Monday, September 27, 2010

The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram

This article is a rough transcript of the presentation Michele Monstserrat and I wrote and presented at Twin Cities Pagan Pride 2010 this last Saturday. The presentation was well-received and I hope that those who attended now have a deeper understanding of this basic ceremonial ritual.

Various forms of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram have been used for more than a century by Western magicians. The LRP in its current form was most likely written by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, the original Chief Adept of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. This magical order and its teachings have had a profound effect on the entire Western Mystery Tradition thanks to the publication of certain of its rituals, first by Aleister Crowley in The Equinox and later by Israel Regardie in The Golden Dawn.

It most likely found its way into Wicca and Neopaganism by way of Gerald Gardner, who in addition to founding Gardnerian Wicca was also an initiate of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis and who carried on an extensive correspondence with Crowley in the 1940's when he was putting together the original Gardnerian Book of Shadows.

Today this ritual is found in most introductory books on Western ceremonial magick and is taught in the various Golden Dawn and Thelemic magical orders. The banishing form of this ritual is generally used to initiate ceremonial rituals and as part of circle casting for Wiccan and Neopagan rites.

Why “Lesser”? In the original plan for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn this was the only ritual taught to “outer order” initiates below the grade of Adeptus Minor. It was perhaps titled “lesser” to whet the appetite of students for “greater” mysteries.

What it really means, though, is “general” or “preliminary” and as a result it represents one of the foundational rituals of the Golden Dawn and Thelemic schools of magick. While the foundation of a house may be “lower” than the attic it is more, not less, important to the structure of a building.

What the Golden Dawn terms “greater” rituals are in fact specific rituals associated with a particular planet, element, or zodiacal sign. They are very important for practical magick, although many books on Western magick omit them completely.

Why the Pentagram? In Hermetic magick the pentagram represents the microcosm, meaning “small world,” or personal sphere. Microcosm is a combination of the psychological and spiritual dimensions of a particular individual. This is distinct from the macrocosm, meaning “large world,” or transpersonal sphere that includes people, places, or things that from the microcosmic perspective seem separate from any particular individual.

The pentagram as a symbol represents the four classical elements or more properly states of matter, earth, water, air, and fire, plus the fifth element of spirit. In the Golden Dawn schema microcosmic magick is treated as elemental, while macrocosmic magick is treated as planetary.

Banishing and Invoking: Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick is generally credited with popularizing the current “LBRP” acronym for this ritual. The B stands for Banishing, which is how this ritual is most commonly used in ceremonial workings.

Banishing means to send away. As this is a microcosmic ritual, the basic function of the banishing form is to send spirits, energies, thoughtforms, or anything else that doesn't belong beyond the boundaries of your personal sphere or aura, which generally extends a short distance beyond your skin. It is important to keep in mind that the LBRP banishes anything connected to you, not anything connected to the space in which you perform it.

Invoking is the opposite of banishing. The invoking form of this ritual, or LIRP, calls energies from the environment around you into your personal sphere in order to increase your effective magical power. In my experience this is not a widely used or taught technique, but it is very simple to learn if you already know the LBRP and can be quite effective.

Horizontal and Vertical Intimacy: These two concepts are key in any analysis of magick and/or mysticism. Whether or not he was the first magician to define them, we were originally exposed to these ideas through the work of Antero Alli.

Vertical Intimacy refers to the individual's connection with spiritual source, divinity, or enlightened consciousness, however you choose to model the states of consciousness reached through mystical practices. Horizontal Intimacy refers to the individual's connection with the people, places, or things that inhabit the mundane world around them.

For example, a skilled mystic who has difficulty putting food on the table has high vertical intimacy and low horizontal intimacy, while a successful corporate manager with an underdeveloped interior life has high horizontal intimacy, both in terms of relating to people and making money, but low vertical intimacy.

To be truly successful a magician must develop both through a process of integration, which is one of the functions of this ritual. The vertical and horizontal are separate from each other but they are not opposites – it is possible to develop both in such a way that they influence each other in positive ways.

Intoning and Vibrating: Both of these methods involve the speaking of words of power in a particular way. The general distinction is that intoning is more directed inward while vibration is more directed outward. In practice they sound similar, but the difference between them is this directed attention.

Neither method has to be loud. Ideally we would all live in situations in which we could bellow out our words of power to our hearts' content, but this is not the reality in today's world for many people. Each word of power should be spoken with a single, complete breath but as long as the attention is maintained on the word to the exclusion of other thoughts it can be spoken as quietly as a whisper.

When first learning how to do this it is a good idea to find a place to practice where you can vibrate at full volume because it is easier to do. Once you have a sense of how vibrating is supposed to feel you can then start quieting down your vocalizations. In simplest terms, you are looking for the tone at which your head resonates the loudest. You then combine this tone with the proper breathing method and directed attention.

Breathing: Aleister Crowley recommended that students should first be proficient at pranayama before attempting to learn this ritual. The reason is that simple breathing techniques can make a huge difference in terms of how well the LRP works. Our own training is more from the perspective of Chinese qigong than the Indian pranayama that Crowley studied but the results are similar.

Qigong breathing involves touching the tongue to the roof of your mouth and inhaling deeply into the abdomen, which should expand outward as you breathe in and contract as you breathe out. If you've studied Tai Chi the breathing is pretty much identical to what is used in that system. If possible you should inhale through the nose with your mouth closed, though if you happen to have a sinus condition that makes this difficult touching the roof of your mouth with your tongue seems to be enough to produce the desired effect.

As you breathe in, you should imagine the word of power that you are about to vibrate or intone being drawn in with the breath and filling your body all the way down to your feet. You should time the visualization so that the word of power reaches your feet as your diaphragm becomes full. Then, when you speak the word, visualize it rising back up to the appropriate point in your personal sphere (intonation) or outward to some particular point in space (vibration).

Some teachers will go out of their way to point out that singing is not vibrating, but this needs to be understood in context. Untrained singers tend to sing high up in the chest or throat, and this is not vibration because the breathing is wrong. Trained singers can often sing their vibrations and do it right because they have already been taught to rely on abdominal breathing in order to maintain clearer and longer tones.

Pronunciation: Not being native Hebrew speakers most Western magicians, ourselves included, do not pronounce many of the words of power in ways that are particularly recognizable to speakers of modern Hebrew. This being said, pronouncing this ritual as it has been taught over the course of the last century seems to work. If you are a native Hebrew speaker and prefer using proper modern pronunciation, though, by all means do so if it helps you to learn this or any other ritual.

Names of God: The LRP draws from the Hermetic Qabalistic tradition of the European Renaissance and uses names of God drawn from Jewish mysticism. The Hermetics considered themselves Christian, but considered heretical by the Roman Church. One of those heretical beliefs was a more universalist concept of deity that survived in Rosicrucian mysticism and later in Freemasonry. From there it found its way into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, whose founders treated the Tree of Life as a sort of “filing cabinet” or cosmic superstructure into which most mythologies could be adapted.

What this means is that you do not need to be Christian or Jewish in order to make use of the names of power in this ritual. It also means that the ritual can and has been adapted to various Pagan pantheons, but our suggestion is to try out the original and see how it works before moving on to such modified versions. It has endured within the tradition for more than a century, which suggests that it works well for a large number of practitioners.

The Qabalistic Cross: The LRP begins and ends with a simple vertical integration ritual called the Qabalistic Cross. In addition to this, the QC may be performed on its own as a basic grounding and centering ritual, and it makes a good closing to any ritual in which you don't want to banish spiritual forces or energies that you have drawn into your personal sphere.

