Monday, July 18, 2016

Thoughts on the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram

A reader contacted me about two weeks ago asking some questions about the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. Apparently one of the external sites I link to has a version of the ritual that differs from the version that I use, and that version has a couple of changes that I don't personally like. So since the Lesser Hexagram plays an important role in the operant magical system, I really should have put up a post on it years ago so I could link to my a page of my own and avoid any confusion.

But I suppose there's no time like the present, right?

This article is not as detailed as my presentation on the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, which was written for a Pagan Pride audience that I assumed would include a lot of novice practitioners who might never have even performed a ceremonial ritual. If you are such a practitioner, I recommend that you review my Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram presentation before delving into this one. My suggestions for breathing, visualization, vibration, and so forth apply to this ritual as well, and should be understood before moving beyond the Lesser Pentagram.

To recap, it should be understood that "Lesser" does not mean "uninteresting" and "Greater" does not mean "awesome" in the parlance of the Thelemic magical system. "Lesser" means preliminary or general, as the Lesser rituals are used to set up your magical space for performing any sort of ritual whatsoever. Greater means specific, and as such the Greater rituals follow the Lesser rituals and serve to "tune the space" to the corresponding element, planet, or sign for your operation.

The current Golden Dawn system also includes a ritual called the "Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram," which is akin to a Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for Malkuth, in which each of the four elemental pentagrams is traced at the appropriate quarter with the corresponding godname. In terms of the Thelemic rituals, it is most similar to Liber V vel Regulu.

The first thing you will probably notice when you start working with this ritual is that elemental directions are different. That is intentional. In the Western magical system, there are two primary sets of attributions for the directions and classical elements. Both of these are found in Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, so they date back to at least the Renaissance.

The first of these is called the "winds" model, and it is probably the most widely used. In this arrangement, Air is in the east, Fire is in the south, Water is in the west, and Earth is in the north. It is called the "winds" model because it is based on the following arrangement derived from the four classical powers:

The winds from the east are Warm and Moist so Air is in the east.
The winds from the south are Warm and Dry so Fire is in the south.
The winds from the west are Cool and Moist so Water is in the west.
The winds from the north are Cool and Dry so Earth is in the north.

As I mentioned in my Elemental Work posts, John Opsopaus has written a great series of articles on the Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements, which explains in detail how the classical powers combine to produce the four classical elements, and I refer you to that series if you are looking for more information on this subject.

The key takeaway from the origin of the "winds" model is that it is microcosmic in nature. That is, it is based on how the winds feel to the individual experiencing them, which is essentially a subjective focus. The second model is based on the position of the Sun in the signs of the Zodiac throughout the year in the northern hemisphere, and is macrocosmic in nature as the position of the Sun is entirely objective.

The Sun is at its most northward at the summer solstice, in the sign Cancer. Cancer is the cardinal sign of Water, so in this arrangement Water is in the north. It is at its most southward at the winter solstice, in the sign Capricorn. Capricorn is the cardinal sign of Earth, so Earth is in the south. At the beginning of the year, the vernal equinox, it is in Aries. Aries is the cardinal sign of Fire, so Fire is in the east. Finally, at the end of the year, the autumnal equinox, the Sun is in Libra. Libra is the cardinal sign of Air, so Air is in the west.

Note that I have never visited the southern hemisphere, so I never have tried to do my practices there and see how well they work. It may be that as the "zodiac" model depends upon the objective position of the Sun, the elemental directions may need to be reversed. So Air would go in the east, Water in the South, Fire in the west, and Earth in the north. At the same time, in that arrangement Air and Earth do not change position from the winds model, which might be relevant.

This because understanding the dynamic tension between these two models is one of the keys to making the operant field work. Some teachers have recommended that you rearrange the elemental directions in the Lesser Hexagram so that they correspond to those in the Lesser Pentagram, but if you want to use the operant field to its full potential, do not do this. It turns the Lesser Hexagram more microcosmic, which will limit your ability to influence the external world.

Other teachers - most of them, in fact - recommend that you use the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram together as part of your daily practice. Again, if you want to use the operant field to its full potential, do not do this. It creates a banishing field, which basically shuts down both microcosmic and macrocosmic magical forces. There are circumstances where you might want to do that, but as a daily practice it is serious overkill and, again, can limit your ability to influence the external world.

I can't say that I have the data to emphatically assert that those teachers are wrong, but this is what I will say - try both my way and theirs for a period of time and see what works the best for you. I am willing to bet that most of you will prefer my version, because so far that's what I've seen. Most people I have taught strongly prefer the operant field method, as it lets them start getting practical results more quickly.

So here is how you perform the ritual itself. You should always perform the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram before the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram. Once you have concluded that ritual, you begin and end the Lesser Hexagram with the Keyword Analysis, which contains the L. V. X. signs. These were the Minor Adept signs in the original Golden Dawn system, and they correspond to the central sephira Tiphareth.

The Keyword Analysis is performed as follows, according to Aleister Crowley's Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae.

(i) Stand upright, feet together, left arm at side, right across body, holding the wand or other weapon upright in the median line. Then face East and say:

(ii) I. N. R. I.
Yod. Nun. Resh. Yod.
Virgo, Isis, Mighty Mother.
Scorpio, Apophis, Destroyer.
Sol, Osiris, Slain and Risen.
Isis, Apophis, Osiris, IAO.

(iii) Extend the arms in the form of a cross, and say: "The Sign of Osiris Slain."

(iv) Raise the right arm to point upwards, keeping the elbow square, and lower the left arm to point downwards, keeping the elbow square, while turning the head over the left shoulder looking down so that the eyes follow the left forearm, and say: "The Sign of the Mourning of Isis."

(v) Raise your arms at an angle of sixty degrees to each other above the head, which is thrown back, and say: "The Sign of Apophis and Typhon."

(vi) Cross the arms on the breast, and bow the head, and say: "The Sign of Osiris Risen."

(vii) Extrend the arms again as in (iii) and cross them again as in (vi), saying: "L. V. X., Lux, the Light of the

There's a lot to unpack here, and I am not going to delve into all of it. For example, the image at the top of this article shows the L. V. X. signs mapped onto the paths of the Tree of Life. That's a lot of material to cover, and you probably will get more out of it researching it yourself based on your understanding of Hermetic Qabalah. This article is more of a how-to or need-to-know piece that explains how the ritual is performed rather than addressing all of its deep symbolism.

So essentially, this short passage recounts the Osiran myth, in which Osiris is slain by his brother Set and resurrected by his wife Isis. Note that Set is NOT the same entity as Apophis and Typhon, though they are sometimes conflated by modern practitioners. In Egyptian mythology Apophis or Apep was the serpent who lay in wait below the horizon and attempted to devour the Sun each night as it passed through the underworld.

The identification of Apep with Set is particularly ironic because it was in fact Set who guarded the bark of Ra against this mighty serpent, and thus helped to prevent the Sun from being devoured every night. So Set and Apep were in fact adversaries. Typhon is a Greek deity who like Apep symbolized chaos, which is why the two are conflated in this sign. In the context of the Osiran myth, Apophis and Typhon therefore alludes to Osiris passing into the underworld symbolized by Apep, rather than to the identity of his murderer.

These images show the four L.V.X. signs that are given during the Keyword Analysis at the appropriate points. I perform the Keyword Analysis pretty much as shown here, with one major modification. I do not say "the sign of" when giving the four signs. I feel like doing so robs the ritual of much of its dynamic character. So I give the Sign of Osiris Slain and just say "Osiris Slain," the Sign of the Mourning of Isis and say, "The Mourning of Isis," and so forth.

Once you have finished the Keyword Analysis, you begin in the east and move clockwise, tracing the hexagram of each element to the appropriate direction as you vibrate the keyword ARARITA. This word essentially means unity, and is derived from a Notariquon or acronym alluding to the Hebrew phrase Achad Rosh Achdotho Rosh Ichudo Temu rahzo Achad, meaning "One is His Beginning; One is His Individuality, His Permutation is One."

