Monday, January 23, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Aries

This article is Part One in a series.

The work of the Zodiac is neglected by most magical resources intended for beginners. The reason for this is that in the tradition, students start out studying the elemental work, move on to the planetary work, and only after that explore the system of the Zodiac. But in the context of practical work, the signs are important, because they represent half of the practical magical powers listed in Liber 777.

When going through this series, you can refer back to my Angels of the Zodiac presentation for additional information. The presentation goes into greater detail regarding some aspects of the zodiacal work, as does my Evoking Zodiacal Angels article in Liber Spirituum.

Today I will be starting off with the sign Aries. In Liber 777, Aries is attributed to the "Power of Consecrating Things." This is a relatively expansive power than can be used in many different contexts. It can be used to consecrate tools of whatever sort for magical work, to consecrate a temple space for ceremonial workings, or to consecrate a talisman prior to empowering it with a specific task. The magician may even employ it to consecrate him or herself in appropriate ritual contexts.

In ritual magick, the basic function of consecration is to attune some person, place, or thing to magical work in general. A general invocation such as the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram may be thought of as a consecration, just as a general banishing such as the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram may be thought of as a purification. In addition, a number of magical systems include the concept of purifying by Water preceding consecration by Fire.

In Qabalah, the signs correspond to the twelve single letters of the Hebrew alphabet. These letters are so named because they correspond to a single specific sounds. The signs are all attributed to the sephira Chockmah, and are associated with paths only in the context of practical magical work. The sephiroth represent states of manifestation, whereas the paths represent the movement of energy between those states.

This series will be covering these paths, as they correspond to practical magical operations. This is by design - some schools teach that you should master a bunch of mystical stuff before you start casting effective spells, and I just don't buy that. You should use magick for basically everything, and you should start doing it right away. Studying the differences between successes and failures will give you essential insights into the nature of your will and the quality of your technique, and besides, doing effective practical magick is awesome.

For the Path of Aries, the four scales of color are Scarlet, Red, Brilliant Flame, and Glowing Red. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Scarlet. Its complement is emerald green. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel, which in this case is relatively simple as they are all shades of red and orange.

This sigil should be traced onto the Kamea of Mars, as Mars is the ruler of Aries. Along with the sigil itself, you also trace the character of Aries on the Kamea. The Angel of Aries is Melchiadel, spelled Mem-Lamed-Kaph-Yod-Daleth-Aleph-Lamed. The Mars Kamea is 5 x 5, so the highest number it contains is 25. Therefore, Mem and Lamed need to be reduced. This yields 4 (40), 3 (30), 20, 10, 4, 1, 3, (30). The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Aries is Dragon's Blood. Associated plants are Tiger Lily, Geranium, and Olive. The associated metal is iron, and the associated precious stone is ruby.

The plants may be dried and ground into a powder using a mortar and pestle and can be sprinkled onto the paper talisman as an offering to the angel. Likewise, a piece of ruby or iron may be placed on top of the paper talisman for the conjuration. You then use the paper to wrap up the whole thing when the ritual is complete and somehow bind or tape it together. Note that the stones need not be of gem quality, and therefore can be obtained relatively inexpensively.

The god-name for the path of Aries is the first permutation of Tetragrammaton, YHVH. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh). However, in practice that does not work nearly as well as pronouncing the name as a word. Most scholars agree that Yah-Weh is the most accurate pronunciation of YHVH in English. Note that even if you use a different pronunciation such as Yeh-ho-wah, pronouncing the word still works better than spelling it out.

For ceremonial forms, I use the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram for the signs of the Zodiac when working practical magick. Apparently a number of schools teach that you should use the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram instead, but as I see the practical zodiacal work as an extension of the macrocosm, I prefer the hexagram. You can invoke an element using either the hexagram of the ruling planet or the pentagram of the ruling element, but in the latter case it seems more likely that what will be invoked is the sign's more microcosmic aspects, such as associated personality traits.

0. The Temple

The best time to perform an Aries operation is on a Tuesday, during an hour of Mars that falls during the day. This is because Mars rules Aries, and because the sign Aries belongs to the Diurnal sect. Since you are employing ceremonial forms to tune the space you could do it during a night hour of Mars as well, but a day hour is most appropriate. The night hours of Mars are associated with Scorpio.

To calculate the hours, divide the time between sunrise and sunset into twelve equal parts to get the hours of the day, and the time between sunset and sunrise into twelve equal parts to get the hours of the night. Days begin at sunrise. The first hour of the day is attributed to the planet ruling the day, and the subsequent hours are assigned according to the Chaldean Order.