A basic example of such a ritual is any sort of eucharistic rite, in which cakes and wine are imbued with magical force and then ingested. Banishing your personal sphere to close out such a ritual may not negate the ritual's influence but can diminish it considerably. Closing with the QC on its own prevents this from happening.

The Qabalistic Cross is performed as follows:

1.Start off by relaxing and taking a few deep breaths as you stand with your arms at your sides. Regardie taught that you should imagine yourself becoming gigantic in size, and instruction that is repeated in Modern Magick. This visualization is not strictly necessary, but if it helps you get into the right frame of mind you can go ahead and do it.
2.Touch your forehead as you intone ATEH (ah-TAY). This word means “Unto Thee.” Some have interpreted this step as representing some sort of supplication to deity, but it is nothing of the sort. “Thee” refers to the point that you are activating, the ajna chakra. This is the “third eye” or principle psychic center according to yogic mysticism. What this step is doing is activating the body of light or psychic self.
3.Touch your genital area as you intone MALKUTH (mahl-KOOT). This word means “the Kingdom.” In the original version of this ritual students were taught to touch the center of the chest rather than the genital area. The ritual can be performed that way as well, but the genital area makes more sense given how the chakra system maps onto the Tree of Life. In the arrangement taught by the Golden Dawn both the Muladhara (root) chakra and the Svadisthana (genital) chakra are attributed to the sphere titled Malkuth.
4.Touch your right shoulder as you intone VE GEBURAH (vay geh-boo-RAH). This means “the power.” On the Tree of Life the right shoulder corresponds to the sphere titled Geburah.
5.Touch your left shoulder as you intone VE GEDULAH (vay geh-doo-LAH). This means “the glory.” On the Tree of Life the left shoulder corresponds to the sphere titled Gedulah or Chesed.
6.Clasp your hands over the center of your chest and intone LE OLAHM, AMEN (lay oh-LAHM, ah-MEN). This means “forever and ever, let it be so.” In the chakra system this area is attributed to the Anahata or heart center, and in the Qabalistic arrangement this center corresponds to the spheres of Geburah, Gedulah, and Tiphareth (Beauty), the central sphere on the Tree of Life.

Those of you who grew up Christian should recognize that the words of power taken together are pretty much the same as the standard conclusion to the Lord's Prayer, and those of you who grew up Roman Catholic should notice that the crossing is similar to how it is done in the Roman church except reversed (right shoulder to left shoulder rather than left shoulder to right shoulder). As in those cases, the basic function of this ritual is vertical integration – that is, connection with the divine source as represented by the spheres on the Tree of Life that correspond to particular manifestations of God or Gods. It should also have a grounding, calming, and centering effect when done properly.

The Pentagrams

The next section of the ritual involves the tracing of pentagrams to the four directions along with the vibration of the corresponding names of God. In the Golden Dawn system there are various ways of tracing the pentagram that correspond to particular elements, and the one that is used in this ritual is the pentagram of earth. This figure used because the LRP is a general ritual and earth is seen as including itself as well as the other classical elements.

A particularly stupid take on the banishing form of this ritual is that “beginning magicians have trouble with their finances because when practicing this ritual they are banishing earth.” It's stupid because that's not how this ritual works – the LRP is general, not specific. To banish earth as a distinct element you would need to use one of the greater rituals.

The tracing of the pentagrams is the only difference between the invoking and banishing forms. In the Golden Dawn system the invoking earth pentagram is traced counter-clockwise from the top point, while the banishing earth pentagram is traced clockwise from the bottom left point.

Banishing Earth Pentagram

Invoking Earth Pentagram

Melita Denning and Osborne Philips proposed their own method of tracing the pentagrams of the elements in the Magical Philosophy series that is more logical than the one used by the Golden Dawn. This system has also been picked up by other writers such as Donald Tyson. Unfortunately, after years of experimental testing we found that the Denning/Philips system was found to be less effective than the Golden Dawn method, at least for us, even though on the surface it seems to make more sense. Nonetheless, if you do use that system and it works better for you go ahead and keep using it. In many cases when working magick the key factor is that you organize your mind around a particular symbol set and use it consistently, not necessarily what the contents of your chosen symbol set are.

Note that when traced the pentagrams should be visualized as standing at the quarters of the entire universe, not at the boundaries of your ritual space. This ritual's primary sphere of influence is you, not the room in which you happen to be performing it. Depending on the circumstances you may wish to advance to each direction before tracing the pentagram and vibrating the name, but the ritual can also be performed by standing in place and turning.

Sometimes students feel like they can't do this ritual well because they don't “see” the pentagrams in the same vivid detail as special effects on television. Keep in mind that even a hundred years ago nobody saw anything as intense as what special effects experts can do today. Such a level of visualization is cool if you can manage it, but it is in no way necessary in order to make the ritual work. Your goal should be to successfully banish and invoke. The point is to keep your full attention on the pentagram and the word as you trace and vibrate, and you will eventually make the ritual work properly if you keep practicing and don't get discouraged - whether or not your visualizations rise to television levels.

The ritual continues as follows:

7.Trace the appropriate (banishing or invoking) pentagram to the east as you vibrate YHVH (yah-WAY or pronounced in full as YOD HEH VAV HEH).

When I gave this presentation, it was to the greater community and I was trying to avoid ruffling any feathers with the Cicero GD folks who spell out YHVH as YOD HEH VAV HEH. Even though I mentioned it as an option in the presentation, I strongly recommend avoiding it in practice.

All the godnames in the LRP are "tetragrammatons" - that is, names of four letters. And they are names, not just series of letters. If you spell out one of the four and vibrate the rest as words, your magical field is likely to become unbalanced because spelling is far less potent than saying. You can actually also use Crowley's Ye-ho-wah or Regardie's Ye-ho-voh and the ritual will still work fine - the point seems to be to say it as a word, no matter what variation on the pronunciation you use.

What we do here is to breathe in, visualize the word sinking down to the feet, and then vibrate as we trace. However, you also can breathe in, trace the pentagram as you breathe out, then breathe the word in and vibrate it as you breathe out with your attention on the center of the pentagram. You may also use the Sign of the Enterer here with the vibration and follow it with the Sign of Silence as you breathe in.

8.Trace the appropriate pentagram to the south as you vibrate ADNI (ah-doh-NYE).
9.Trace the appropriate pentagram to the west as you vibrate AHIH (eh-hi-YAY).
10.Trace the appropriate pentagram to the north as you vibrate AGLA (ah-guh-LAH).

This section of the ritual concentrates on horizontal integration of the four directions. Note that even when banishing the goal is still integration, as both banishing and invoking represent particular relationships between you and the components of the outer world.

It is common to think of the four directions as corresponding with the elements, but it is important to keep in mind that the names used here are not precisely elemental in nature. Instead they relate directly to the quarters themselves. Relating the quarters to the elements as is done in the section calling on the archangels is a relatively recent innovation, whereas medieval magick placed much greater emphasis on directions than elements.

The Archangels

The next section of the ritual calls upon the archangels that represent the four elements attributed to the four quarters according to the “winds” model. This is the standard arrangement used in Wicca and Neopaganism – Air in the east, Fire in the south, Water in the west, and Earth in the north. In Golden Dawn magick this is the microcosmic arrangement, which is why it is used here in the order's foundational microcosmic ritual.