The elemental hexagrams are constructed from two triangles. The upward-pointing triangle represents Fire and the downward-pointing triangle represents Water. So Fire is Fire over Fire, Earth is Fire balanced with Water, Air is Fire over Water, and Water is Water over Fire. That being the case, the colors in which they should be visualized are either red for the fire triangle and blue for the water triangle, or the colors of the element themselves - Fire = Red, Water = Blue, Air = Yellow, and Earth = Green.

Note also that you always trace the upright (Fire) triangle first. Some books and other sources show the upper triangle always being traced first, which is incorrect. It only makes a difference for the Water hexagram, but you should be aware of it for that reason alone. Also, a number of commenters have noted that the hexagrams resemble their corresponding elemental weapons, and this can be a useful mnemonic. Fire would be the wand, Earth the pantacle, Air the dagger, and Water the cup. If you look at the shapes closely, you can see how they line up.

One of the common variations that I find on Thelemic sites is that the upright triangle is shown in blue while the downward-pointing triangle is shown in red. This is from Aleister Crowley's commentary on "The Holy Hexagram" in The Book of Lies, in which he discusses the inversion of the "hexagram of nature" in the Holy Hexagram or "hexagram of magick." However, I am of the opinion that this commentary refers to the Star Sapphire and NOT to the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram.

It should be noted that this ritual has been subjected to a number of variations particularly by Thelemites, as the Thelemic system is not based on the formula of the Dying and Reborn God as the original Golden Dawn system was. So far, though, no one version has emerged as the definitive "Thelemic" version. My magical working group developed our own, which uses a completely different keyword analysis and employs the unicursal hexagram as the elemental figure. You can find that ritual here, but I recommend learning the original before playing around with different versions.

Some teachers argue that you should be able to trace "Planetary Lesser Hexagrams" by attributing the planetary points to all four elemental forms of the hexagram used here. I completely disagree with this usage, as the lesser hexagrams are elemental in nature, not planetary. If you want a planet, you should instead use the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for that planet. Furthermore, it's not even clear to me what you would use a "Lesser Planetary Hexagram" for that you couldn't do with the Greater rituals at least as efficiently.

At any rate, once you have completed tracing all four hexagrams, you return to face East, completing the circle, and repeat the Keyword Analysis. The ritual is then complete, and in conjunction with the Lesser Pentagram should have opened a magical field based on the banishing/invoking orientations of the pentagrams and hexagrams. The operant field, the version that I mostly use in both my daily practice and my practical ceremonial work combines the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram.

So now that this is up, my next task is to look for links to the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram on the site and point them here. There are almost 1500 articles, so wading through them will take some time. But this is the definitive version as far as I'm concerned, so if you see me talking about the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram anywhere else, this is what I have in mind.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble


master bates said...

@Scott, which version of the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram do you use? I notice that some use the name of the angel associated with the planet as well as it's god name and others all 4 names of the 4 levels.

Scott Stenwick said...

My Greater Ritual of the Hexagram is vibrating ARARITA with the appropriate hexagram in the appropriate color, then vibrate godname with symbol in flashing color. It doesn't need to be more elaborate than that.

If you're working through a spiritual hierarchy you do that in the conjuration, not the hexagram ritual. So for a planetary operation with the Agrippa Intelligence and Spirit, you would vibrate [Godname] with the Greater Hexagram. Then, in the conjuration:

[Angel], I conjure you by [Godname].
[Intelligence], I conjure you by [Angel].
[Spirit], I conjure you by [Intelligence].

You can stop at any point in that sequence when you reach the entity you want to work with. And none of it goes in your Greater Ritual of the Hexagram.

Frater I. A. C. said...

Thank you for your explanation of why you trace the fire triangle first. That makes sense to me. When facing north, I've been doing it the other way because of the instructions in Kraig's Modern Magick. I love that book and it has really helped me, but have noticed that virtually every other source has you tracing the lower (fire) triangle first when facing north. Now I know why.

Scott Stenwick said...

That would be because the one source sold over three hundred thousand copies. That is an unbelievable number for a magick title. The problem is that anything Kraig didn't quite get when he wrote it gets passed on to a potentially huge number of students.

Much of the material in Kraig is basically correct, and he does explain it well. But you also can't just assume that his methods are right whether they make sense or not.

L.H.O.N said...

Hello Scott, I wonder if you ever thought about it: If you want to work with a specific energy, like in the model of Fifty Gates of Qabalah (but with rituals aproach) where you access some energy like "Gueburah of Tiferet", "Yesod of Hod", or another, but not working on the Whole sephira, only on the Aspects Within (on the tree inside them), maybe in this case make sense to do The lesser and the Greater Ritual of Hexagram with diferent planets (this is something i'm thinking a lot, but not tested yet), with one reflecting the Outer Sephira and another the inner Sephira.

I've never did the Lesser hexagram with other planets association (only the general).

Did you ever work with this model of work with especific energy? How would will be your aproach? Thanks and regards

Scott Stenwick said...

I have not done any work along those lines, but I am willing to share a few thoughts on it.

I don't use the Lesser Hexagram with "different planets" because to me that makes no sense. The hexagrams in the Lesser ritual are elemental, not planetary, and as I see it the LRH is specifically a general ritual. I don't think it's designed to work with planets at all - LRP = microcosmic elements, LRH = macrocosmic elements. There's the allusion to the Sun as ruler of the macrocosm and as IAO, but that's in the Keyword Analysis, not the hexagrams.

There also is an issue with trying to do the Greater Hexagram multiple times with different planets. Basically, for the most part it doesn't work. The GRH tunes the space to the energy of one planet, but then if you tune the tuned energy to another planet that generally cancels out. I experimented with that for a long period of time at one point, but nothing I did with multiple GRH's worked. It's like taking a flashlight and putting a red filter over (the first GRH) and then putting a blue filter on top of that (second GRH). You don't get much light through both.

If I were approaching this mystically (which as far as I can tell seems to be all you could do with a method like this) I probably would skip the GRH entirely. That's my usual practice when working with multiple energies that don't pertain to a single planetary force.

Unknown said...

Greetings Scott!

What is your opinion on inscribing "I.N.R.I" into the air, in reverse order, during the beginning of the keyword analysis? I've noticed some documents recommend it while others make no mention of it. Would you consider this an unnecessary practice? If recommended, should I be inscribing the letters in Hebrew? Truly appreciate your insight!

On a side note, thank you so much for providing all of the amazing content on your website! I only discovered it a couple weeks ago, but I find myself here daily, using it as a study resource. You bring a fantastic level of clarity and understanding to subjects that have otherwise seemed vague. I really enjoyed your presentation on Thelema Now, as well. Thanks a ton for your instruction and providing a clear road map for the self-initiate.

best regards,


Scott Stenwick said...

Inscribing INRI during the Keyword Analysis is not a method that I personally use, but I also would not expect it to cause any problems or issues with the ritual.

It seems most logical to me that if you were going to do it that way, though, you would inscribe the English from left to right and the Hebrew from right to left. I wouldn't reverse the INRI just because you are transliterating to Hebrew - it is, after all, written in the Latin alphabet first.

But I don't know - maybe it works best if you trace it in reverse. I haven't worked with it, so it's hard to say whether the above is practical advice or just speculation on my part.

I'm glad you've enjoyed the website and my presentations. I try to keep it all interesting! Thanks much.

MNQ said...

In speaking of the Operant Field and "preliminary" work to performing other greater works of magick, ie. Evocation, I see here you use LBRP, but then LIRH. In my method, I have used (as was suggested to me by a fellow magician) LBRP and LBRH. I then perform an Invocation or series of Invocations (changeable based on the nature of the work). My question is why do you use the LIRH after LBRP? Why wouldn't you continue the Banishing by doing an LBRH? And then invoke (even maybe by specific planetary invoking Hexagram ritual). I realize the Pentagram is microcosm and the Hexagram is macrocosm (representative), but shouldn't both be banished before proceeding?

Scott Stenwick said...

I know that is what the traditional Golden Dawn orders teach, but the short answer is that in practice it works better - as in, it generates larger and more substantial probability shifts based on years of empirical testing.