Saturn --> Jupiter --> Mars --> Sun --> Venus --> Mercury --> Moon

Following the hour of the Moon, the order starts over again with Saturn. While it seems complicated as first, once you do it a bunch, you'll find that it actually is pretty easy. At this point I can almost do it in my head. There are also a number of software programs that you can download to do the calculation for you, and even some websites that will tell you the hours.

You should also calculate the Chart Victor for the time of your operation if at all possible. Ideally, you want the Chart Victor to be a planet that is dignified in the sign, and you should always avoid a Chart Victor that is debilitated. So the best Chart Victors for an Aries operation are Mars (Rulership) and Sun (Exaltation). Chart Victors to always avoid are Venus (Detriment) and Saturn (Fall).

The other three planets are essentially neutral, and will neither impede nor aid your operation. You can perform an operation with any of them as the Chart Victor if you cannot perform your ritual at another time, though if you can wait until the Chart Victor is Mars or the Sun you will generally get better results. Also, keep in mind that simple electional timing should be employed as well, and a positive final aspect is especially important if you are working with a neutral Chart Victor.

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 be placed on the Table of Art, or you can sprinkle the offering directly upon the diagram itself.

The Table of Art shown above is from The Digital Ambler. You can read about the design and how it was put together here. You can click on the image to enlarge.

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.

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 Hexagram for Aries. Beginning in the east, go to each quarter in turn and perform the following actions.

  1. 1. Trace the Hexagram of Mars in scarlet while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah). The hexagram of Mars is traced by starting at the upper left point and tracing the downward triangle clockwise, and then moving on to the lower right point and tracing the upward triangle clockwise.
  2. Trace the symbol of Aries in the center of the hexagram in emerald green while vibrating YHVH (yah-weh).
The final figure being traced to all four directions should look like this:

Once the four figures are traced, return to face the east completing the circle.

Then, recite the following unification statement adapted from Liber 963.

1. O Thou snow-clad volcan of scarlet fire, Thou flamecrested pillar of fury! Yea, as I approach Thee, Thou departest from me like unto a wisp of smoke blown forth from the window of my house.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the crimson lust of the chase, and the blast of the brazen war-horns, and all the gleaming of the spears; so that like an hart I may be brought to bay in Thine arms, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou flame of the horned storm-clouds, that sunderest their desolation, that outroarest the winds; I swear to Thee by the gleaming sandals of the stars, to climb beyond the summits of the mountains, and rend Thy robe of purple thunders with a sword of silvery light.

4. O Thou Sovran Lord of primaeval Baresarkers, who huntest with dawn the dappled deer of twilight, and whose engines of war are blood-crested comets. I know Thee! O Thou flame-crowned Self-luminous One, the lash of whose whip gathered the ancient worlds, and looseth the blood from the virgin clouds of heaven.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the smoke-veil'd fire of the mountains: Thou hast inflamed them as lions that scent a fallow deer, so that they may rage forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a white ram that is athirst in a sun-scorched desert of bitterness; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may seek the deep waters of Thy Wisdom, and plunge into the whiteness of Thine effulgence: O Thou God, my God!

7. O Thou effulgence of burning love, who pursueth the dawn as a youth pursueth a rose-lipped maiden; rend me with the fierce kisses of Thy mouth, so that in the battle of our lips I may be drenched by the snow-pure fountains of Thy bliss.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the fivefold root of Nature; nor the fire-crested helm of her Master: O Thou who art not the Emperor of Eternal Time; nor the warrior shout that rocketh the Byss of Space! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Raise me in the unity of Thy might, and suckle me at the swol'n breasts of Thine all-pervading Nothingness; for Thou art all and none of these in the fullness of Thy Not-Being.

9. Ah! but I rejoice in Thee, O Thou my God; Thou cloud-hooded bastion of the stormy skies; Thou lightning anvil of anglel swords; Thou gloomy forge of the thunderbolt: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou all-subduing Crown of Splendour; O Thou hero-souled helm of endless victory! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till the mad rivers rush roaring through the woods, and my re-echoing voice danceth like a ram among the hills, for the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, suckle me with truth and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all my agony of anguish is but as a quail struggling in the jaws of an hungry wolf.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all my works are as a coiled-up sleeper who hath overslept the day, even the dawn that hovereth as a hawk in the void. Yet in the gloom of mine awakening do I see, across the breasts of night, Thy shadowed form.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou eternal incarnating immortal One? O Thou welder of life and death! Thou whose breasts are as the full breasts of a mother, yet in Thy hand Thou carriest the sword of destruction! O how can I cleave the shield of Thy might as a little wanton child may burst a floating bubble with the breast-feather of a dove?