There is also a macrocosmic arrangement based on the zodiac which is used in the foundational macrocosmic ritual, the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. The zodiacal model places Fire in the east, Earth in the south, Air in the west, and Water in the north based on the relative positions of the cardinal signs. This is why the directional attributions are more fixed than the elements, because the various elemental stations change position as you shift from microcosm to macrocosm.

As with the pentagrams, the archangels should be visualized as best you can, but it is important to keep from being discouraged if they do not appear as vividly as they might on television. What you are really looking for is a sense of presence that comes into being in the appropriate direction as you intone the names of the archangels.

The ritual continues as follows:

11.Turn to face the east, extend your arms in the form of a cross, and say the following, intoning the name of each archangel:

Before me RAPHAEL (rah-fye-EHL),
Behind me GABRIEL (ga-bree-EHL),
On my right hand MICHAEL (mee-kye-EHL),
And on my left hand AURIEL (aw-ree-EHL)

It is useful to practice with tablets or drawings depicting the archangels. They may be visualized in the appropriate elemental color wielding elemental tools and so forth. Raphael represents Air, Gabriel represents Water, Michael represents Fire, and Auriel represents Earth. The calling of the archangels represents the horizontal integration of the four elements.

Final Declaration

The final statement recapitulates the basic function of the ritual, the integration of horizontal and vertical intimacy.

12.Say the following:

About me flames the pentagram,
And in the column stands the six-rayed star.

“About me flames the pentagram” refers to horizontal intimacy by aligning your consciousness with the microcosm as a whole. In effect, you have become the pentagram and therefore the entire charged microcosm. The visualization that accompanies this statement is to imagine yourself standing within the figure of the pentagram, much like Da Vinci's famous drawing of the human form.

“And in the column stands the six-rayed star” refers to vertical intimacy. The visualization here is to see yourself standing in a column of light with hexagrams (six-rayed stars) at the top and bottom. This alludes to the path of the magician, ascending the column in order to integrate the macrocosm represented by the hexagram and experience the transpersonal realization of an Adept.


The ritual concludes with the repetition of the Qabalistic Cross.

Daily Practice

A prominent magical teacher once dismissed this ritual by commenting “nobody ever got enlightened by doing the LBRP.” While this is likely true, the amazing thing is that anyone would expect to become enlightened performing this ritual on its own. The LRP should be part of one's daily magical practice but not the totality of it. The banishing form should be followed by some sort of invocation, whether it be a basic Qabalistic invocatory practice like the Middle Pillar Ritual or a poetic invocation of one's patron deity, Holy Guardian Angel, or some other representation of the divine source.

However you do it, daily magical practice is essential to becoming an effective magician and its importance cannot be understated. Even the most magically talented can still benefit greatly from it – after all, where do you think a professional athlete would wind up if he or she never worked out?



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Unknown said...

Now if only all newcomers read this, instead of the twaddle you get in the (unfortunately many) fluffy books and/or message boards...

Scott Stenwick said...

That would be a good and happy thing. I'd like to get the page rank high enough that if somebody does a Google search for "lesser ritual of the pentagram" they get this in preference to a lot of the stuff that's out there.

Currently it's #14, which isn't that bad considering how recently I posted it, but I have to get it up to #9 for it to show up on the first search page.

Anonymous said...

Earlier this year I also wrote a piece on the LBRP, though admittedly with more frills, bells and whistles. At the same time, I do love

Scott Stenwick said...

Very cool. I figure the more commentary that's out there on the LBRP the better, since it's one of the most widely practiced ceremonial rituals.

My presentation needed to fit into a one hour time slot and include time for questions, so the "frills" had to be kept to a minimum. It's good to see you covering more of them.

Anonymous said...

Great post, you've explained all that a newbie like me would like to know before practicing a ritual. I've tried LBRP before, but without knowing the meaning behind the words and gestures it was difficult to feel it while practicing. Your post has helped me a lot, I have been practicing lbrp before meditation/visualization since a week and I often feel the pentagrams around me.

However, I needed to understand it in more depth coz of it's positive effects. Thanks and heart felt gratitude.


Anonymous said...

Yet another fine article. I think I found it more than 1year ago, before I started practicing magick. I then found it again when I started documenting on the basic practices and the way they're done, but i forgot to bookmark it.

I was meaning to ask you if you achieved the visualizations that Crowley was talking about, like actually seeing the flaming pentagram in mid air.

I have stranismus from a young age, with my right eye going on its own to the right when I don't focus on controlling it, so my central vission has become somewhat distorted, even in my imagination. I guess the brain got used to seeing things from the angle of my left eye more. Even so, I do my best with visualizations and imagine a flaming pentagram cartoon style. Also, I visualise the Archangels as manga figures drawn in bright colors and that seems to work.

But more importantly, the feeling changes indeed after tracing the petagrams and calling the Archangels. It's like I'm in a some kind of SF machine that blasts me with energy from four sides.

Could you write an article about the GRP? It would be nice if you could write even a detailed GRP for practical uses, like you did for the GRH.

Hope this article gets on Google page 1.


Scott Stenwick said...

Thanks! I am glad to hear that you found it useful.

In terms of visualizations, the fact is that most of us are used to television and movies, so when we actually "get" the visualizations they aren't nearly as dramatic as what we expect. The "flaming cartoon" description that you talk about here is in my experience pretty much what they look like for most people. They are far, far less vivid than media images.

I'll see about writing something up on the GRP. It might be a little while, though, since I'm pretty busy running the Office of the Readings for the next couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

No problem. Take your time. I imagine your schedule to be quite full. I'll just keep following your blog ;)

One more thing. A guy from Brazil in the FB group is about to perform the LRP and wants to know if he should trace the pentagrams as usual, or Fire in the North and Earth in the South, since he's in the southern hemisphere. I'm guessing both ways are fine, but i still needed to ask someone more experienced.


Anonymous said...

I would like to share with you my approach on the QC.

It seems to be a very simple practice to memorize and perform by anyone and it also takes very little time to perform, with little energy spent on the visualizations implied. That is of course, if practitioners use those visualizations of becoming larger and larger until the entire universe lies beneath one's feet and only a shining sphere of white light appears on top of one's head.

It's purpose would be to briefly reach Kether and draw its energy to the material realm and balance yourself for the next workings and after some workings.

After some thought I had the inspiration to asociate the brief journey to Kether with the seven principles of the Lord's Prayer, as talked about by Rudolf Steiner in his lecture:

He talks about the seven principles as correspondences to the subtle bodies of man, with four of them being wordly and three of them, divine - since 4 represents the material plane and 3 represents divinity.

So I decided to shape the ascending visualisation as following:

Becoming larger and larger and
1. Passing through the Oort Cloud that surrounds the solar system
2. Exiting the Milky Way, as it becomes smaller beneath me
3. Exiting the local galaxy cluster
4. Exiting the Virgo Supercluster
5. Passing through the edge of the visible universe as seen through Bubble deep field, or ultra deep field
6. Passing through the edge of the univers that scientists theorize would be many billions of light years further that what we can see with our current equipment
7. Passing through the edge of the universe where it currently is - if it exists that is, but for the sake of this practice I made one; it would be exiting the material universe in all cases.

Finally, I would see the whole universe the size of a soccer ball beneath my very and Kether above my head.

I found this very useful in helping me shift to a magical consciousness in a very short time, before begining my practice.

I also thought that these steps correspond with the spheres Yesod through Binah and end with the path of the Magician, from Binah to Kether, when I break free from the imagined edge of the universe.