As I always say here, if your method works for you, keep doing it. The first rule of magick is that if it works, it works. So that's the standard disclaimer. I don't have enough to data to say with certainty that my methods work better for everyone, though many of the magicians I have shared my idea with have reported better results.

My working hypothesis as to why this works better is as follows. The LBRP clears out space in your own sphere of sensation - whether you want to call that your aura or your consciousness or whatever. The LIRH then invokes the forces of nature into that space so that they can mingle with your sphere of sensation, joining microcosm and macrocosm into a contiguous "field." That's why I call it an "operant field."

My suggestion to you would be to try it and see. Do several pairs of operations for the same reasonably easy to obtain result, and record what happens. When I did this I found that my rituals were more effective, but if you don't, I suggest you stick with the banishing method that you have been using. In the end, it's all about what works best.

J said...

I started doing The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram sometime ago, but started having lots of negative experiences in my daily life! I stopped doing the ritual and things went back to normal.
Later I started doing The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram again, this time doing The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram before and after the Lesser Banishing Ritual Hexagram. The results were not as bad, but lots of negative things continued to happen, so I have stopped doing it again.
I read recently that the purpose of The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram is to banish "POSITIVE SPIRITUAL INFLUENCES?" Is this correct? If this is true why would anyone do The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram on a daily basis?
I would really like to read your opinion on why the negative experiences are happening as a result of doing the The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram!
Sorry to be so wordy just trying to be thorough!

Scott Stenwick said...

I would not necessarily say that the purpose of the ritual is to banish positive spiritual influences, but that is one of the things that it does. The LBRH banishes all macrocosmic spiritual influences, positive and negative. The reason that most of the modern Golden Dawn groups teach doing it on a daily basis is that they are wanting it to create a sort of "clean slate" in which all spiritual influences besides the rest of your daily practices (whatever you do after the LBRH) are shut down. But I don't teach that, in part because what you are describing can happen.

Not all people have strong spiritual influences in their lives that basically manifest as "good luck" or "good fortune" or whatever. My guess is that you may be one of those people, though, so when you do the LBRH the influences that tend to make things go your way are shut off. Basically it means your life starts working like a normal person's does, as opposed to how a spiritually lucky person's does. The latter then manifests as seemingly bad fortune.

Some people are the exact opposite, extra unlucky due to spiritual influences. For them, doing the LBRH can be helpful because their life will shift from "unlucky" to "normal," which is a positive change. Even for these folks, though, I think a better approach is to use the operant field and then conjure the appropriate spirits to mitigate those negative influences. That's going to be more effective in the long run.

L.H.O.N said...

For a few times I tested combinations of both pentagram and hexagram rituals for a few weeks. I realized that when stopping the practice (banishment or invocation) there was some minor accident, someone at home got hurt (cut, fall, anything). But I still can't see any practical effect on my luck, for example.

Until the day before yesterday I had six months of Minor Banishing ritual of Pentagram and Minor Invoking ritual of Hexagram every day (Operant Field with Middle Pillar, recitation of each [6 to 10 times] Chakra's mantra and reading a few psalms) once a day before bedtime.
The idea was to get out of laziness and also get ready for summoning rituals (I've done Seven Spheres rituals a few times, and I thought I'd try to improve myself for better results, since I've seen nothing and heard nothing and I'm still not rich [laughs ]).

With this sequence of rituals I had physical results (temperature change, tiredness, sleep, invigoration, tranquility, sometimes lucid dreams for a week ou month, but not related), it this.

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

thank you ever so much for a brilliant blog and for all your hard work teaching magic.
I realize you are probably very busy bit if you ever have the time I'd live your thoughts on Nick Farell's reflection on the lesser banishing ritual of the hexagram - seeing that he recommends banishing as it banishes any forces of saturn that would restrict the magical energy.

Basically, I'm a little confused weather to banish or invoke.

Thank you kindly!

Scott Stenwick said...

The easiest answer is this - try both, test your results, and see what works. Most people that I have heard back from seem to find that opening with the operant field (LBRP/LIRH) makes their magick work better. But since we don't have a unified theory of magick, there are always going to be individual differences. Also, Nick and come from different traditions (I'm a Thelemite, he's Golden Dawn) so we're going to give you different answers to a number of questions about these forms. So keep that in mind.

That being said, as far as I can tell from my entire history of working magick, the "Saturn backlash" discussed in Nick's article is not a real thing. I've never experienced it myself, so I don't see a need to banish it. I do magick all the time, and I use it to get an edge in as many situations as I possibly can. You would think if it was real I would have run into it by now.

One observation I have made, though, is that every concurrent operation you have going will diminish the probability shift that each or those operations will produce. Think about it this way - if P represents the total probability shift that you can create, then if you have 5 operations running each one will be running at about P/5. If one of those operations terminates, by a success or by reaching a time limit, the other 4 will increase to about P/4. There are a number of ways to test this - suffice it to say that it does seem to hold.

So my opinion is that maybe the "Saturn backlash" is a misinterpretation of this phenomenon. The LBRP/LBRH is a "full shutdown." It stops all running operations (that you have anchored on yourself - but I'll get to that). So if you have 5 operations going and you perform the LBRP/LBRH, and then you perform a new operations, it will run at the full P but none of your previous operations will continue. That also can be checked using regular probability testing.

Understanding this helps with developing workarounds. The fact that these work further demonstrates the phenomenon:

1. Always give your operation a reasonable time limit. If you don't, it will run until it succeeds and reduce your maximum probability shift the whole time. If your charge is something that is beyond your ability to influence in finite time, it will run forever until you shut it down. Even in the latter case, if the time limit is exceeded it will shut down on its own.

2. If you anchor your operation on a talisman, such as conjuring a spirit and using a charge like "empower this talisman to do X" versus charging the spirit "do X," the effect will be anchored on the talisman and will not be anchored on you. You get a bit if a probability dip when you do this, so that if you have nothing else "running" when you create the talisman its probability shift will be around .8 * P, but the fact that you can make as many of these as you want without reducing the effect of the first one is often a good trade-off. Two healing talismans, for example, will give you (.8 * P) + (.8 * P) because the shifts from multiple operations are additive as long as the aspects are basically harmonious.

But that's a whole lot words to get back to the suggestion that you try it yourself and see. You're not going to cause problems if you do an operation and it's less effective than it could be with optimal casting. At worst it just won't work. So if you try it one way and it doesn't work, try it the other way and see if it does. That's really the best test, and it will be the best test until we can develop a way to measure the effects of operations directly.

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

Dear Scott,
thank you for your kind in-depth explanation.
I shall follow your recommendations and try different approaches.
Be well and thank you again for such an informative answer and for an awesome blog!
Frei encore

Bishop said...

I tought you vibrate ARARITA when you finish tracing and point a finger in it and then vibrate.

Scott Stenwick said...

If that is how you do it and it works for you, by all means keep doing it. What works for me is to vibrate ARARITA while tracing the hexagrams.

I suspect this is another one of those small performance differences that won't have much of an effect on how well it works. You find a lot of those when start looking at how different teachers teach the rituals.

Philip said...

As a daily ritual I do the Invoking LRP in the morning and the banishing LRP before bed like in the Golden Dawn papers. Would you recommend doing the Invoking and Banishing Hexagram rituals morning and night as well?

Scott Stenwick said...

No. What I recommend to students is that if the ritual they know is the LRP, do invoking in the morning and banishing at night like you refer to here. Once you learn the LRH, you can switch to a single practice session either in the morning or at night using the operant field, LBRP/LIRH. That accomplishes the banishing and invoking pieces in one step (albeit one step with two rituals). Then you add the Middle Pillar to that session following the LIRH and you are invoking the macrocosmic aspects of the divine force.

Philip said...

1. Do you know why there is no "Let the Divine Light Descend" portion like in the Rose Cross Ritual?

2. Is a horizontal circle drawn connecting the Hexagrams like in the LRP? Would it be red or blue?

Scott Stenwick said...

1. I am not sure why that line does not show up in the Liber O versions of these rituals. I also am not sure that it was part of the original Golden Dawn instruction, and if it wasn't that would explain why Crowley didn't include it. You might have to ask a Golden Dawn initiate about that.

