Monday, June 27, 2016

The Elemental Work - Air


This article is Part Three of a series. Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, and Part Four can be found here.

This article is the third in my Elemental Work series, covering the element of Air. The basic symbol set of the Western Magical Tradition consists of the elements, planets, and signs of the zodiac, and realistically an effective magician should be familiar with how to work with all of them. These basic conjuration rituals for each of the classical elements will be my "Magick Monday" posts for this week and next week, when I'll be wrapping up the series with the element of Fire.

The elemental schema used in the Thelemic and Golden Dawn systems involves five elements, adding Spirit to the classical arrangement. I will probably put together a ritual for Spirit at some point, but as there are only four traditional elemental Kings, the ritual will be significantly different in a number of respects. There also is the issue of Active versus Passive Spirit, and it might make more sense to do two separate Spirit rituals. But I haven't worked out what I want to do there yet.

If you've already read through my last two posts, you will probably find parts of this one repetitive. That's intentional, as I want each of these posts to be able to stand on its own without reference to the others. Incidentally, this has been one of the biggest challenges for me with respect to my Enochian books. I want each book to stand on its own, but at the same time I want to make sure that I re-hash as little as I can get away with.

According to the ancient Greek system, each element arises from the interaction of the Powers, which many modern magicians do not work with or even know about. The four powers are Warm/Cool and Moist/Dry. The Warm power separates things, while the Cool power merges them together. The Moist power breaks down structure, while the Dry power reinforces it.

I will not be going into a full discourse on the Powers and how they relate to the elements, but if you would like to delve deeper into the symbolism I recommend that you check out The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements by John Opsopaus. The links from that main page will allow you to explore these aspects of the classical elements, along with a lot of other related symbolism.


Air is the third most dense of the traditional 5 elements. According to Liber 777 the power associated with Air is Divination in general, which may take many different forms. Air corresponds to the Warm power mixed with the Moist power, so it divides things and breaks down their structures. Effectively, this describes how exposure to oxygen breaks down the structure of many materials over time.

The symbol of the elements is the pentagram, which is also the symbol of the microcosm. However, depending upon the type of magical field you open for your operation, the elements may be invoked within the microcosmic realm, the macrocosmic realm, or both. The Pentagram of Air is traced either moving towards or moving away from the upper left point of the pentagram. It is visualized in yellow. The pentagrams for Water and Air overlap, with banishing Air traced the same way as invoking Water and vice-versa, though the colors are different.

There are multiple systems for tracing elemental pentagrams. The one that I use is the Golden Dawn version, and the alternate version is that used by the Aurum Solis and described in the Magical Philosophy series by Melita Denning and Osbourne Philips. On the surface, the AS method is more logical and consistent with the planetary hexagrams. However, in my experience it simply does not work as well. Still, if you do use that system and get good results with it, you can substitute the AS version for the GD version that I use here.

The Elemental King of Air is named Paralda and the elemental spirits native to his domain are called Sylphs. The godname corresponding to Air is YHVH (Yahweh), and the elemental prayer that precedes the conjuration is from Eliphas Levi, with a few small modifications made over the years by our magical working group to better reflect some aspects of "New Aeon" principles. The originals can be found online, and you can substitute those for the ones used here if you prefer them.

To create the sigil for Paralda, you trace his name onto the Kamea of the Moon. First, you transliterate the name to Hebrew. You wind up with Peh, Aleph, Resh, Aleph, Lamed, Daleth, and Aleph. The numeration for these letters is 70, 1, 200, 1, 30, 4, and 1. The numbers on the 9 x 9 lunar square go to 81, so as the value of Resh is 200 it will need to be modified to fit onto the square.

Depending upon the system used, 200 can either be reduced to 2 or to 20. Personally I reduce to 20, as the value is closer to the "real" value of 200, but there are different opinions on this and some practitioners prefer 2. In the diagram below 200 is treated as 20, so if you would rather reduce to 2 you will need to draw it yourself rather than using mine. The sigil traced onto the lunar Kamea looks like this:


There are different traditions out there with respect to beginning and ending sigils. The method I use is derived from my understanding of John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica. Dee explains in the text that the circle and the straight line are essentially the building blocks of reality. The circle refers to undifferentiated potential while the straight line refers to particular manifestations.

