a chemist discovers that two substances appear to interact a certain way, the proper scientific response is to replicate the experiment and see if the original reaction can be reproduced. It would be ridiculous to claim that the experiment must be wrong because the chemist who discovered it holds an unpopular political opinion or has problems in their personal life, and to engage in a lengthy debate over the merits of such accusations rather than just running the experiment does nothing to advance the discipline of chemistry. By definitition, Scientific Illuminism does not work with a static body of teachings, but instead allows for experimentation and improvement. If you do the work, this becomes obvious - as long as you work along experimental lines and test out your practices as you modify them.

Buddhist teachings regarding the Pure View are actually very similar to Crowley's advice given in Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae:

In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth, and the Paths, of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things certain results follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.

Whether or not the Pure View has objective validity, the practice itself is important and useful and can lead to real spiritual awakening.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Apocalypse Thwarted!

Satanists all over the world today must be mourning the loss of the Antichrist, who recently took a circular saw and cut off the hand that bore the Mark of the Beast. Then, to make double sure that the evil would not return, he microwaved it. So much for the Revelation...

...and I'm not making this up!

People can talk all they want about how ritual and ceremonial magicians can go crazy or have mental problems, but I have yet to hear of anyone in the magical community doing something this ridiculous. Then again, for all I know this guy might have just saved the planet - with a microwave oven.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Saddest Harry Potter Ever

Back when the Order of the Phoenix film and Deathly Hallows novel came out I wrote that I was tired of Harry Potter entries and wasn't going to write any more of them. I never really got into the books but have enjoyed the films, and there certainly is something to be said for a popular phenomenon that introduces young people to some of the ideas behind ritual magick, even if what is portrayed in the story is often nothing like the real thing.

I guess I was wrong in suggesting that I would write no more about Harry Potter, because this may be old news, but it's the funniest thing ever. Not content with shipping lead painted trains and beads covered in psychoactive chemicals, Chinese entrepreneurs tried to push their own fake Harry Potter novel back in 2002. They didn't do anything logical, either, like scour the Internet for fan fiction and then assemble it into a book. No, they took the entire verbatim text of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and changed many of the names to match those of Harry Potter characters.


The "authors" added a new first chapter in which Harry is conveniently transformed into a Hobbit and a conclusion in which he is transformed back at the end of the book. I'm now imagining all sorts of stupid things I could do using this method. How does this sound?

Harry Potter and the Sandworms. Young Harry, Ron, and Hermione are magically transported to the planet Arrakis, the only place in the universe where a rare spice that heightens magical abilities can be found. Lord Voldemort seeks to kill Harry and take control of the spice that will allow him to fully regenerate his body. He launches an attack upon Arrakis in order to destroy the boy wizard, but in the ensuing confusion Harry escapes into the desert along with Ron and Hermione. There they meet the native people of Arrakis who consider them prophets because of their magical abilities and lead a rebellion to take back the planet from Voldemort's henchmen. After achieving their great victory they return to Diagon Alley by flue powder.

Clearly I'll be a bestselling author in no time!