2. You do want to trace the circle as you do the hexagrams, and you can visualize a color if you want. But there is no specific instruction on what it should be. With the LVX signs you are stabilizing yourself in Tiphareth so an argument could be made for yellow along those lines, rather than red or blue.

Philip said...

Hello. It was pointed out to me today that Liber O places the keyword before AND after the LRH whereas the Godlen Dawn papers just place the keyword after. Do you know why this is?

Scott Stenwick said...

I am not sure why Crowley decided to put it in Liber O like that. There is not a lot of material in general that Crowley wrote on his rendering of the Lesser Hexagram, whereas he did write up an analysis of the Lesser Pentagram that you can at least refer to.

I will say that as a Thelemite, that's how I was taught and that's the version I used when working out the permutations for the operant field and so forth. It does work well as written in Liber O.

TyroneLove said...

So you don’t draw a circle linking the pentagrams/hexagrams in either rituals ?

Scott Stenwick said...

I usually do it that way in my personal practice, but it is not officially part of the ritual instruction from Liber O. I think it helps, though the effect doesn't seem to be big enough to test from a probability standpoint.

Unknown said...

Hey...i was thinking this today and just came across your page ..and actually i did many yrs ago try your operant field method and found it to work quite well...but i had a break from ritual and have been getting back into a gd purist and ex member so i return to original practice...and was thinking today..we know to use both ehen we wish to.clear all "signals" but when is the invoking to be used if we are wanting sol forces to enter our life..this has given me something to think on...also what you were saying about southern hemisphere allocations is really interesting to me as im in you think pentagram corners should also switch as fire is in the south as in direction of sun in northern hemisphere at noon...some say no dont touch as it has alot to do with alegory to do with michael battle in exoteric context as well as 4 winds having general correspondences with the occult model of the brain (ie:the skull with planetary symbols all over in moon on the back of skull..relating to subconcious..and gabriel in west cause of this..mercury front cortex etc etc) well this brings up more questions and hopefully u can get back to me and give your thoughts on all of one last one...similar to another comment i usually lbrp then lbrh atm but was going to start lirp in morning and banishing at was meant to be the change after getting a rythm going. .my question is where would the hexagram ritual fit into this ?? After i do both banishings in in the morning i follow up by doing a daily invocation/prayer of the archangel of the day as from the armadel and thenn intone all angel names correlating to that specific group...what do you think about banishing pentagram then invoking hexagram of specific planet of the day then daily prayer of whatever archangel resides for that day...or another idea slightly different that i had was what about doing lbrp then lbrh followed by the invoking hexagram of ones own nativity virgo so strong mercurial theory shouldnt this cause an influx of energies to do with ones own archangel relating to strengths in makeup of.pshyce...also if one has a nativity horoscope one can easily acquire angelic names according to ones own birth in time ànd planet locations etc and derive a tree of life display specific angels names relating to each sphere .while i did this more to get the info of which angels were where at time of birth struck me as wouldnt these names be more fitting being as one is trying to enhance ones strongest faculties??just a much more interested in the former questions so dont get overloaded with that one...but in case your not grasping i shall give example woth a few spheres so you get me ...really need a photo upload being i was born 26 aug etc etc sun /tiferet was 0-5 virgo -angel -Lecabel(mercurial angel) demon- foras
...moon/yesod-0-31 sagitarius-angel -vehuel (demon-crocell) etc any event im starting to think lbrp /lbrh then the intoning of angels according to specifoc day followed by the archangel prayer of the day which ive been doing..these prayers from the armadel daily invocations read much like affirmations at the end so they seem to be working as in i clear all energies then invite that mindset in...but been throwing these ideas about of late and would love to hear your thoughts..sorry for the length of the post. LVX

Scott Stenwick said...

I can see how you might want to at least experiment with switching Fire and Earth quadrants on the LRP in the southern hemisphere. The LRP uses the "winds" model of the elements, in which the wind from the south is warm and dry so Fire is in the south, and the wind from the north is cool and dry so Earth is in the north. In Australia, clearly the warm winds are from the north.

A counterpoint to that, though. The godnames in the LRP are not elemental, so switching them maybe doesn't make sense. The archangels are attributed that way, so you could experiment with swapping Michael and Auriel and see what that does. But there's also the idea that you are standing at the intersection of Samkh and Peh on the Tree of Life, which places Hod at your right hip so Michael should still be on your right.

It might be more relevant to the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for Malkuth, which is the version where you trace the four elements to their specific quarters. If I were doing that ritual in the southern hemisphere, I would very likely trace Earth in the south and Fire in the north. I expect this would also be the case with the Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram, which I don't personally use but is structured the same way as GRH - Malkuth in the Thelemic system.

As usual, best thing to do is experiment. Try a couple of variations, and if they work better go with them. That's going to give you first hand experience, which is better than anything somebody on the Internet (including me) can tell you.

I never do the LBRH daily, since I find it interferes with ongoing spells that aren't anchored into talismans. So it's hard for me to say how it would fit in with what you are doing here. I personally do one session of practice in the evening, opening with LBRP/LIRH or Star Ruby/Star Sapphire. To that I add the Middle Pillar or Elevenfold Seal, and I follow that up with whatever additional practices I am doing for the day. If I were doing planetary work like what you are talking about here I would do something like this:

LBRP -> LIRH -> MP -> GIRH - Planet -> Planetary Invocation -> QC

The GRH is also used for zodiacal angels in the Thelemic system, so I would work with the angel of the day similarly. But my understanding is that in the GD system you use the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram for signs. So going with that, I would use this version for the angel of the day.

LBRP -> LIRH -> MP -> GIRP - Element (of sign) -> Zodiacal Invocation -> QC

I close with the Qabalistic Cross to seal in the results of the practice, rather than any sort of banishing. I use this structure a lot, whereas most of the GD purists I come across work "up" with invocations and then back "down" with banishings. I find that model inefficient at best for practical work, and also for personal development from my daily practice. But YMMV - it's always best to try these sequences out for yourself and see how they work.

TyroneLove said...

Hello Scott. I got into the habit of drawing the pentagrams, then charging them with the God Names and sign of the Enterer during the LBRP, whereas in the LIRH I vibrate ARARITA while drawing the hexagrams. I was wondering if not using same method for both rituals could be the source of an imbalance in your opinion ?

TyroneLove said...

Hey Scott, I’m really confused right now. I just read this in David Shoemaker’s « Living Thelema » :

« the LRH has traditionally been practiced by Second Order initiates of Golden Dawn-derived mystery schools. Unfortunately, it is partly for this reason that most published versions of the ritual are incorrect. Published versions, including the one given by Crowley in Liber O, use the elemental attributions to the quarters that would have been used only within second order Vault—that is, fire, water, air and earth, counterclockwise starting from the east. (You will note this arrangement on depictions of the circular altar within the G.D. Vault, for example.) For most daily use, the elemental attributions are exactly as used in the LRP—air in the east, fire in the south, water in the west, and earth in the north. »

What are your thoughts ??

Scott Stenwick said...

I do not buy that for one second. I am familiar with the book and I know and like David, but there is absolutely no reason to switch the quarters around for the LRH and in fact in my opinion it breaks part of the dynamic balance between macrocosm and microcosm that powers the operant field.

The "winds" elemental model in the LRP represents the microcosmic arrangement, and the zodiac elemental model in the LRH represents the macrocosm. So just like going from pentagram to hexagram, going from winds model to zodiac model encodes the microcosm/macrocosmic shift. Changing the directions in the LRH removes some of that symbolism and in my experience it doesn't work as well.

Now the operant field is my own work, but I've done pretty extensive testing with it. David still goes with LBRP/LBRH for openings, which I hardly ever use. There might be some advantage to swapping directions with that arrangement - not really sure. But I wouldn't do it with the operant field (LBRP/LIRH) and assume it will work the same.

If you want to experiment with this method, use it exactly the way David does. Don't try to combine it with my methods. I know from experience that it doesn't work well with the operant field - not that it will do anything bad, it just doesn't work nearly as effectively.

And by the way - I've been waiting for somebody to ask me about this since I read Living Thelema. So far you're the first person who has.