So for practical manifestation work, in which the flow of mezla is being called from the top of the Tree of Life to the bottom, I start with a circle (unmanifest potential) and end with a straight line (specific manifestation). For mystical work, in which I am calling upon a spirit to aid in my ascent up the Tree, I start with a straight line and end with a circle.

This sigil, then, should be traced over the character of the Moon exactly as it appears on the Kamea, as the character represents the entire square taken as a whole. The final figure then, should look something like this:


Ideally, the sigil should be rendered in colors from all four scales from Liber 777. These are:

King (Atziluth): Bright Pale Yellow.
Queen (Briah): Sky Blue.
Emperor (Yetzirah, Prince): Blue Emerald Green.
Empress (Assiah, Princess): Emerald flecked Gold.

The colors for the sigil are not absolutely necessary, but using them will allow your manifestation to more completely manifest on all four of the Qabalistic worlds, each of which corresponds to one of the color scales. There is no set method for doing this, and the magician is expected to use his or her own insight in coloring the sigil and character.

Incense, if used, should be Galbanum. If you wish to employ a particular magical weapon, the appropriate one would be the Dagger. The substance associated with Air is Topaz. The corresponding plant is Aspen. An appropriate offering to the King of Air would be incense, as it partakes of the Airy nature. Any form of alchohol which will evaporate into the air will also work well.

The full ritual is performed as follows:

0. The Temple

There are a number of different ways to arrange the temple for an operation such as this. What we do is place an altar in the center with the banishing dagger and invoking wand. Also on the altar is a containment structure such as the Sigillum Dei Aemeth or the Trithemian Table of Art. The diagram depicting the character and sigil should be placed within this structure. A small container of some sort for offerings may also be placed on the Table of Art.


If you employ scrying in your work, an appropriate device such as a crystal or mirror should also be placed in the containment structure. If you are using incense for such an operation, the traditional method is to place the incense burner between the scryer and the mirror or crystal. Otherwise, it may be placed anywhere in the space. Some scryers like to place a taper candle on either side of the device, and while I can't say that method does anything at all for me, a number of others report good results with it.

Elemental operations do not make use of planetary hours in any meaningful sense, as the planets and elements do not precisely correspond to each other. However, you can improve your results by employing simple electional timing. This is especially relevant to elemental operations, as the elements all share a strong affinity for the Moon.

1. Opening

Light incense, if used. Open the magical field using the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram, Star Ruby and Star Sapphire, or the Field Ritual. The usual field for practical work is the operant field, with banishing pentagrams and invoking hexagrams.

2. Preliminary Invocation

Raise energy using the Middle Pillar, Elevenfold Seal (the "First Gesture" from Liber V vel Reguli), or some other appropriate ritual method as you may know how to do.

Make the Sign of Apophis and Typhon, raising both arms and holding them straight with an angle between them of 60 degrees, and proclaim, very strongly:

Thee I invoke, who art Universe!
Thee I invoke, who art in Nature formed!
Thee I invoke, the vast and the mighty!
Source of Darkness, Source of Light.

Then make the Sign of Silence, by standing straight with one arm at your side and placing your thumb or forefinger to your lips.


3. Tuning the Space

Perform the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram for Air. To each quarter in turn, beginning in the east and turning clockwise, perform the following actions:
  1. Trace the Invoking Pentagram of Active Spirit in bright purple while vibrating AHIH (Eheieh).
  2. Make the Sign of Rending the Veil, as if parting a heavy curtain in front of you with both hands.
  3. Trace the Invoking Pentagram of Air in yellow while vibrating YHVH (Yahweh). Be sure to pronounce this name rather than spelling it out as some schools teach. Pronouncing it is far more effective.
  4. Make the Sign of Air, holding both forearms upward and vertical at right angles to the shoulders and bending the wrists, as if holding up the sky above your head.
Once you have returned to face the east, read or recite the Elemental Prayer for Air:

Spirit of Life, Spirit of Wisdom whose breath giveth forth and withdraweth the form of all living things; Thou, before whom the Life of Beings is but a shadow which changeth, and a vapor which passeth; Thou who mountest upon the clouds, and who walketh upon the wings of the wind; Thou who breathest forth, and endless Space is peopled; Thou who drawest in Thy breath and all that cometh from Thee returneth unto Thee; ceaseless Movement in Eternal Stability, Be Thou eternally blessed! We praise Thee and we bless Thee in the changing Empire of created Light, of Shades, of reflections, and of Images and we aspire without cessation unto Thy immutable and imperishable brilliance.

