Monday, February 27, 2017

The Zodiacal Work - Virgo

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

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 moving on to the sign Virgo. In Liber 777, Virgo is attributed to the powers of "Invisibility, Parthenogenesis, Initiation." Aleister Crowley famously experimented with the power of invisibility, writing in his magical diary that he could walk around the city dressed in outrageous costumes and the like and nobody would notice him if his invisibility spell was working. A number of modern authors have pointed out that maybe nobody interacted with him, but the people he encountered were probably just rolling their eyes at this weird guy walking around who thought nobody could see him.

The way invisibility spells work in real life is by directing the attention of others away from you. They won't turn you transparent or fool a security camera. They can be quite useful, though. I have been able to use invisibility spells to walk right past people I know on the street without them recognizing me, for example. They work even better with strangers, if you are going about your business and don't want to be bothered. But of course, dressing in ridiculous attire or doing anything to draw attention to yourself undermines the attention shift caused by the spell and will usually make it fail.

The power of Parthenogenesis can be used to create artificial spirits, which are generally called "servitors" in chaos magick and "telesmas" in Golden Dawn - influenced traditions. Contrary to what some chaos magicians believe, concentrated attention alone does not automatically create actual macrocosmic spirits. For example, people are not constantly creating spirits when they watch popular television programs or read books. The process of creation instead has to be deliberate and focused, and the conjured form must be endowed with coherence - consistency and self-referentiality - in order to truly come "alive."

Initiation can come in many forms, so this power could be applicable to a wide variety of mystical operations intended to align yourself with particular spiritual powers and/or induce mystical realizations. This will be discussed in greater detail when I move on to the Path of Initiation, a series that will follow the current series of zodiacal operations.

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 Virgo, the four scales of color are Yellowish Green, Slate Grey, Green Grey, and sh Amber. For ceremonial forms, you use the King scale, which is Yellowish Green. Its complement is crimson. All four scales should be used to construct the sigil of the angel.

The sigil should be traced onto the Kamea of Mercury, as Mercury is the ruler of Virgo. Along with the sigil itself, you can also trace the character of Virgo on the Kamea. The Angel of Virgo is Hamaliel, spelled Heh-Mem-Lamed-Yod-Aleph-Lamed. This yields 5, 40, 30, 10, 1, 30. The final figure should look something like this:

From Liber 777, incense appropriate to Virgo is Narcissus. The associated plants are snowdrop, lily, narcissus, and mistletoe. The associated metal is mercury (quicksilver) or any alloy such as brass, and the associated precious stone is peridot.

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 peridot or brass 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.

The god-name for the path of Virgo is the sixth permutation of Tetragrammaton, HHVY. Some schools teach that as the name of God is ineffable, it should be spelled out by letter (Heh-Heh-Vav-Yod). However, in practice that does not work nearly as well as pronouncing the name as a word. The pronunciation of this permutation would be something like "Heh-Vay."

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 it the practical zodiacal work as an extension of the macrocosm, so 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 a Virgo operation is on a Wednesday, during an hour of Mercury that falls during the night. This is because Mercury rules Virgo, and because the sign Virgo belongs to the Nocturnal sect. Since you are employing ceremonial forms to tune the space you could do it during a day hour of Mercury as well, but a night hour is most appropriate.

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 Victor for a Virgo operation is Mercury (Rulership and Exaltation). The Chart Victors to always avoid are Jupiter (Detriment) and Venus (Fall).

The other planets are essentially neutral, and will neither impede nor aid your operation, though if you can wait until the Chart Victor is Mercury 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 Virgo. The invoking hexagram of Virgo is traced by starting at the lower left point and tracing the upward triangle clockwise from that point, and then moving on to the upper right point and tracing the downward triangle clockwise from that point. Beginning in the east, go to each quarter in turn and perform the following actions.

  1. 1. Trace the Hexagram of Virgo in Yellowish Green while vibrating ARARITA (ah-rah-ree-tah).
  2. Trace the symbol of Virgo in the center of the hexagram in crimson while vibrating HHVY (Heh-Vay).
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 shadowy vista of Darkness, Thou cryptic Book of the fir-clad hills! Yea, as I search the key of Thy house I find my hope but as a rushlight sheltered in the hands of a little child.

2. O my God, Thou Mighty One, Thou Creator of all things, I renounce unto Thee the green fields of the valleys, and the satyr roses of the hills, and the nymph lilies of the meer; so that I may wander through the gardens of Thy Splendour, and be consumed in the unutterable joy of Thine everlasting rapture.