I found it very interesting that these imaginary boundaries keep getting harder and harder to pass through, with the last one (asociated with Binah) being the hardest, as i often have the feeling as breaking through ice from beneath, on a frozen lake, using my head. Breaking through it is not enough, as i also find it hard to squeeze my head through the opening.

After I get through and I visualize the two spheres at my extremities, there is a feeling of peace and tranquillity.

There is no need for me to repeat these visualizations when further performing the QC in the following practice and ritual work, for i'm already there and only "get back to Earth" when I close the workings.

This whole procedure could last up to 1minute at times, when I'm more distracted, or I had a bad way, but worth it in the end.

I hope someone will perform this procedure at least once and share the experience.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

** squeeze my head and body

Darn autocorrect! :)

master bates said...

@scott, many people advise one to intone the full version of agla, 'ateh gibor...'etc. I understand that you prefer to stick to the 4 letter version?
I don't understand why the 4 Archangels are made to represent the 4 elements,as to my mind they are more zodiacal/planetary in nature?
I remember Ophiel suggesting that the actual names of the 4 winds at each quarter 'eurus, notus...'etc be used to represent the 4 elements.

Scott Stenwick said...

Always remember my first rule - if it works, it works. If you're vibrating the full version of AGLA and getting good results, I wouldn't necessarily tell you to change it.

That being said, here is my rationale. The four godnames that are used in the LRP are the "four tetragrammatic names of God" from Rosenroth's Kaballah Unveiled. They are used in the LRP, which is heavily based on fourfold symmetry throughout, precisely because they are the four four-letter words that are also names of God that span the four worlds and so forth. The fourfold symbolism is very important.

As a point, according to my experiments, it is not nearly as detrimental to an effective LRP to vibrate the full name of AGLA as it is to vibrate YHVH Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh. I suppose the equivalent of that in the north would be Aleph-Gimel-Lamed-Aleph, which would be awful. My opinion is that you're basically okay as long as you are vibrating words and not individual letters, but I do think the whole fourfold thing is important enough that I don't turn AGLA into the full phrase.

The archangels have multiple attributions - elemental, planetary - sephira, and planetary - path. In some Catholic churches you can find them attributed to the quarters just like the winds.

Using the names of the winds would be in harmony with the symbolism of the ritual, so that probably is worth some experimenting if it appeals to you. The winds model is at its base microcosmic, as is the LRP.

master bates said...

Many thanks, Scott.

fu said...

I am very new to magical practice...I have a simple question:

1)Is there a proper way to perform the LBRP followed by the LIRP?

a corrollary question to that is, 2) Will me doing the LBRP followed by the LIRP, "Do" anything for me? Is there a better set of rituals that I should start with?

Currently, I perform LIRP in the morning, followed by LBRP at night. However, there are times when I dont have the time to banish, or I forget to banish before going to bed. As such, sometimes I will wake up and banish the next morning, right before invoking. That ends up looking something like this:


I look forward to hearing from you.

Scott Stenwick said...

There is not any special guidance that I would give you there. You can just do them in sequence. While I think it probably works better if you do them separately at the appointed time, this still sounds like a reasonable approach if you miss the evening banishing.

The idea is to eventually expand your practice to include more than the LRP, but this should be okay to start. What I eventually suggest that students learn is the LBRP/LIRH/Middle Pillar sequence. Since it includes a banishing and an invocation, you only need to do that sequence once per day, whenever works for you.

fu said...

thank you for your insights, Scott.

I am not a part of any magical order at this time, so I have been researching on my own and found the LRP morning/evening set, to be the simplest way I could get into the practice of doing, rather than simply reading.

After finding your initiation blog pages, I will follow with that and get up to performing the LBRP/LIRH/MP.

thank you again

Eli said...

Scott, I wanted to ask you if you heard of the "New Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram". You can find it here:

It looks similar to GRP. I am interested in your thoughts about it.

Thanks for your time. :)

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, it is similar to a banishing GRP for Malkuth. Note that since it uses all four elements the way that it does, it would perform that function rather than working as a substitute for the LRP (which is what the author says he's trying to do). Also note that nothing of what he says are "blinds" really are. The NBRP is an innovation - that is, an original reinterpretation of a ritual that differs from the original, standard version.

There isn't really anything in it that is particularly problematic, so it probably is worth experimenting with. The one odd initial assumption is that the "standard" LRP uses the four elemental pentagrams. It doesn't. That would be the GRP, as noted above. And the fact that the author doesn't seem to understand the difference makes me suspect their understanding of the original ritual is off or at least was taught to him in a non-standard way.

"Eheieh" in the QC is a non-issue. When you say "Ateh" you are touching your own forehead, which makes you the "Thou," not some external deity. Amen versus IAO is workable, but I'm not clear that it results in any benefit. Going counter-clockwise to the directions for banishing is fine - it works in the Star Ruby. Using all four elemental pentagrams makes it a GRP-Malkuth, as noted above. The one other issue is that ELOAH is not one of the original Tetragrammatic names of God from Rosenroth, which is where the four names in the LRP come from.

I will add that anybody who previously was vibrating YOD-HEH-VAV-HEh for YHVH instead of the more effective "Yah-weh" will probably find it more effective. But that's because spelling one of the four names makes the original LRP less effective.

Macrocosm/Microcosm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
master bates said...

@Scott, would it not be more logical for the banishing version of the LRP, to proceed around the circle in an anti clockwise direction, as is done in the Star Ruby ritual, for example?

Scott Stenwick said...

In the LRP, banishing versus invoking is determined by the direction the pentagrams are traced. In the Star Ruby, it is determined by the direction you go around the circle - since the pentagrams are "flung" rather than traced.

Having experimented a bit with changes to the LRP, I can say that going counter-clockwise versus clockwise doesn't seem to affect how well the ritual works. But it also doesn't break anything. If it makes more sense to you, you certainly can do it and it should be just as effective.

The Star Ruby is almost always used as a banishing, but you can turn clockwise rather than counter-clockwise if you want to do an invoking version of it.

master bates said...

Yes, but rather counterintuitively,the the banishing pentagrams in the LRP are traced in a clockwise motion and the invoking pentagrams are traced anti clockwise...

Scott Stenwick said...

That is only counter-intuitive if you expect the pentagrams and hexagrams to work the same way. In the Golden Dawn and Thelemic systems, when you work with hexagrams you go clockwise from the corresponding point to invoke and counter-clockwise to banish. With pentagrams, you trace towards the corresponding point to invoke and away from it to banish.

Related - the Aurum Solis system works like you suggest above, going clockwise from the elemental point to invoke and counter-clockwise to banish. Because pattern wise that seems to make more sense, I played with it for over a year doing empirical testing. As it turns out, the Golden Dawn/Thelemic pentagram system works noticeably better. So that's what I use.

As I see it, this is one of those cases where a pattern that seems logical fails when you test it experimentally.

master bates said...

Thanks for the clarification.
Btw,is the Sign of the Enterer used for charging banishing pentagrams in the LBRP and the vibrating the god name whilst tracing the pentagram, to be used for invoking pentagrams in the LIRP?
Would this then be the general rule of practice for invoking and banishing rituals?

Scott Stenwick said...

The LBRP and LIRP should be done identically except that you trace the pentagrams differently. That is generally the case for banishing versus invoking rituals of this sort.

master bates said...

So is there any logic or reasoning behind when the practitioner would use the sign of the enterer to charge a pentagram or hexagram, as opposed to the method of just pointing the fingers or wand,for example?

Scott Stenwick said...

Not to my knowledge. People generally do whichever one they feel works best for them, or whichever one they were taught. The testing I've done suggests that the ritual works the same either way.