Let the Ray of Thine Intelligence and the warmth of Thy Love penetrate even unto us; then that which is volatile shall be fixed, the shadow shall be a body, the Spirit of Air shall be a soul, the dream shall be a thought. And no longer shall we be swept away by the Tempest, but we shall hold the bridles of the Winged Steeds of Dawn, and we shall direct the course of the Evening Breeze to fly before Thee. O Spirits of Spirits, O Eternal Soul of Souls, O imperishable breath of Life, O Creative Sigh, O mouth which breathest forth and withdrawest the Life of all Beings in the Flux and Reflux ebb and flow of thine Eternal Word which is the Divine Ocean of Movement and of Truth. AMEN.

The space should now be tuned for the conjuration.

4. The Conjuration

O thou mighty King PARALDA, ruler of RUACH, by the name of the True and Living God YHVH (Yahweh), I call upon you and ask that you along with the elemental spirits of your domain manifest themselves unto me, for I am a true worshiper of the highest. Let them come forth in a friendly and peaceful manner that I may partake of the wisdom and the pure essence of Air, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name PARALDA repeatedly until the presence of the King and the spirits of elemental Air is perceived within the Table of Art. Various methods may be used to accomplish this, from simply waiting until a presence makes itself known to scrying for an image in a crystal or dark mirror. If this is being performed as a group ritual, with everyone chanting the name together, it is helpful for the officiant or scryer to have a bell chime that can be rung once he or she perceives a presence in whatever manner. At the bell chime, the chant stops.

5. The Charge

My instructions for the charge are simple and straightforward, just as you can find in my published books. Make use of an Injunction, which is what you want the King and/or spirits of the element to do, and a Limitation, which is what you do not want them to do. The Limitation helps you avoid "Monkey's Paw" situations in which your Injunction may manifest, but in an undesirable way.

As I mentioned above, Liber 777 catalogues the powers attributed to the element of Air as Divination. For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside the Airy sphere of influence, and that could cause the ritual to fail.

At this point you may also make offerings to the King by placing them in the small container. After the King has had a chance to partake of the offerings, be sure to dispose of them. Alcohol such as wine may be allowed to evaporate on its own, and natural substances may be scattered outdoors. Do not attempt to reuse an offering - generally speaking, spirits do not take kindly to that.

Also, You should get some sort of assent from the King before you proceed to the License to Depart, or an explanation of his objection. When the charge lies outside the King's sphere of influence, often he will be willing to direct you to another spirit that would be more suitable to conjure in order to better accomplish your intent.

6. The License to Depart

King PARALDA and the elemental spirits of Thy domain, because thou hast-diligently answered unto my demands, and hast been very ready and willing to come at my call, I do hereby license thee to depart unto thy proper place, without causing harm or danger unto man or beast. I charge thee to withdraw peaceably and quietly with the blessings of the great god YHVH (Yahweh), and that peace be ever continued between us. So mote it be!

7. Closing

The ritual may be closed with either a final banishing pentagram ritual or with the Qabalistic Cross performed on its own. These should match the rituals used in the opening, so for example if you opened with a Star Ruby you should repeat it or perform the corresponding version of the Qabalistic Cross.

Generally speaking, if you want to release your intent out into the world to accomplish some task external to yourself, you should close with a banishing pentagram ritual. This is similar to the chaos magick idea of releasing a sigil once it has been created and empowered.

On the other hand, if you also want the effect of the ritual to linger within your sphere of awareness, whether or not the intent is also external, you should close with the Qabalistic Cross. This stabilizes the operation, but does not detach it from your sphere of awareness.

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3 comments:

Dacia Pacea said...

I could be wrong, but it seems that you didn't include the final Aleph into the creation of the sigil. Shouldn't it go from #4 back to #1 again?

Scott Stenwick said...

You are right, I did not catch that before. It should be fixed now.

Dacia Pacea said...

Yup. Thanks!