13. O Thou Unity of all things: as the sun that rolleth through the twelve mansions of the skies, so art Thou, O God my God. I cannot slay Thee, for Thou art everywhere; lo! though I lick up the Boundless Light, the Boundless, and the Not, there still shall I find Thee, Thou Unity of Unities, Thou Oneness, O Thou perfect Nothingness of Bliss!

The space should now be tuned for the conjuration.

4. The Conjuration

O thou mighty angel MELCHIADEL, ruler of TELEH, by the name of the True and Living God YHVH, I call upon you and ask that you along with the 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 Aries, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name MELCHIADEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Aries 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 angel and associated spirits 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 catalogs the powers attributed to the sign Aries as the "Power of Consecrating Things." For best results, your charge should fall within that area. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Aries' sphere of influence, and that could cause the ritual to fail.

At this point you may also make offerings to the angel by placing them in the small container. After the angel 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.

Your other option is to place the offerings directly upon the sigil itself, if this is practical, as it is with ground-up plant material or spices. If you decide to go this route, you will be wrapping the offering up in the paper sigil and need give it no further thought. Obviously, though, this becomes less practical with liquid offerings, such as alcohol.

Also, You should get some sort of assent from the angel before you proceed to the License to Depart, or an explanation of his objection. When the charge lies outside the angel'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

Mighty MELCHIADEL and the 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, 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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Anonymous said...


I have a question about self consecration, just to know if I understand correctly. Is it to be employed as part of a mystical ritual, for example, when one consecrates their body as a vessel to receive divine grace, or the godhead, or abstract visions like the ones corresponding to the spheres? I assume that for these workings one would have to perform certain preliminary rituals and/or preparatory work such as fasting. But I'll leave this part for your mystical series :)

Secondly, I know that this ritual is a template and one can add and subtract according to their experience etc. I suspect it's not exactly necessary to add the symbol of the sign in the design of the sigil. I mean, I've used only the sigil for the angel so far and it seems to be working for me. It would be nice though if I could create talismans for all the signs using their symbols, permutation name, angelic sigil (includiv the seal from the Magical Calendar) which would be inscribed in the corresponding metal. But so far, I'm doing okay with paper sigils.

Looking forward to the rest of the series!!! :D

Anonymous said...

And speaking of the Magical Calendar, there are several differences between it and 777 in terms of the angelic names and attributions to the signs. I wonder why...

So far I've used the names and attributions of 777 and I'm happy with the results. I guess Crowley was way more skilled than I am at hearing and understanding spirits, in the eventuality he received these attributions directly from them.

Scott Stenwick said...

Consecration is a pretty general power and can be used for a lot of things, including everything you list there. Feel free to be creative with it.

Just as a point, you never NEED to fast or anything like that. Some practitioners find it useful and others don't, and you should always engage in practices in a way that works best for you. Most ascetic practices are worth trying out once or twice to see if they work for you, but if they don't, they don't. They've never done much of anything for me.

You probably do not need to draw the sigil over the symbol of the sign. In my article in Liber Spirituum, I just give the sigils themselves. But since that came out and I have been playing around with the forms more, I find it useful if I plan on re-using a sigil. If the symbol of the sign is integrated, you can see at a glance which is which without having to memorize the sigils themselves.

Liber 777 is a compilation of correspondences from many different sources. Some of the differences, though, are just things like the English spelling. For Aries, the Magical Calendar shows Malchidiel rather than Melchiadel, but those are just different English glosses of the same Hebrew name. My guess is that the Hebrew pronunciation was just different back when the MC was put together.

As far as other differences go, 777 reflects all the research of the founders of the original Golden Dawn along with Aleister Crowley's work. It started out as a set of GD correspondences that Crowley received from Allan Bennett, and Crowley expanded upon it based on his research. So a lot of work went into it.

Anonymous said...

I'll wait until the mystical rituals are posted and I'll probably ask directly there :)

I understand. So I guess there's no problem if I am to construct a zodiacal talisman and add the extra symbols from the MC on it.

Thank alot for the answers!

Scott Stenwick said...