H.S.H. Prince Frei of Lorenzburg said...

thank you for your amazing work!
So I recently read somewhere that the LBRP shuts down ALL incoming and outgoing energies = it terminates any magical processes/ spells etc currently operating. If that is so, is there any kind of banishing ritual or work one can do during a period of heavy magic work?
thank you kindly,

Scott Stenwick said...

In my experience, which is in the Thelemic tradition, whoever told you that told you exactly wrong. The LBRP is a microcosmic banishing - it works on your sphere of sensation, not on any magical operation that you have sent out into the world. So you can banish yourself with the LRP all you want while you have ongoing operations.

What you don't want to do in this situation is to start adding the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram. That's a macrocosmic banishing, and it can interfere with ongoing magical work. I think that the person who told you this with respect to the LRP was confused about pentagram versus hexagram in the Lesser rituals.

H.S.H. Prince Frei of Lorenzburg said...

Hi Scott,
thank you so much. I'm relieved to hear this. The LBRP has been my daily routine for ages and I was quite disheartened when I was told that it would shut down all my magicks! ;)
Have a good day,

Adrian C said...

Hey Scott,

I hope you don't mind me posting another question here, but I find this entry way too interesting to pass up the chance.

I'm having some trouble understanding the basic principles of the GD rituals and how they relate to the micro and macrocosm. Specifically, what determines if an invoking or banishing ritual is microcosmic or macrocosmic? You mentioned that pentagram rituals are microcosmic and hexagram rituals are macrocosmic, but as I understand it, both the pentagrams and hexagrams (and their corresponding elements and planets) have both microcosmic and macrocosmic analogues. As the Hermetic axiom goes, "As Above, So Below." Let's say that I'm performing a GIRH of Mars. I can imagine it having both microcosmic and macrocosmic effects (invoking the energy of Mars within myself and in the world at large). What exactly in the ritual makes that distinction?

Scott Stenwick said...

Here is how that works, at least the way I do it. I am a Thelemite, not a GD magician, so while the two systems are similar you might get a different answer from a GD initiate.

The "lesser" rituals are what you use to set the scope of your operation - whether it's microcosmic or macrocosmic. They also create your "imaginary circle" in which you do your magical work. I put "lesser" in quotes because that's just what the rituals are called. They are not (A) less important or (B) even the same kind of rituals as the "greater" rituals.

A microcosmic ritual is opened using the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram.
A macrocosmic ritual is opened using the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram followed by the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram.

So a microcosmic Mars ritual is like this:

LRP -> GRH Mars

A macrocosmic Mars ritual is like this:

LRP -> LRH -> GRH Mars

The macrocosm contains your microcosm, so a macrocosmic ritual can have both macrocosmic and microcosmic effects.

The different "fields" that I talk about are basically variations on this.

Does that make sense?

Adrian C said...

Thanks Scott. That makes a lot of sense.

I've been thinking about your "field" model, and I'm curious whether you have a general operational definition of invoking and banishing. To use an analogy from electronics, my understanding is that they serve as amplification or dampening of the "energy" (or signals) already present in the "cosmic medium." A given environment will have various kinds of subtle energy (which we symbolize using the elements and planets) present at different intensities, in the same way that you may have multiple frequencies of light going through a certain space (visible light, infrared, radio etc.) The energies may be more or less balanced depending on various factors. The whole purpose of invoking and banishing is the change the energetic composition of a medium in a way that aligns with the magician's intent.

When you perform a general banishing using a lesser ritual, you dampen all the signals present, as if you were using a band-stop filter. The LBRP dampens all the elemental energies indiscriminately, and the LBRH dampens all the planetary energies indiscriminately. Conversely, when you perform a general invoking using a lesser ritual, you amplify all the signals present, as if you were using a band-pass filter. The LIRP amplifies all the elemental energies, and the LIRH amplifies all the planetary energies.

The difference between the lesser and greater rituals is that the lesser rituals are general, whereas the greater rituals are specific. When you perform a specific banishing using a greater ritual, you dampen the specific signal that you selected by the ritual form and leave the others unaffected. For example, the GBRP of Fire dampens the fire energy in a given context, leaving the other elemental energies unaffected, while the GBRH of Jupiter dampens the Jupiter energy in a given context, leaving the other planetary energies unaffected. Conversely, when you perform a specific invoking using a greater ritual, you amplify the specific signal that you selected using the ritual form and leave the others unaffected.

Does this explanation align with your understanding?

Scott Stenwick said...

In the context of electronics, you can indeed think of banishing as tuning down the signal and invoking amplifying it. That fits well.

You're a little off on the LRP and LRH. The LRH has nothing to do with planetary energies specifically - note that the hexagrams used all correspond to the elements. The LBRP dampens the microcosmic elements and the LBRH dampens the macrocosmic elements. The LIRP amplifies the microcosmic elements and the LIRH amplifies macrocosmic elements. In my opinion, the resonance between the elemental systems in the two rituals is part of the dynamic balance that "opens" or "powers" the field.

The reason that this system of the four elements - microcosmic and macrocosmic - can also affect planets and signs is that each of the three basic magical symbol sets represent the entire universe in and of themselves. So the system of all four elements corresponds to all seven of the ancient planets corresponds to all twelve of the zodiac signs. The reason your foundation is the elements, though, is because that's where the foundation of your consciousness naturally resides.

Your understanding of the Greater rituals does align with my understanding of how they work. Invoking amplifies the power of an element, planet, or sign compared to the others in its symbol set and "tunes the space" for operations corresponding to the quality invoked. Banishing does the opposite, dampening the principle banished compared to the others in its symbol set.

Adrian C said...

Alright, let me see if I have a grasp on this. Feel free to correct me on any point. So there are basically a couple of major symbol-systems in Western esotericism: the 4 elements, 7 planets, and 12 signs. To this list we could perhaps add the 10 sephiroth from the Tree of Life.

All the symbol-systems correspond to one another and represent the entire universe (microcosm + macrocosm), meaning that there are forces within human consciousness that can be represented using the the elements, planets and signs, and forces in the universe that can be represented using the elements, planets and signs.

Different rituals were developed to work with different symbol-systems. In the GD tradition and its off-shoots, the pentagrams (as in the LRP and GRP) and the elemental hexagrams (as in the LRH) are used to work with the elements (both microcosmically and macrocosmically).

The planetary hexagrams (as in the GRH) are used to work with the planets (both microcosmically and macrocosmically).

Other rituals can be devised for working with the signs and sephiroth specifically.

But why are the elements the natural foundation of consciousness? If all the symbol-systems correspond to one another, then any of them could hold a comparable position.

Scott Stenwick said...

To start off with your first paragraph, the ten sephiroth are not in the same "class" as the three sets of elements, planets, and signs. They are a sort of meta-set that spans all three.

All four elements are attributed to Malkuth, in the Qabalistic world of Assiah.
The seven planets are attributed to Yesod through Binah, spanning the Qabalistic worlds of Yetzirah and Briah.
The twelve signs are attributed to Chockmah, in the Qabalistic world of Atziluth.
Kether is attributed to everything, as it represents the point at which "all is one" at the highest point of the Qabalistic world of Atziluth.

Your second, third, and fourth paragraphs are correct.

Those rituals already exist in the Thelemic and GD traditions. You use the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for planets, sephiroth mapped to the planets and signs, and signs. Note that for the latter there is a difference between the Thelemic and GD systems. In the GD, the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram is used for signs instead.