TyroneLove said...

Thank you for your answer. That’s exactly what I thought, there’s a justification for the microcosmic and macrocosmic attributions of the elements, and he doesn’t address that at all.

j said...

Hi Mr.Stenwick,

What is N.I.X. and why does Crowley say "If you dare!"

Does Crowley set up a lot of "Booby Traps" and if so why does he do this?


Scott Stenwick said...

I never have found anything in Crowley's work that I would describe as a "booby trap," so as far as I can tell there aren't any such things. It makes no sense to me why any magician would do that - if you are trying to keep a technique secret, why would you publish it at all? Deliberately publishing it wrong as a "blind" just seems so dumb to me. It helps no one and just confuses the discipline of magick.

The signs of N.O.X. are Puer, Puella, Vir, Mulier, and Mater Triumphans. In the A.'. A.'. system they correspond to the grades from 6=5 to 8=3. The signs of L.V.X., on the other hand, correspond to 5=6. So basically I think the whole "if he dare" just has to do with the N.O.X. signs mapping higher on the Tree of Life than L.V.X. You certainly don't need to be an 8=3 (or equivalent) to use them - I wouldn't claim that grade myself and I use them in the Star Ruby and Star Sapphire all the time.

j said...

Hi Mr.Stenwick,
You're right, It doesn't make since and it is stupid.
I just wondered about, the "If you dare! Statement." It comes a across as a challenge. I have also heard other people make statements like that about his work. But if you say that accusation is bullshit, then its bullshit. You're the expert not me.
Thanks for clearing that up.

Scott Stenwick said...

Crowley does use a lot of language that seems designed to challenge the student, and it often is hyperbolic. For example, take a look at this quote referring to a body of light meditation exercise in Liber O:

"Yea, though his very life tremble on his lips, let him force his way upward and onward!"


"Let him sink (when no longer can he strive, though his tongue by bitten through with the effort and the blood gush from his nostrils) into the blackness of unconsciousness"

The student is obviously not risking his or her life in an exercise like this, nor do I know anyone who does it until blood gushes from their nostrils. The point is that it is a call for the student to exert their full effort on doing the practice and to take it seriously.

Crowley uses this rhetorical trick a lot in his writing. I generally think that those who read these statements as literal instructions are more likely to hurt themselves than to attain the spiritual realization that the practice is supposed to induce.

j said...

Hi Mr.Stenwick,
I like and appreciate the explanations. What you said earlier about it would making no since and would be stupid to print it if no one would benefit from it. That's "Critical Thinking".
So the next part about the rhetorical is just (Poetic license)? Just trying to sound dramatic with no real drama implied?
The one you just quoted seems obvious, others not so much.
You mentioned once that you used the Red Pen Method when an author said he did not know something on a particular topic, so would that or something similar work with Crowley when he is making rhetorical statements? Or just discount them every time you see them?
I'm also guessing that once a student has read enough of Crowley this just becomes obvious?

Scott Stenwick said...

Well, I am not sure that I would go that far and completely dismiss it. The point is that it's rhetorical, not literal. What Crowley is communicating with statements like that are what aspects of the practice he thinks are most serious and important. That's useful information and I wouldn't disregard it. At the same time, though, taking those comments literally is not the way to go either.

The "red pen method" is a little different. It's for statements that are so obviously false that they convey nothing at all useful. The example I go back to is Donald Tyson insisting that Crowley's work with the Aethyrs caused the two world wars and working with it further would end the world. He either doesn't believe that, or is so dumb that he couldn't see the incoherence of his next book being "Enochian Magic for Beginners."

"You'll literally end the world if you practice this, and now here's a handy guide that tells you how."

What? That's the sort of thing I reserve the "red pen" for.

It does become more obvious if you read a lot of Crowley. Basically, if there's an instruction that sounds like it will result in you seriously injuring or otherwise harming yourself, it's probably hyperbole or a misinterpretation of what Crowley is saying. You don't need to hurt yourself doing magick, and in my experience it usually is counter-productive to do so.

j said...

Hi Mr.Stenwick,
Could you please explain "The Crowley and the Razor Blades" that Kraig mentioned.
I would like to understand it in terms of hyperbole or rhetorical.
You know more than Kraig ever did and I trust your insight on this.

Scott Stenwick said...

So the practice that Kraig is talkin about is called Liber Jugorum. The idea is that it is supposed to allow you to train your mind using conditioning (more specifically, punishment). In the early part of the 20th century behaviorism was not nearly as well understood as it is today. Crowley had access to Pavlov (classical conditioning, from the late 1800s) and that was about it. Even the early American behaviorists like Watson only showed up around 1940, and Liber Jugorum was written (I think) at least two decades earlier.

The idea is, you are supposed to engage in the practices outlined in the text - avoiding the use of certain pronouns for a period of time, for example. If you slip up and use the pronoun anyway, you are suppose to make a cut your arm with a small razor blade. The idea is to condition the mind to work a certain way by punishing deviations from the practice. Some Thelemites these days do the practice with a rubber band on their wrist, which they snap when they deviate to provide a source of punishment, which is less damaging than cutting.

I'm pretty sure Crowley did mean this one literally. He shows an example of a student's arm after doing it in one of his books - and it that example it should be pointed out that the cuts only looked deep enough to cause a small amount of pain and mark the skin. Nowhere does Crowley suggest the student should mutilate themselves or anything like that.

But the thing is - Crowley was just wrong on how this one works. Pavlov was only able to show affinity and aversion coupled with pleasant or painful stimuli. Under the Pavlov model, reward and punishment were thought to work the same way - so by doing this practice, the student was supposedly permanently conditioning their mind to "behave," so to speak, and the idea was that the conditioning would endure beyond the bounds of the practice.

But in the 1960s, Skinner discovered a principle that suggests Jugorum won't work nearly as well as Crowley thought. The crucial piece of information that Crowley didn't have was that punishment only endures so long as the source of punishment is present. In other words - somebody who does Jugorum for a period of time and then one day forgets to bring their razor blade with them will find their carefully cultivated aversions completely evaporate. It's not something you can think your way around, either - it works that way on pigeons, rats, and pretty much any animal that behaviorists have worked with.

While I maintain that working with your conditioning is one of the most important things you can do as a magician, Skinner found that while conditioning formed by means of punishment wouldn't endure, conditioning formed by reward would. So in effect, you will get much better results when you flip the practice around and reward yourself for engaging in the desired behavior rather than punishing deviations from it. We have over fifty years of scientific data supporting that fact.

Not all Thelemites agree with me on that, but I do think this is a case where if we are going to apply "the method science, the aim of religion" to our work we need to line it up with the most current scientific discoveries. And personally, I think Crowley would be just fine with that.

Bishop said...

Scott could you please answer me what would one LBRH do with my current ongoing operations when i called Angels to help me ?
For example i feel like i could use rest and be little disconnected from world and if i would do LBRH just once and after day or two LIRH like i usually do what would happen with ongoing operations?
Would the current eenrgies be stopped for a while and if i would do Invoking Hexagram again would that return energies to normal flow like it was before LBRH ?

Scott Stenwick said...

The banishing field (LBRP/LBRH - you want to use both, since the LRP always precedes the LRH) will shut down any operations that are in a state where they are running but unlikely to succeed - for example, if you do a spell that needs a really big probability shift, but you didn't cast it with a time limit. Such spells are likely to run forever unless you deliberately shut them down. So if something like that is going on, doing LBRP/LBRH one day and then going back to your regular practice could help because it's a "clean start" so to speak. Then you can recast just the ongoing operations you want, and make sure to include time limits or anchor them using talismans - which eliminate the need for operations to draw on your personal power.

j said...

Hi Mr.Stenwick,
Would the "Star Ruby" and the "Star Sapphire" have different effects or results than the traditional "LRP" and the "LRH" ?
Also I found a youtube video which said the "Star Sapphire" was not a replacement for LRH? Is this true?
Did Crowley ever make his own version of "The Middle Pillar Ritual" ?
What is the significance of Babalon in "Star Ruby"?
Have you performed the "Mass Of The Phoenix"?
Is it a form of a renewal ritual as the name implies?
What kind of results or effects does it cause?