No, as I mentioned awhile back in reference to a previous post, you certainly can use other sigils for angels besides those derived from the Agrippa kameas, if you have access to them. I would think that the sigils from the MC should qualify. The kamea system's main advantage is that it is a general method that can be employed with any spirit name.

Sam Narriman said...

Dear Scott,

Thanks a lot for all the illuminating posts. I really love your Elemental Work and Planetary Work series, and I'm really excited you've started your Zodiacal series as well. What I appreciate in all this the way you teach the methodology of ritual construction which I prefer to merely following a set number steps predesigned by we don't know who.

I've got a question about the way you use planetary kameas and the angel's name to draw the sigil and later to design a ritual: could the same method be applied to other planetary (elemental, zodiacal, etc.) beings like the Bardonian entities or the Olympian spirits? Some of them already have sigils of their own, so would you use the existing sigils or would you use the corresponding kamea to design a new one?

Scott Stenwick said...

Thanks. I am glad that you are finding them useful.

You can use the kamea method, or you can use a traditional sigil from another source for a particular spirit. Both will work. What you are trying to do with a sigil is open a connection to the spirit, so multiple sigils can correspond to the same one. It's just like a person with multiple phone numbers, so using a traditional sigil doesn't change anything about the ritual procedure.

If you're wondering which will work better for you, my recommendation is to try both methods out and see for yourself.

javier said...

Hi Nick ¡¡¡

great article ¡¡¡ for the magical operations I wanted to add the opening of a vortex similar to the one used by the GD clockwise to create a symbolic circuit, the number of revolutions is related to the number of the planet. I also add a small invocation of the GD to the Angels to keep evil and imbalance away Then I close the vortex.The overall power of the rite increases greatly.Of course I use the operant field,This allows to explore many operations ¡¡¡Something can always be added

Scott Stenwick said...

Question - who is Nick?

I can see where doing a number of deosil circumambulations corresponding to the number of the planet would be effective. Working those numbers in for additional resonance usually helps. Another thing that I sometimes do when performing these operations is vibrating the name of the angel the appropriate number of times instead of just once in the conjuration step.

Am I understanding you, though, that you close the vortex before commencing with the conjuration and such? Or do you close it after the license to depart?

javier said...

hi Scott

I meant scott upsssss I was wrong

javier said...

Hi again Scott ¡¡

I name the entities with their sigils, then I open the vortex I declare the intentions of the rite release to the entities now I close the vortex finally here would do the cabalistic cross or rmdp y I close the Temple,This allows us to explore magical potentials

Scott Stenwick said...

Okay, I wanted to make sure I understood what you were saying there. I definitely could see that method working well, as far as the circumambulations/vortex stuff goes. I haven't tried that myself, but I'll give it a shot one of these days and see if I get similar results to yours.

Experimentation. Always a good thing!

Alex Scaraoschi said...

Sorry to bother you with this, but I've asked around and so far I haven't received any answer. Not even from the Solomoniacs :)

Could you help me transliterate Siket into Hebrew? Greek Hermeticism associates this spirit with the third decan of Aries and I'm interested in working with that decan for personal endeavors. I could just call on the two Shem angels associated with the decan, but for some reason I'm more inclined to call on this spirit.

So I'm thinking Samekh-Yod-Kaph-Tet, although I'm not sure if I should add an Aleph between Kaph and Tet.

Thank you!

Scott Stenwick said...

To transliterate by sound, it looks like the 777 renditions do add Aleph after Kaph when dealing with a short-e vowel sound. But really you should check the gematria.

Samekh-Yod-Kaph-Tet = 60 + 10 + 20 + 9 = 99
Samekh-Yod-Kaph-Aleph-Tet = 60 + 10 + 20 + 1 + 9 = 100.

99 factors to 3 x 3 x 11.
100 factors to 2 x 2 x 5 x 5.

I probably would go with 100, since 2 is Chockmah (sephira of the zodiac) and 5 is Mars, ruling Aries. Whereas if this angel ruled a decan of Capricorn or Aquarius I would go with 99, since 3 is Saturn (and the 11 could reduce to by standard numerology addition).

You could consult other sources too, though, and see if 99 has some association that is closer to Aries than 100 does.

Alex Scaraoschi said...

I understand your rationale and it makes sense. I just checked Sepher Sephirot and Abode of Geburah is associated with 99, among other things. I cannot see any possible associations with Mars or Aries from what is written for 100. I will continue searching for possible additional information, but I don't think I will come up with much more since so far I have found very little of Siket and the other spirits of the decans mentioned in those sources. Nevertheless, thank you for your help!