You use the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for elements and for the sephira Malkuth.

There's no ritual form for Kether because it is the point of no difference between one thing and any other thing, and leveraging differences between forces is what makes the forms as effective as they are.

You start with the elements in Thelema and the GD because in both systems you are climbing the Tree of Life from the bottom up. The elements are attributed to Malkuth, so they're the first symbol set you encounter on that "spiritual journey." That's why you start with them.

There are all sorts of thing you could do if you were going to go out and devise your own system. Presumably you could start elsewhere and you would encounter different challenges and advantages, but at that point you would be building your own distinct tradition that might or might not be incompatible with Thelema and GD.

Rodav said...

I just read your explanation of the LBRP and another one on Tumblr, both really informative. The one on Tumblr asserts that the earth banishing at each quarter is for the operant to banish obsessing or disturbing thoughts. Also, he says that the basic purpose of the LBRP is to connect the operant, who is based on the lower earth sphere, with the higher planes and that "about me are the flames of the pentagram" means I "am the elements" and that the hexagram part is about connecting with the higher planes. What are your thoughts on these ideas ?

Scott Stenwick said...

I am not convinced that the pentagram used in the LBRP is the same thing as a banishing earth pentagram, even though you trace it the same direction. The godnames are different, and the elemental colors for earth (green or black) are not specified. See this article for more information on that:

Now as far as functionality goes, I would agree that one of the ways you can use the ritual is to banish obsessing or disturbing thoughts. The LRP is microcosmic, so it works with your mind and your sphere of sensation.

I general interpret "About me flames the pentagram and in the column stands the six-rayed star" (from Crowley's Liber O version) as alluding to the union of microcosm and macrocosm. I don't necessarily think of the macrocosm as "higher planes," except to the degree that it includes the totality of the universe. So:

"About me flames the pentagram" = my microcosm (mind and sphere of sensation) is engaged.
"And in the column stands the six-rayed star" = my microcosm is attuned to the greater macrocosm (the universe beyond my mind and sphere of sensation).

Then to actually engage the macrocosm by means of a ritual form, you use the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram.

Rodav said...

Thanks, your interpretation is similar to his (except for the higher planes/macrocosm) and both make a lot more sense than the myriad of articles and books that assert that its about banishing.

Scott Stenwick said...

I was also thinking about this today and I am also not clear on why banishing Earth in particular would have anything to do with disturbing or obsessing thoughts. If I were mapping thinking and emotion out by element, I would classify thoughts as Air and feelings as Water or Fire - obsessive feelings being closer to Fire. Earth is the one element that doesn't really fit.

It definitely doesn't banish a space or anything like that according to everyone I know in the Golden Dawn and Thelemic traditions. Some people teach it like that, but I think that's in error - especially from the standpoint of the ritual's original design.

Rodav said...

I have been doing the daily practice that you recommended in a past article for the last 5 days minus the MP as I'm still working on memorising the LBRP and LIRH (I'll add the MP when I have those memorised). Yesterday, I received abusive messages from two people from my past. They don't know each other, they have no legitimate gripe with me - I am a musician, one auditioned for a show a year ago but wasn't chosen, the other had a similar level of familiarity with me but longer ago. They're are obviously a little unbalanced. It's a pretty big coincidence that they both sent messages on the same day four days after I started the daily practice. Is there any chance that the LBRP and LIRH could have brought this about ? Bearing in mind I sometimes will do one a few times, or forget to say something or stop midway to check my notes.

Scott Stenwick said...

My immediate thought is that you might want to look at the very least at adding some sort of statement of intent following your LBRP/LIRH even before you have the MP down. You may want to keep using it after that as well, following the MP. That would be similar to what I have been doing for many years now as part of my own daily practice.

The issue can be that LBRP/LIRH creates a "field" in which thought transitions more easily into physical reality. If that's all you do for your daily practice, it will accustom you to states of consciousness that correlate with magical success, but that's about it. If this field isn't directed, it can sometimes move in unexpected directions and produce odd results.

Once you have the MP down this will be more stable, since you are using the field to invoke the power of the divine. But a simple statement can direct the field in a positive way, which should mean that "side effects" are minimized. I'm not sure if that's what you have here - sometimes a coincidence is just a coincidence - but it's not impossible.

For a statement of intent, you can say something simple following the LIRH like:

"Bring me to the accomplishment of the Great Work, true wisdom, and perfect happiness."

The Great Work relates to magick as the Western system of enlightenment, and true wisdom as the perspective of the enlightened or awakened mind. So that's all pretty mystical. But perfect happiness is in there too, and it means exactly what it says. Those three things should go together, and even if you are a long ways off from "full enlightenment" - whatever that is - this intent should work to increase your happiness every day, and that includes keeping your life free of influences that cause you distress.

Another suggestion - if you're having trouble learning both rituals at the same time, try working with just the LRP until you have that down, then work on getting the MP down, and only once you have those two move on to adding the LIRH between them. LBRP/MP is fine as a basic daily practice and is in fact very much like what I've been told a lot of Golden Dawn groups will start you out at. In fact, thinking about it, that order probably makes more sense than what I've been doing at my ritual workshops, teaching LIRH after LBRP.

Don't worry about stopping to check notes. That doesn't seem to have much effect as long as you complete the ritual - and you can start out reading the whole thing if you want. Missing a step here and there isn't a problem if you do the rituals right most of the time, but just make sure you aren't constantly missing a particular step because you then run the risk of encoding the ritual into your memory incorrectly.

Rodav said...

Thanks for those suggestions. I'll certainly add the intent statement. I almost have the LBRP and LIRH down so I'll add the MP in a day or two. Also, I do get them right most of the time. Thanks again

TyroneLove said...

What do you think about the GD traditional suggestion of performing the LIRP in the morning and the LBRP in the evening as a daily practice ?

Scott Stenwick said...

If the LRP is the only ritual you know, that is a good way to do it since you need to do some invoking in addition to banishing to make much progress on the path.

Once you start working with the operant field (that is, adding the LIRH), part of how the forms work is to combine the LBRP and LIRH to interlock the macrocosm and microcosm. So inmy opinion you should always do the practice that way, even if you do both in the morning and in the evening, once you take it up.

Miguel said...

Hey Scott, congratulations for your article, it has helped me a lot. I think you should put LBRP/LIRP in your title and description, since doing a Google seach for ananael LBRP doesn't show results on first page.

Note: I found this comprehensive resource about the LRP, have you seen it?

Scott Stenwick said...

Thanks. As far as search engine optimization, it tends to be a waste of time. They could change the algorithm in a month and then it could move up, or move down, or whatever. I've found that changes like that don't help much in terms of where articles show up in search engines.

Yes, I'm familiar with Nick's take on the LRP. That's one of the reasons I try to be clear that I'm teaching the Thelemic version these days. Nick is a GD initiate and teaches the GD version, and there are more differences between the two versions than I used to think.

In the Thelemic system, the LRP is related to the elements - specifically the microcosmic elements. According to Nick, in the GD it is not. Nick is correct that the pentagrams traced aren't elemental, but Crowley's commentary makes it very clear that the four archangels do have elemental associations and their placement according to the "winds" model (versus the zodiac model used in the LRH for macrocosmic elements) is part of the dynamic of the operant field. It uses the tensions between the two elemental models to "open" and empower the field.

So basically, if you want to know how to do the Thelemic version, you can refer to my stuff. If you want to do the GD version, Nick's commentary is going to be closer to how it's used in that tradition.

Desmond G. said...