Scott Stenwick said...

Crowley described the Star Ruby as an improved version of the ritual of the pentagram, and the Star Sapphire as the corresponding hexagram ritual. In my opinion, the Star Ruby/Star Sapphire creates an operant field like the LBRP/LIRH does. I'm not sure what the rationale would be for stating otherwise.
The closest thing Crowley wrote to a Middle Pillar is the Elevenfold Seal, from Liber V vel Reguli. It's the first section that opens the rite. The Elevenfold Seal is earlier than Regardie's Middle Pillar, and may have inspired it in some fashion.
Babalon is in the west, attributed to Scorpio and Water in both the later version of the Star Ruby and Liber V vel Reguli.
Yes, I've done the Mass of the Phoenix. It's a eucharistic ritual for a single practitioner. Crowley writes that the point of a eucharist is to infuse some material basis with magick, so that by consuming the material the magician literally ingests the magick itself. Renewal is certainly one effect related to this. Here's a longer article on the Mass of the Phoenix:

The big trick that I have found with it is to read the text closely. Some people, when doing this ritual, cut themselves with a dagger or something even sharper like a surgical scalpel (!). But Crowley actually says to use a burin, which is an engraving tool that has a sharp point but no edge. A burin does not cut - it creates a light scratch when drawn across the skin and you can then just do a sharp poke at the end and draw a drop or two of blood. Just like with offerings to spirits, it's about the quality, not the quantity.

j said...

Hi Mr.Stenwick,
I was am looking for a video of someone pronouncing the words of the "Star Ruby and Star Sapphire correctly, when I came across The video "Living Thelema Star Sapphire".
The author David Shoemaker was making all kinds claims about the "Star Sapphire" ritual including that it is a "Cliff Notes version of the "Liber Samekh" helping a Mage have "The Knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel".
So I thought to check with you to see if this has any validity or is just utter nonsense.
Which sound like it is, since you said Crowley called the "Star Sapphire" an improved version of the "LIRH".
Also do you know of any video links that pronounce the words of the "Star Ruby and Star Sapphire" correctly. I Would like to read and hear it at the same time to learn the two rituals correctly.

Scott Stenwick said...

Bear in mind that when you read the text of the Star Sapphire, Crowley gives barely any explanation of how to even do many of the actions. So the ritual is very much open to interpretation, and there are plenty of ways someone could have a different interpretation than mine without it being "utter nonsense."

I would probably have to sit down and watch the video to comment on it intelligently. I know David and he's a solid practitioner, but we do disagree in a number of places. With respect to this particular claim, I would argue that a more proper "Cliff's notes" for Liber Samekh would be Liber V vel Reguli, which is in turn based on the four-element version of the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram. I think that's a better match.

One of these days I will be putting up videos for the Star Ruby and Star Sapphire, but I haven't done so yet. I rarely watch magick videos on YouTube and the like, so I'm not familiar with anyone who has one that's particularly good.

Desmond G. said...

Thanks so much Scott for posting this.
I have practiced both the LBRH and LIRH forms for a few months now.
My conclusion?
Both are acceptable, but you must first know the intention of the rite.
Lately I have wondered the following is the reason why I am writing to you.
I believe that it is necessary to know with what intention to make the LBRH or the LIRH.
I explain:
-First option: The LBRH really uses the banishing form of Saturn, and if the intention is to eliminate the negative/dirty energies that can limit your work, then go ahead and do the LBRH with ararita and golden white golden color (the color is very important) . With the shape of Saturn I clean and the golden color I protect myself. I generally feel that spirits love very clean spaces.

-Second option: If you want faster results in the physical world and have "a mass of energy" to absorb and use for later invocations, then use the LIRH, but with the colors of the elements according to the zodiac (red, green-black , yellow and blue).

Color is very important. It can be used with the intention of banishing saturn (the first option) or the second option.
I would like to know your opinion about what I write.
Thank you very much.
All the best.

Scott Stenwick said...

While I agree that the colors are important - see my article on lesser versus greater pentagrams, for example.

But I am equally convinced that the LRH is not "really" related to Saturn. It's a general ritual for banishing and invoking macrocosmic elemental forces, complementing the microcosmic elemental forces called on the form of the archangels in the LRP.

Saturn rules limitations and the like, so you could maybe loosely associate it that way, but that's not where I think the power of the LBRH comes from. It comes from banishing all four elements in a macrocosmic arrangement. The elements, planets, and zodiac are three separate systems that operate at different "levels" or "scales" of reality and are complete in and of themselves. So all four elements includes everything. You're banishing everything, not a particular planet. Banishing Saturn would technically only banish forces and/or qualities specific to Saturn, and anyway you would use the GRH-Saturn for that in the Thelemic system, not the LRH.

I am aware that some of the modern Golden Dawn groups have this idea that the LRH has planetary attributions. Maybe in does in the GD system, not a GD initiate myself so I can't say for sure. In the Thelemic system, though, it doesn't, and there are some differences in how these forms are used between the two systems. Getting in what the ritual "really" is seems to be an endless rabbit hole that doesn't necessarily yield much in the way of results. The Golden Dawn LRP/LRH and the Thelemic LRP/LRH are different, and they might work differently depending on which system you are working with. What I publish here is how I use the Thelemic versions and the results and insights that I have obtained working with it.

By all means, feel free to experiment with different versions of these rituals. I don't mean to shoot what you're saying down here - maybe that "really" is how it works for you. Some Golden Dawn folks don't like my operant field, for example, which is more informed by Thelemic ritual combinations like the Star Ruby/Star Sapphire than the original way it was used in the GD. But I've tested it, I get better probability shifts with it, so I use it the way I use it.

Regarding banishing and invoking, Crowley writes in Liber O:

"Success in 'banishing' is known by a 'feeling of cleanliness' in the atmosphere; success in 'invoking' by a 'feeling of holiness.' It is unfortunate that these terms are so vague."

So it sounds like the experiences you are describing are not that far off. I just take issue with the idea that the LRH is planetary, because in my experience it doesn't work that way - at least not in the Thelemic system that I practice.

Desmond G. said...

Thank you very much for your very complete answer. I will continue to review the articles you comment on.
I think the problem with the golden dawn system is that it focuses too much on the vertical component and not the horizontal component. It focuses a lot on "higher" changes and nothing or almost nothing in the physical world.
I think Crowley noticed that.
On the other hand, when I have practiced the LBRH in the golden dawn way and on a daily practice I have felt very very very tired and every day with less strength despite doing the middle pillar. I buy you the idea that banishing is banishing everything (including a possible influx of LVX).
It is true that it leaves a sense of purity/cleanliness in the environment. There are places where I have felt enormous pressure on the crown chakra and after the rite the pressure disappeared.
I have really come to rethink the nature of the LBRH because I did not visualize the color gold (I saw it white), but in the same way I have been doing the LBRH for 3 days and as a daily practice it seems to me an exaggeration (as you comment in a publication).

Once again I would like to express my gratitude for your vocation.
All the best.

Bishop said...

Does the LRH has to do something with Saturn?

For example:
I see also that original GD rite had a Sun Glyph in center.

Like you somehow calling forces of saturn in banishing version to banish structures while a invoking rite will alter it.

Scott Stenwick said...

The LRH is elemental, not planetary. In the Thelemic system it has no glyph of any kind in the center - just like the LRH. I think it's unlikely that the original GD teachings had the solar glyph, since in my opinion Crowley would have kept that when he published his version of the LRP/LRH (given his love of solar-cult-everything) that was adapted from the 5=6 material he received directly from Mathers.

Nick notes that he's only seen the solar glyph in later AO sources and is guessing at it being original. But there's no evidence of that in Regardie either, and the Regardie material is from Stella Matutina. Some modern Golden Dawn authors talk about attributing the LRH hexagrams to planets, but Nick himself shoots that idea down in a different article and I agree with him. It's silly, at least with the operant field and so forth.

To me this sounds like the AO trying to fit planetary symbolism into the LRH after the fact. I can't prove it, but I also don't think Nick can prove that it was original. We're both speculating at this point. What I can say is that in practice, it sure doesn't work like a planetary ritual in any sense.