3. O Thou intoxicating Vision of Beauty, fair as ten jewelled virgins dancing about the hermit moon; I swear to Thee by the peridot flagons of spring, to quaff to the dregs Thy chalice of Glory, and beget a royal race before the Dawn flees from awakening Day.

4. O Thou Sovran Singer of the revelling winds, whose voice is as a vestal troop of Bacchanals awakened by the piping of a Pan-pipe. I know Thee! O Thou dancing flame of frenzied song, whose shouts, like unto golden swords of leaping fire, urge us onward to the wild slaughter of the Worlds.

5. O Glory be to Thee, O God my God; for I behold Thee in the lap of the fertile valleys: Thou hast adorned their strong limbs with a robe of poppied corn, so that they may laugh forth the Glory of Thy Name.

6. O Thou mighty God, make me as a fair virgin that is clad in the blue-bells of the fragrant hillside; I beseech Thee, O Thou great God! That I may ring out the melody of Thy voice, and be clothed in the pure light of Thy loveliness: O Thou God my God!

7. O Thou Odalisque of earth's palace, whose garments are scented and passionate as spring flowers in sunlit glades; roll me in the sweet perfume of Thy hair, so that Thy tresses of gold may anoint me with the honey of a million roses.

8. O Thou God of the Nothingness of All Things! Thou who art neither the moaning of a maiden; nor the electric touch of fire-thrilled youth: O Thou who art not found in the hardy kisses of love; nor in the tortured spasms of madness and of hate! I deny Thee by the powers of mine understanding; Weight me in the unity of Thy might, and roll me in the poised rapture 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 ambrosia-yielding rose of the World; Thou vaulted dome of effulgent light; Thou valley of venomous vipers: Yea, I rejoice in Thee, Thou dazzling robe of the soft rain-clouds; O Thou lion-voiced up-rearing of the goaded storm! I rejoice, yea, I shout with gladness! till my rapture, like unto a two-edged sword, traceth a sigil of fire and blasteth the banded sorcerers, in the Glory and Splendour of Thy Name.

10. O my God, teach me with patience and be merciful unto me, as I humble myself before Thee; for all my knowledge is but as the refuse of the chaff that is flung to the darkness of the void.

11. O woe unto me, my God, woe unto me; for all the aspirations of my heart ruin as in time of earthquake the bare hut of an hermit that he hath built for prayer. Yet from the lightning-struck tower of my reason do I enter Thy house that Thou didst build for me.

12. O what art Thou, O God my God, Thou almighty worker ungirded of slumber? O Thou Unicorn of the Stars! Thou tongue of flame burning above the firmament, as a lily that blossometh in the drear desert! O how can I pluck Thee from the dark bed of Thy birth, and revel like a wine-drenched faun in the banqueting-house of Thy Seigniory?

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 HAMALIEL, ruler of BETULAH, by the name of the True and Living God HHVY, 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 Virgo, and that they may attend to my behest. AMEN.

At this point, vibrate the name HAMALIEL repeatedly until the presence of the angel and spirits of Virgo are 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 Virgo as "Invisibility, Parthenogenesis, Initiation." For best results, your charge should fall within those areas. Otherwise, you may be asking for something outside Virgo's 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 HAMALIEL 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 HHVY, 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.

Note that this does not mean if at some point following the ritual you do a microcosmic banishing like an LBRP as, say, part of your daily practice the ritual will be dispelled. The effect of the ritual should stabilize within 15-20 minutes, after which you can do any microcosmic banishing you please.

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Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to ask someone who's done it before about invisibility. Can the spell be used to "cloak" a person from different people, while at the same time they'd remain the same to others?

Let's say I cast an invisibility spell on myself to become "invisible" to... the police. Is the effect of the spell going to be the same for say, family&friends and other people? I wouldn't want to get hit by a car while crossing the street on a marked crossing because a driver failed to notice me for some reason :)

I suspect I'd need a link to people for whom I want to become "invisible". Or not? I mean let's say you don't want to be noticed by an asshole boss (or a few bosses) at the office, but you still want to remain the same to all your coworkers.

Scott Stenwick said...

Sure, you can do that. You might not even need a special link or anything if you are conjuring the angel as shown here. Just build it into your charge and bind the effect to yourself (close with QC, not LBRP). That should get it done right there - but remember that it works by diverting attention. If, say, your evil boss is making a deliberate effort to look for you, the spell has to work a lot harder.

Anonymous said...

So basically if i cast the invisibility spell to ward me from Person1, P2 and P3 and anchor the spell to myself, it will activate only when those people are around me? Cool! :)

Scott Stenwick said...

Basically. It will be active all the time, but should only redirect the attention of those particular people.

Anonymous said...

That's great! Thank you! :D