Monday, February 15, 2016

Goetic Circles and Operant Fields

Regular readers of this blog know all about my advocacy of the operant field for practical magical operations. Instead of the traditional Golden Dawn use of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram followed by the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram, an operant field consists of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram followed by the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram.

You can also open an operant field using a banishing Star Ruby and an invoking Star Sapphire (which as far as I can tell is how Aleister Crowley intended those two rituals to work), or any other combination of a general banishing pentagram ritual and general invoking hexagram ritual. The point is that you banish at the microcosmic level and invoke at the macrocosmic level.

How I usually explain this is that it works by banishing or clearing out the microcosmic space of your field of consciousness represented by the pentagram, and invoking into that space the macrocosmic elements represented by the hexagram. This interlocks the microcosm and macrocosm, and creates a space or field within which internal magical intents can more easily manifest into the external physical realm.

This proposal generated some controversy when it finally circulated enough to make the rounds of the blogosphere, with folks such as the late Donald Michael Kraig arguing that the operant field method is not the right way to use the forms. But I keep at it, because it keeps working for me.

At any rate, the interlocking of microcosm and macrocosm is essentially a symbolic representation of the "operation of the Sun" described in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus. Once the magician has created the field, within its bounds "that which is above" and "that which is below" merge more fully than they do during regular conscious awareness.

When you banish at both the microcosmic and macrocosmic levels, it could perhaps be said that both realms correspond because they are devoid of influences, but the boundary between them nonetheless remains. That makes influencing the physical world by means of concentrated thought far more difficult, as the continued presence of the boundary creates additional resistance to the propagation of your magical intent into the world.

Now here's where I'm going with all this. Saturday night I attended a lecture on Goetic evocation - that is, "goetic" referring to work with the spirits of the Lemegeton, rather than the more general use of "goetia" referring generally with chthonic spirits of the underworld. Looking at the traditional design of the Goetic circle, I realized that another piece of evidence for use of the operant field had basically been staring me in the face for years. I don't know why I didn't see it before now.

When human consciousness is operating in its regular day-to-day mode, we experience the microcosm as the interior of our minds and the macrocosm as the exterior physical world. In the Western magical tradition, as I mentioned above, the pentagram represents the microcosm and the hexagram represents the macrocosm. So according to that symbolism, you might represent normal consciousness as a circle inscribed with a pentagram surrounded by hexagrams to the four directions.

Likewise, we might represent magical consciousness as a circle inscribed with a hexagram surrounded by pentagrams to the four quarters - and, in fact, if you even draw out a ritual like the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, this is indeed the structure that you see. The pentagrams are placed at each of the four quarters, with the six-rayed star - that is, the hexagram - in the center in some fashion, whether it is "in the column" as per Crowley's language or "within me" or whatever other variation is employed.

The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram as practiced by the Golden Dawn was based on a partial set of instructions laid out by Eliphas Levi in Transcendental Magic, in which he explains that you trace pentagrams to the four directions, call on the archangels, and so forth. And it seems to me that the most logical assumption is that this structure in turn was based on the circle diagram from the Lemegeton.

As you can see, four hexagrams are inscribed within the circle, and four pentagrams are inscribed outside it. So again, we see the image of the macrocosm (hexagram) placed within, and the microcosm (pentagram) placed without. In effect, this represents the inversion of normal consciousness in which the mind for the most part takes in sensory data from the outside world. This is magical consciousness, in which intent moves in the other direction, from thoughts into physical manifestation.

So this is the exact intent behind the operant field. What you are creating when you banish microcosmically and invoke macrocosmically, you are in effect building an "imaginary circle" that is designed to create a physical effect. The traditional "banish-banish" does not do this, at least not in nearly so straightforward a manner. To me, this provides further evidence that the operant field is a more effective way of using the Lesser Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram.

As with all of my theorizing, the general caveat applies. If you are working with these forms in the traditional way and you have found that's what works best, that's great. Keep doing it. But for anyone else, I would simply suggest trying both versions, recording your results, and from there figure out what works best for you. Most of the people I know who have tried both wind up preferring the operant field to the "banish-banish" that is generally taught, but you could always be an exception.

The key is to avoid letting your actions be governed by dogma. I did these rituals the traditional way for years before I figured a lot of this out. The key is to experiment, and find out for yourself what the best method really is for getting the results you are looking for from your practice.

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Anonymous said...

Great article!

So I were to do a spell to increase my finance for example, I would perform the LBRP followed by the LIRH for Jupiter, do the spell and end it all with a LBRP to disconect my psyche from the released energy?

I saw here that the LIRH can be performed for all the planetary energies on the hexagram:

Thank you!

PS: is it more comfortable for you if I ask here, or on fb?

Scott Stenwick said...

I would use the following sequence for a wealth spell:

Preliminary Invocation
GIRH for Jupiter
License to Depart

Pretty much like what I lay out here:

Depending on how you want to attain your wealth, as noted in the article you might want to go with the Sun instead of Jupiter.

Anonymous said...