Scott Stenwick said...

No glyph in the center just like the *LRP*, that is. Obviously the LRH is just like itself.

L.M. Cerny said...

Hey Scott - I noticed this article shows that to trace the hexagrams for invoking vs. banishing you trace the hexagrams clockwise for invoking and counterclockwise for banishing. However, for the lesser pentagram ritual article on your site depicting the GD version, it shows the opposite (counterclockwise for invoking and clockwise for banishing). Why is this?

I was also wondering why both banishing and invoking forms of the pentagram and hexagram rituals trace the circle clockwise (E, S, W, N). From reading other comments and your answers on here, I'm assuming it's to do with the Winds model, but just looking for some clarification here since I've seen others actually change direction for invoking vs. banishing.

I currently do LBRP -> LIRH -> MP -> study/prayer/intention and close with QC as my daily practice + meditation later in the day when i have time, but am starting to become confused by all of the contradictory and low quality "new agey" material out there. I'm a Freemason as well, but have found that it's more of a social club than something that teaches real occult science.

I'd like to be able to choose a path and stick with it, at least until I have enough experience testing different things to find what works best for me. Do you have any insight into any of Damien Echols' material? I like his videos on YouTube and am looking for a good starting place to practice this stuff so was thinking of getting his book High Magick as a starting point. I originally started with Franz Bardon's Initiation into Hermetics and, while I found some of the exercises and theory helpful, I found a lot of the concepts incomplete and confusing for a beginner, maybe not practical for a modern person.

Let me know if you'd ever be open to a video chat consultation to help a young initiate on his path. Thank you!

Scott Stenwick said...

The pentagrams follow a completely different rule than the hexagrams. You trace towards the point to invoke and away from the point to banish, regardless of clockwise versus counter-clockwise tracing. The Aurum Solis uses a system where you trace the pentagrams like the hexagrams - start at point, clockwise to invoke, counter-clockwise to banish - but I played with it for a year or so and it just doesn't work as well, even though it's more logical in a number of ways.

You could go counter-clockwise to banish if you want with the LRP and LRH, but again, I've found that it doesn't work as well. In those rituals, banishing versus invoking is set by how the figures are traced, not the direction of rotation. In the Star Ruby you don't trace the figures, so it relies on counter-clockwise rotation to set its orientation to banishing.

I'm a Mason too, and have found much the same. I do like the initiation rituals and they have some good material in the lectures, but there's very little interest in esotericism beyond that with most members.

Most of Echols's material isn't bad, but from what I've heard he does mix up a few things here and there. The one I can think of is that he says the LBRP will disenchant talismans, which it absolutely won't because it affects your sphere of sensation, not the space around you - and I have tested this experimentally over a period of years. That suggests to me he's a little unclear about what the LRP actually does.

I'm happy to answer questions here or via email, but I don't do consultations or work with clients or anything like that. I'm just not interested in getting into the magick business.

Bob the magician said...

Can you use the sign of the enterer and the sign of silence for the LIRH

Scott Stenwick said...

You can if you want. Both the Enterer/Silence method and vibrating while tracing work in my experience. I just generally prefer vibrating while tracing personally.

j said...

Hi Mr. Scott Stenwick,

I'm a little confused, by your article, Thoughts on the Star Ruby, as well as Crowley's Book

of Lies, page 25, and by Magick In Theory and Practice' in regards to "Widdershins"

and counterclockwise.

"Advance to the East. Imagine strongly a Pentagram, aright, in thy forehead. Drawing the

hands to the eyes, fling it forth, making the sign of Horus and roar ThÊRION. Retire thine

hand in the sign of Hoor-paar-Kraat.

Go round to the North and repeat; but say NUIT.

Go round to the West and repeat; but whisper BABALON.

Go round to the South and repeat; but bellow HADIT."

If I go from the East to he North to the West to the South, as instructed, that's not

"Counterclockwise" That's Clockwise.

So are you and Crowley's saying to do East North West South Like the LBRP and then go

counterclockwise SouthEast Corner (four quarters), SouthWest Corner, NorthWest Corner, and

NorthEast Corner? If so how are the four names ThÊRION, NUIT, BABALON, HADIT arranged which

corner Gets which name?

Also after I perform " The Eleven Fold Seal" at the Svadistthana Cakkra "crying, BABALON!"

I get a visit in my dreams my intense " Lucid Dreams" lot of fun butter ultra realistic!

Do you have any insight?



Scott Stenwick said...

LRP goes clockwise - East, South, West, North. Star Ruby goes counter-clockwise - East, North, West, South.

Neither ritual does anything with the cross-quarters. Therion is East, Nuit is North, Babalon is West, Hadit is South.

I do the Elevenfold Seal as part of my daily practice, and I can't say I've noticed much as far as dreams go. It probably has to do with moving energy around, since like the Middle Pillar that's basically what the Elevenfold Seal does.

j said...

Hi Mr. Scott Stenwick,

About that last question, I'm was a little off base with that question about North and

South and Clockwise and Counterclockwise, I do know the difference usually and your were

right of course, but thank you for answer it anyway. I Recently have gone through a

personal loss, and my mind seems to get crosswired sometimes, because I have not gotten

over it yet. Do you know of any Magickal way to expedite the healing process so that I can

think clearly a function without a clouded and confused mindset?



Scott Stenwick said...

I would work with Mercury to help with that. Something like this:

Mercury rules both healing and clarity of mind.

Hals said...

Hello, thank you for this very informative post.

Could you give a fuller explanation or post a link to one regarding the L.V.X. signs? The diagrams upon the Tree of Life are helpful, but a fuller analysis would be very much appreciated.

Scott Stenwick said...

I do not have another article that goes into detail on the LVX signs. Here are a few links I found with further exposition of them.

If you have specific questions after reading over these let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.

Hals said...

Thank you for the links.

What I'm looking for is an analysis of each sign as they are mapped out on the Tree of Life (as in the diagrams you provide at top). I can reach conclusions on my own given my knowledge of the Tree but it would be nice to compare my conclusions with what others have to say, and perhaps point out something I might have missed on my own.

Hals said...

Also, I'm wondering (and apologize if you've stated it somewhere and I overlooked it) how do the LIRH and LBRH differ in practice from each other?

Scott Stenwick said...

I do not know of a source that goes into greater detail on those relationships aside from the ones I linked. I'm not 100% sure those diagrams are even canonical. In the Thelemic system, the LVX signs together are attributed to Tiphareth, and the individual deities are attributed to their corresponding columns in Liber 777.

The difference between the LBRH and LIRH is the direction in which the hexagrams are traced. In the LBRH they go counter-clockwise and in LIRH they go clockwise.

Hals said...

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Great site as well. Much appreciated.

Samat said...

Scott, I've been doing the LRH for a year with the Keyword analysis and LVX signs repeated only once after the tracing of the triangles, just like how the GD and Regardie teaches in his book but for some reason Crowley does it twice, both before and after the triangles. Can you explain why? I've also seen your group's personal version of the LRH in your videos which also uses them once. And I've read Nick Farrell's LVX article and his horrendous grammar aside, he too does it once. Checked with Matthers and found it to be the same as Regardie so that's how I've stuck to doing it, with the addition of visualizing the triangles in red and blue.

John Michael Greer though, does it with the LVX signs silently first followed by the tracing of the triangles concluded by the Keyword Analysis and LVX signs.

Scott Stenwick said...

The version of the ritual I learned is from Crowley's Liber O, which does the Keyword Analysis before and after tracing the hexagrams. It sounds like that might be a difference between the Thelemic and Golden Dawn magical systems. I always have done the LRH that way.

The version of the LRH that my magical working group developed also does its version of the Keyword Analysis before and after the hexagrams. I don't know what you might have seen where I only did it once, unless I messed something up in a video and wasn't aware of it.

I'm not sure why you would do it once (Golden Dawn) versus twice (Thelema). But clearly, I would say that the Thelemic and Golden Dawn versions of the LRH are both effective. You should be able to work with whichever one appeals to you the most, and I think the results should be similar.

Samat said...