Hi Scott!
What do you think about this? Could the LRP be done, but projecting the red star from the forehead outwards like the star ruby instead of tracing the pentagram with your hand?
What I like about the Star Ruby is "the aggressiveness" or the push against the forces (the rest of the LRP ritual is the same, I just change the way of projecting to the Star Ruby style).
Thank you very much.
All the best.

Scott Stenwick said...

If you are tracing the figure and then vibrating the name with the Sign of the Enterer and the Sign of Silence you are almost doing the same thing. So I would expect you could do something similar to the Star Ruby. One thing to keep in mind is that when you are flinging the pentagrams, you don't have tracing available to set banishing versus invoking. In the Star Ruby, the ritual is configured as a banishing by turning counter-clockwise instead of clockwise. So if you want to do the LRP with flung pentagrams, you probably should make that change to it as well (going east-north-west-south with your pentagrams instead of east-south-west-north).

Lazarone said...

Hi Scott, how are you?

1. In your book MTGT you said "If you intend your ritual to have a macrocosmic effect that extends beyond the psychological realm...". But if I want to perform ritual just for psychological realm (for ex. to increase some psychic skill) should I follow this sequence: LIRP/LBRH instead of LBRP/LIRH (which is more for outside influence) and after to do the rest of Enochian method?

2. On table 1 in MTGT why there is no Angelic Keys for Cacodemons of Medicine and of Gold and Precious Stones?

3. After conjuring of spirits and they arrive from four directions, and after the charge, when you're giving them license to depart, where are you standing then, because the spirits will go back probably the same way (to East, South, West and North), so are you are standing west of altar or somewhere beside not to interrupt spirit(s) when they came back to their respective realm?


Scott Stenwick said...

1. You could do it that way, though for psychic skill you maybe don't want to exclude all macrocosmic influences. To do that, I would open with just the LIRP and skip the LBRH. LIRP/LBRH is more for when you want to explicitly exclude all macrocosmic qualities and forces, such as if you were working on a strictly psychological problem. But with psychic abilities, you want to be able to perceive macrocosmic qualities psychically.

2. The keys for the cacodemons match the corresponding angels as shown in the template chapter on page 57. So medicine is 3, 4, 5, and 6 starting from upper left and going clockwise. Precious stones are 7, 8, 9, and 10 in the same order. I'm not sure what other table you would be talking about.

3. You can just license them all to depart from the east, which works fine. Dee doesn't include a license to depart in the diaries, so the implication is that you don't even need one. I just like to use mine because it's more consistent with other systems of grimoire magick.

Lazarone said...

Thanks, Scott! Ah, you're right about the keys for cacodemons! My mistake!

Many thanks again for great answers!

Nathan said...

Hey, I've been practicing CM for about a year now. Up until now, it's been primarily just a combination of LBRP/MP and meditations.

I recently moved down to a Shipibo village in the Amazon, and am currently being trained in their shamanic ways. They do extensive solitary retreats for months at a time to get in contact with certain plant spirits.

The question I'm wondering is whether it's safe to continue doing the LBRP during this time period. I wouldn't want to counteract and sanitize any spiritual contact I'm trying to make. My initial thought is that the LBRP would be safe since it's working on the microcosm. MY other assumptions would be that it's okay for the LIH and MP as well, but that I should be wary of the LBH.

What are your thoughts on this? It's kind of a niche issue, but I wanted to ask an expert about it.

Scott Stenwick said...

I agree with you that the LRP is microcosmic and only acts on your sphere of sensation, so it should be safe. I would also think that since the LIRH is calling the forces of nature into your sphere of sensation, it should help you work with nature spirits and so forth.

Instead of the MP you might get better results calling on whatever the divine is conceptualized as in the system you are learning. Qabalistic godnames are originally of Canaanite origin, and some manifestation to the divine closer to what you're working with might be better.

But you should be able to do that work inside an operant field, and the operant field should help it work better. The function of the field is to merge the microcosm and macrocosm effectively, and it seems to be a general effect that works with many different styles of magick.

Nathan said...

Thank you so much for the in-depth comment! It's been on my mind for a while, and I'm glad I was able to get an expert's opinion.

Desmond G. said...

And what colors do you use when you make the pentagrams and the line that joins them? Thanks.

Scott Stenwick said...

Crowley says golden light for the pentagrams, mine are closer to orange. Think the color of a regular candle flame. For the circle connecting them, I use the complement of the pentagram color, so that would be a shade of purple or blue depending on how you are visualizing it.

Desmond G. said...

Ok, thank you very much, I read a post (a little old) that you imagined it as the orange of the fire in a fireplace. I wanted to know if you kept it that way. Then I will experiment with the colors you tell me. I always tried with blue or all white, I will try now with the ones you tell me. All the best.

J-stone Orbacher said...

Hello! Gratitude for all this work. I wanted to ask whether you point and draw a circle connecting the center of the pentagrams when performing the LBRP, and whether the LRH, GRP, and GRH involve a connecting circle. In your response just above, you indicate a color, so obviously sometimes you draw a connecting circle. I'm incorporating some GDesque rituals (and, now, replacing them with the Operant Field Ritual) into my own fairly unorganized and eclectic practice to provide structure and more reliable results, and I'm curious about the extent to which any of these rituals constitutes a "casting of a circle" of the sort used in some neopagan paths--to focus and direct energy, to create a space in which to work between the worlds (not totally clear on this one), and surely for other reasons of which I'm ignorant. What is the function of the connecting circle in the GD (and/or OTO) paradigm? Is it universally used?

Also, I've been using the Sign of the Enterer and the Sign of Silence after drawing the pentagrams in the LRP/Field Ritual, but I don't know why. Do you use any sort of sign following the Opening of the Veil in the LRH (while inhaling following the vibration of ARARITA)? What is the meaning of these signs deployed at these points in their respective rituals? Why the enterer and then silence in the LRP and opening the veil in the LRH? I recall reading at one point that in the LRH, opening the veil indicates a sort of transpersonal...something.


Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, I do trace the circle between the pentagrams when I do the LRP, but as far as I know it is not necessarily required for the ritual to work. I like to visualize my pentagrams in kind of a yellow-orange, like a candle flame, so when I trace the circle I visualize it in the complement of that color - sort of a purplish blue. It is not universally used - it's just how I do it in my personal work. But if you like it, feel free to adapt it.

I can't really speak for the symbolism used in Neo-Pagan practices, but in ceremonial magick is is supposed to work in a similar way to drawing circles from the grimoires. I would expect that it should at least be similar to Neo-Pagan circle casting, but I don't have much background with most of those traditions and don't want to mischaracterize them. For me, tracing the circle along with the pentagrams emphasizes the connection with historical grimoire circles, but again not everybody does it that way.

You don't use Opening of the Veil with the LRH, or at least I don't. The symbolism of that sign in Qabalistic terms is opening the Veil of Paroketh, which is the boundary between lunar (personal) and solar (transpersonal) consciousness, so maybe that's the explanation you remember. As for Enterer/Silence, that's one of the two traditional ways to do the ritual. You can also vibrate the name as you trace the pentagram, which is how I generally do it. But a lot of people also do Enterer/Silence and get good results.

Lazarone said...

Hi Scott, how are you?
What is your opinion that movements to draw pentagrams in LBRP and LIRP are actually clockwise for banishing and counterclockwise for invoking pentagram of Earth (for ex.)? Isn't should be that for banishing pentagram should be the counterclockwise direction (from Earth point to the right) etc...? Can we practice LBRP without fear that it will banish "good" things from our lifes?