You are right and I am aware that is the best way to do it. But alas, I feel like the GIRH is a bit out of my league for now :( I mean I've just started performing the LRH a few days ago... I have been performing something called an Inner Hexagram that is kind of a hybrid between the Middle Pillar and the GRH and it showed some results, including physical ones.

I could give it a try with the GIRH if you advise me to do so, but I feel like I would be rushing it...

I was thinking of doing a LBRP, LIRP of Jupiter place the honey jar on the magick square of Jupiter, using the Orphyc Hymn to Jupited while visualising purple light shining down on the jar and candle and lighting the candle... Possibly even reading psalm 23 over it... And end it with the LBRP.

I've read your link about the money spell and the invoking text for Jupiter is familiar to me as I've seen it on a forum not long ago. Probably someone copied it from you :)

Anonymous said...

This is the link for "The Inner Hexagram" thing:

I used it just to increase a specific planetary energy in me and it worked, like after doing it for Mars some small rashes appeared on my skin the next day, besides making me more motivated.

Scott Stenwick said...

What you're talking about sounds like it should work, except that there's no such thing as an "LIRP of Jupiter." The LIRP is just the LIRP. The whole point is that it's a general ritual rather than a specific one. It's also a pentagram ritual, so it's elemental and not planetary.

Using the Orphic hymns and psalms is fine. That's a lot like how Rufus Opus teaches it in Seven Spheres, and he gets good results.

Why do you think you would be "rushing" if you did the Greater Hexagram? It's not like it's harder or anything like that. The "Lesser" and "Greater" designations are kind of misleading in my opinion with respect to these rituals. "Lesser" in this context just means "General" and "Greater" just means "Specific."

Anonymous said...

LOL I guess you're right! I was mislead by the fact that the GD teaches the greater pentagram and hexagram rituals only after a few years of apprenticeship and I thought that I would have to wait longer before taking them on. I mean I've been practising magick only for 1year now and that's why I thought I would be rushing it.

I'll just have to wrap my head around the greater rituals and give them a try then :D

As I said before, I saw that the Lesser Hexagram can be performed for each planetary energy in part but I guess that source was not accurate.

Thank you! Blassings!

Anonymous said...

In any case, I keep finding sources that say the LRH can be traced for each planetary energy in part, like this link:

" A East , the position of Fire in the Zodiac
Towards the East, you trace a form of the
Hexagram where the lower triangle is flipped
vertically and lowered so that the angle of the
Moon - now pointing upwards - is positioned
exactly in the centre of the upper triangle: *
Trace one triangle first, beginning clockwise
(invoking) at the angle of the Planet or
Sephiroth in focus (banishing runs opposite).
Then trace the other triangle, beginning at the
angle of the Planet which in a normal
Hexagram is opposite to the one which started
the first triangle. (Normal opposites are:
Saturn/Moon, Jupiter/Mercury, Mars/Venus) *
Point the figure and vibrate "ARARITA". *"

But I think I'll follow your advise and trace the hexagrams as shown in the Liber 0.

Scott Stenwick said...

You said the "Lesser Pentagram of Jupiter" in your message, which is what I said was not a thing. Pentagrams are not attributed to the planets, but rather the elements.

However, I am aware that at least a couple of the Golden Dawn groups teach that you can do "Lesser Hexagrams" of the planets. I don't personally like attributing the elemental hexagrams like that, but I wouldn't necessarily say it's "wrong" in some objective sense. I just don't use it. If it appeals to you, you should try it out for yourself and log your results. That's a much better approach than listening to me or anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Oh I meant LIRH. I'm mostly writing on my phone which I find somewhat difficult. My bad! Sorry to make you write so much.


Anonymous said...

The Operant Field is awesome! The energy is more concentrated and also feels smoother than when using a LBRP-LIRP or a LBRP-LBRH opening.

I've tried the LIRH for a certain planetary energy (Mercury) and I didn't encounter any problem. My thoughts were more accurate during the following work and I felt kinda light and fast :)

Thanks again for your texts!


Scott Stenwick said...

Great to hear that it works for you! I always recommend people give it a try, because in my experience they usually like it better than the old banish-banish.

Anonymous said...

I hope i don't annoy you with all these questions :)

If i were to invoke Aries for the purpose of giving me some of its traits, as my NN in a karmic 29 degree Aries demands, can i use the following steps:

LBRP - LIRH - MP - general invocation - opening the veil - GIRH of Mars (scarlet - leaf green) with ARARITA and YHVH - invocation for Aries (i'll have to find one, or make my own) - invocation of Melchiadel (777 table VI, column CLXXVII) - giving the charge to Melchiadel - closing?

I would use a red candle and burn some black pepper, because i don't have dragon's blood.

Anonymous said...

Or should I use archangel Kamael and give him the charge?

Scott Stenwick said...

No problem at all.

Melchiadel rather than Kamael. And do the GIRH for Aries. It's basically the same as the one for Mars color-wise and hexagram-wise, but you trace the sigil of Aries in the center as you vibrate YHVH.

Otherwise you should be good.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah! Right! I meant the hexagram of Aries, traced the same as Mars' :)

Thanks alot!