I see. I've had wonderful results so far with Regardie's version of the LRH when I've done magick using our Augoeides methods which was also the GD version except the original Mathers instructions said to do the 'signs of the 5 = 6 grade', which Regardie didn't put in his book because he forgot what they were and no published version contains that sign. Crowley used the LVX signs in place for that and the Ciceros who were taught by Regardie use the LVX signs and that is how the published version of the LRH is now done, so I feel no resistance towards doing it.

j said...

Hi Scott Stenwick,

Does Magick always work behind the scenes or can you actually see the causes and not just

the effects to help you navigate your Magickal workings better?

Would this be "clairvoyance"? And is clairvoyance even necessary?

Also on a related matter since your a expert on neuroscience is "schizophrenia"

a misdiagnosed clairvoyance to the uninitiated? Are they related? Or are they two

completely different things?


j said...

Hi Mr.Scott Stenwick

Just a quick question.

Did I offend you in any way?

If so I apologize!


Scott Stenwick said...

No, not at all. Sorry, I had a busy weekend and just saw this comment.

Usually any statement with "always" is going to be wrong some of the time. Magick often works in ways where you can't necessarily tease out the cause leading to the effect, but sometimes you can. It depends.

Clairvoyance and other divinatory methods can help to navigate the path by which magick operates, but I find that such investigation usually isn't particularly useful. I focus on whether I get a result or not, and the only means I worry about is optimizing my ceremonial forms to get the best results.

Schizophrenia is a completely different thing. It's a serious mental illness marked by disorganized delusions. A psychologist who isn't familiar with occultism might say that both magicians and schizophrenics "hear voices," but the content of those communications matters a lot. With a schizophrenic they generally aren't real psychic information and will defy any sort of verification, but with a magician not so much.

The short version is that "voices" can be legitimate psychic information, or they can be delusions originating in dysfunctional brain processes.

Scott Stenwick said...

Oh, if you are thinking something is up because your post did not appear right away, all posts are moderated these days. I have to personally approve them before they post, no matter who the message is from.

I put it in because we were getting overrun by spammers and I could no longer keep up with deleting all the spam messages. It just got to be too much of a pain.

j said...

Hi Mr.Scott Stenwick

Thank you for responding and explaining everything!

Also have you ever heard of anyone having trouble with Magickal development do to former

religious affiliation such as Christianity or Satanism? (I am not blaming the Magick.)

When you said that the subconscious mind was bs (because I see references to it in occult

literature) is there a new more accurate model that you use and replaced it with?

I hope that made since.


Scott Stenwick said...

No, I cannot say that I have come across anything like that. I have taught a few folks who consider themselves Satanists and they don't have any issues with the techniques I teach. I also know a couple folks online who are Christians and have gotten good results with my methods.

The key to understanding my take on the unconscious mind is that it's not a mind as we understand it. The brain does do unconscious processing, but it's not the same thing as the kind of thinking we do consciously. It is not organized. It does not have goals, interests, needs, or even awareness. It essentially consists of conditioning loops built up over the course of our entire lives.

Skinner tried to argue in the 1960's that all cognition is made up of conditioning loops. This is obviously wrong when talking about the conscious declarative mind, but it hits the nail on the head with respect to the unconscious. The unconscious literally runs on four or five rules total and its operation can easily be simulated by even a simple computer.

This is the reason that psychoanalysis can't beat sham therapy - that is, it's effective a placebo even in cases where it works. It assumes that the conscious and unconscious operate in similar ways, so that if we make the conscious aware of what the unconscious is doing we can resolved mental illnesses. This entire assumption is false because the conscious and unconscious work in fundamentally different ways. This is also why therapeutic modalities that take into account this difference (CBT, DBT, etc.) do outperform sham therapy. That is, the modalities themselves work.

In the context of magical development, the key takeaway is that you can't think your way around or out of a conditioning loop. In order to deal with issues related to conditioning, you need to recondition yourself - that is, use the four or five rules to reinforce conditioning patterns that you want running in your life. The end result of this process is that your conditioning system serves your will and not the other way around.

Prosopon said...

Hello Scott, thank you for your time and dedication.
I have been wondering for a while about and issue. I have searched in all books I know and I haven't be able to find anything there and neither in the entire web.
Why when tracing the hexagrams (LIRH or LBRH doesn't matter) one moves clockwise? I can't find the sense in it.
You start in the East (Aries, fire, spring), why are we supose to move to the south (Capricorn, earth, winter). That is not the move the sun does in the macrocosmic level. How does that make sense? Are we not mixing microcosm and macrocoms in a non sensical way?
Thank you, and sorry for my english.

Scott Stenwick said...

First off, magick is a technology. It works the way it works. Whether or not it makes logical sense is irrelevant. Logical sense can help with figuring out what hypotheses to test, but that's it. If you do the test and it doesn't work, that means it doesn't work.

I start with that not because of your question only, but because I literally see this all the time. "Wouldn't it make more sense if you did X instead of Y?" The answer is often "maybe," but the only way to know is to to the experiment. Sometimes the prettiest, most logical patterns you can think of don't hold at all in practice.

Now regarding your question - deosil motion is based on the motion of the Sun during the day, not the stationing of the Sun during the year. There's no contradiction as I see it because those are two different things. But to be clear - my opinion is simply based on the fact that doing the rituals the way I do them works. That doesn't mean they are currently fully optimized, only that I do them in the most optimal way that I currently have worked out.

To answer this question for yourself, I recommend you do the experiment and see. Do a series of practical rituals with measurable results that you can compare doing the LRP clockwise and another doing the LRH counter-clockwise. Then you should be able to compare your two data sets and see for yourself. If it turns out that you get better results going counter-clockwise, post them somewhere so your findings can be reviewed and hopefully replicated.

Prosopon said...

Thank you for your answer.
I see how magic is a technology and I am sure there are practices that have pretty patterns and don't work, but I refuse to think that practicese that work are symbollically meaningless, just we don't know which the meaning of those symbols are.
Just a brief response to your answer: I am aware the deosil motion is based on the Sun during the day and I see the meaning in, let's say, the LRP where clearly that's the pattern. But I understood the LRH was precisely about the motion of the Sun during the year.
Anyway, you have said something very interesting I have read from you in several occasions: about experimenting with practical rituals with measurable results. I have been practicing magic for some years now, although not many, and I have experiment several times with patterns in rituals. Usually, I feel a kind of discomfort feeling when I am doing something that "doesn's work" for a while; and a feeling of "yes, now is working" when, after a period of time, I change that pattern. I trust on me on that, but it is a slow process. So what you are saying is very interesting. Can you give a concrete example or link some post in your blog? I assume you are not saying of casting a spell starting with doing LRH in a way and then the same spell in the other, because, how could you say which has worked? Neither two different spells with the two different openings because the causes for one is working and one is not could be very different. So I assume you are talking about invoking the same planetary force-entity for a period of time with both methods, for example. Am I right? Even so, for me, making the same ritual for a period of time exactly the same way results in very different outcomes depending on my mood, the experiences of the day, etc. So I found what you propose very difficult to do.

Scott Stenwick said...

So here is the deal. You asked my opinion of an idea that you had. In terms of how I understand the LRH your question does not really make sense. But that doesn't mean it's objectively wrong. There is no general theory of magick that we can test these things against, for a lot of different reasons.

If you're going to ask me a question about whether I think X makes more sense than the methods I have found to work over time, I'm always going to say no. I work the rituals in the best and most effective way that I have worked out for myself, and the way I do them makes complete sense to me.

But again - none of that is objective. We would need a solid set of experiments done over a long period of time that passed peer review and was replicable in order to be reasonably certain that it might be. And yes, this sort of experimentation is very difficult to do - in part because there are still so many people out there who aren't willing to publish their methods and experimental results.

You would do the two spells at different times, trying to get everything as close as you can. But there still are always factors that are going to be different. So you have to do multiple sets over time.

But yes, it's very difficult, which is why I can't say with any certainty that your idea wouldn't work. But I also want to see some evidence that it's not just a pretty pattern before I devote significant time to testing it out. I've come across more pretty patterns in magick that wind up not working at all than I can count over the years.