Scott Stenwick said...

1. The Aurum Solis has a system for drawing pentagrams like you describe. You start at the elemental point and go clockwise to invoke, counter-clockwise to banish just like hexagrams. Nice, right? The problem is that it works very poorly compared to the GD/Thelemic pentagram system. I spent about a year testing this out at one point and found the Aurum Solis method disappointing. I'm not sure why it doesn't work well, but the pentagrams are absolutely not "actually" drawn that way unless you want your ritual to be a lot less effective.

2. Yes, the LRP is microcosmic so it affects your sphere of consciousness/sensation, not things in the exterior world. It is good to also use the invoking form of the LRP if you are using it for banishing (a common way people do this is LIRP in the morning, LBRP at night). But it has nothing to do with macrocosmic stuff being banished from your life. The ritual doesn't work that way.

Alex Scaraoschi said...

I think there's also some neo-pagan schools that teach the pentagrams to be traced clockwise or counterclockwise depending on the goal, but I came across that stuff ages ago and paid no attention to it at the time so my memory hasn't been filled by that data. The schools I do know about trace the pentagrams exactly as per the GD/Thelema style. One such school has made a certain modification to it in terms of adding a clockwise or counterclockwise circle around the pentagram starting from the point of beginning (and end), depending on the nature of the pentagram itself.

If I'm not mistaking, the Cicero HOGD (not the wannabe order who's leader poses as HOGD) has introduced a means of using "Lesser elemental Pentagrams" in the Outer Order, based on grade. A Zelator would thus make use of a "Lesser Earth Pentagram" during daily practice, a Theoricus would make use of a "Lesser Air Pentagram" and so on.

These "Lesser elemental Pentagrams" are also in invoking and banishing form and I've heard of cases of people who encounter various issues relating to the respective element if they use the banishing form too much or without balancing it with the invoking form as in the case of the standard LRP practice.

Scott Stenwick said...

Generally speaking, my understanding is that those pagan schools adapted it from Denning and Phillips' magical philosophy series, which is Aurum Solis. Llewellyn published their books, so they had a lot of connections with the pagan community.

So he doesn't understand that it's not really an Earth pentagram, just traced the same direction? Wow.

I know a lot of people find that confusing, but the head of any significant magical order should know better.

Alex Scaraoschi said...

Well from my understanding it's kinda of an "Earth Pentagram" although it works on a microcosmic level. Back during my first year I did the LBRP-MP for six months and then the LIRP-MP for some four months or so due to lack of reliable sources - I hadn't bookmarked your blog the first time I came across it and I only found it again at the start of my second year. The last month or two I did those "Lesser elemental Pentagrams" because I came across some material somewhere speaking of them. I had no idea there's no such thing in the original Golden Dawn material as well as in Thelema and I found out years later that's just a Cicero HOGD thing made for their Outer Order. The material I found and followed was from another wannabe order that heavily copies on the Ciceros, as I found out years later as well.

But with respect to the people of whom I've heard encountered issues relating to banishing with the "Lesser elemental Pentagrams" I've been told people who did the "Lesser banishing Earth" for too much without compensating with the invoking form ran into financial issues and possessions breaking down and all that. People who did the "Lesser banishing Air" ran into communication and thinking issues, trouble reading, paperwork, etc.

The thing is that although these "Lesser elemental Pentagrams" are not part of the original curriculum and they're not really rituals but an adaptation of the original, they do seem to impact the operant. I myself did feel their influence during the one or two months I did them, but it doesn't compare to the influences of the original form of the elemental Pentagram Rituals when done properly - GRP or SRP.

Lazarone said...

Thanks Scott, really great answer.
Does then LBRP is banishing "good things" from microcosmos, like one's positive values, beliefs, etc....or is cleaning just "negative" values, attitudes etc...?

Scott Stenwick said...

It really is not, though. Traced the same way, but with different godnames and colors.

Compare invoking water and banishing air - those are the same way. EL in blue, invoking water. YHVH in yellow, banishing air. But the tracing is identical. So as I see it, the Lesser Pentagram is not elemental Earth, but rather its own thing. I could perhaps see that if someone were conceptualizing it as Earth they could get into trouble with finances and the like, but I don't think that's the correct interpretation or mindset.

"Banishing" is basically purification. It banishes things that are out of harmony with your will. As a point, there really is no objective "positive" or "negative" except in regard to your individual will, and that differs from person to person.

Alex Scaraoschi said...

It's not but it actually is. I'm not familiar with the specifics, but it seems you're tracing invoking only by using the color and not the godname (and the additional SRP stuff, as per the GD, such as the Spirit pentagram with the Spirit symbol, the Enochian names, etc). It's just a Lesser Pentagram only traced from all four elemental points according to grade and visualized in the appropriate elemental color; no additional Spirit Pentagram, no additional godname, and so on. In case you were answering my comment.

Alex Scaraoschi said...

In the pdf for beginners found in the CMS rules there's a link to a freely available doc of a wannabe GD group (of one R.Z.) who "borrowed"heavily from the HOGD. It specifically depicts this "Lesser elemental Pentagram" stuff. They use green instead of black for Earth, but the "Lesser elemental Pentagram" is applied for all other elements as shown in there. I hope the link is still up.

Scott Stenwick said...

Thelemites use green for Earth instead of black in the GRP, so that probably is where they got that bit.

So this thing you're talking about is basically a dumbed-down Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for Malkuth. I'll stick with the original, thanks! ;)

Alex Scaraoschi said...

Guess so.

Yea kinda, although you'd trace a single pentagram in all four quarters :)

Lazarone said...

Thanks Scott, really awesome answer!!!
What do you think about Nick Farrells (author of the book Making Talismans) suggestion that it's better to perform LBRP during waning moon and LIRP during a waxing moon? He said, as I remember, he had better results in that way. Can we still do it in the morning and evening no matter which moon phase is on at the moment?

Scott Stenwick said...

I find that the moon phase does not make a difference. But go ahead and try it out that way if you want - it's possible that your results could differ from mine.

I generally recommend invoking morning, banishing evening regardless of moon phase for students who are working with just the LRP. That seems fine for the folks I have worked with.

Lazarone said...

Thanks, Mr. Stenwick. Helpful answer.

Philip said...

I forgot where I read it but one tip I find is very helpful for feeling the presence of the archangel is to feel the elements along with the archangels as you vibrate the names. A warm breeze in front, sea spray behind, fire heat on the right, and solidity and fertility on the left.

Scott Stenwick said...

I have seen that instruction in works by Mark Stavish. I am not sure if that is where they originated. But yes, feeling the elements like that can be a good practice.

Lazarone said...

Hi Scott, in book Apophis text says that mantras (words of power) "should be hummed, sung or vibrated, not simply muttered under the breath." So can you explain how you vibrate the word in a more silent manner and is it "muttered under the breath"?

I ask this question with the intention, because for many people required loud vibration of words of power is the main roadblock to perform some main methods because someone unwanted will maybe hear.

Scott Stenwick said...

I do not know anything about that book, so it is hard for me to have any real opinion of it.

But it is wrong to suggest that rituals are ineffective if they are not loud. Sometimes loud vibration can make them work better, but there's a huge difference between working somewhat less than optimally and not working at all.

You can vibrate the word as a tone very quietly with practice. That works nearly as well as vibrating loudly because the volume is secondary to the tone. And it is far better to do it that way than not do it at all.

Lazarone said...

Thank you so much. (The quote is from book Apophis by Michael Kelly)