Monday, April 24, 2017

The Path of Initiation - Earth

This article is Part One of a series.

Working with the Earth element is the first step on the path of initiation into the mysteries of Western Esotericism. On the Kircher Tree of Life, the mystical aspects of all four elements correspond to the tenth sephira, Malkuth, which represents the material world. The elements have both microcosmic (psychological) and macrocosmic (physical) components, and as with practical magick, aligning those components is the key to experiencing effective illumination and visionary work. Hence, I use the operant field in these rites just like I do for practical workings.

"Effective" is harder to define with rites of illumination than it is with practical magick. Practical magick is relatively simple to assess - you perform an operation with a specific objective, and then record whether it succeeds or fails. Effective visionary work should obtain information from the exterior world that you could not possible know by any other means, and effective illumination work should transform you in a positive way, increasing your degree of realization and in some real sense making you a "better person."

This process can be highly subjective, and failed initiatory operations often go unrecognized. I am of the opinion that a lot of the nonsense out there from certain allegedly "advanced" magical practitioners can be traced back to these sorts of initiatory failures, and this is a problem that has been acknowledged for a long time in the tradition. To avoid this, you always need to be skeptical about any apparent attainment.

Always test spirits. Always keep track of any changes you observe following illuminating and visionary experiences, and do your best to see if the changes you are seeing from your work are going in a positive direction. Stories of magicians "going insane" from failed operations are highly exaggerated - most often, nothing happens, and the danger lies in being convinced that something did happen and then acting from that perspective.

I have been very clear in my practical magick series that magick is more than just psychology. However, since your first and most important magical tool is your mind, it is with psychology that you should begin. This is not to say that I necessarily agree with Israel Regardie's contention that all aspiring magicians should start by getting years of psychotherapy. Much psychotherapy is quite frankly not that useful to mentally healthy individuals.

On the other hand, it also is true that mental illness afflicts about a quarter of the population in one form or another, and if you do suffer from such issues therapy can be useful in some cases. You will want to find a therapist who is up on modern, scientifically valid methods like cognitive-behavioral therapy, since most of the psychoanalytic methods have not been shown to work under controlled scientific conditions.

Going forward with magical practice, especially advanced magical practice, without dealing with an underlying mental illness should be avoided. Even meditation can make depression worse in some cases, for example. On the other hand, meditation also reduces stress, which can be a trigger for mental illness. So you need to strike a balance if you suffer from such conditions. In my opinion, you should get any such issues stabilized before you go forward with magical work.

What this means is that you should get the treatment you need, and you should be reasonable sure that it is working before you proceed with working magick. Do not expect magick to "fix" your mental illness and eschew treatment for that reason. Just like with "faith healing," magick can make the treatment you are getting work better, but it is no substitute. Magick can have a profound effect on mental illness once you're an advanced practitioner, but untreated mental illness usually will prevent you from ever getting there.

Magical or esoteric psychology can be modeled in a number of different ways. Over the years, though, I have assembled a basic model of the mind that maps well to the Tree of Life and other symbol sets in the Western Esoteric tradition. The model looks like this, and as you can see, the pattern matches the "lower" sephiroth on the Tree of Life.

In this arrangement, the Thinking System and Feeling System are what we call the "conscious mind." From moment to moment, we are always aware of what we are thinking or what we are feeling. However, we may or may not willing to communicate those thoughts and feelings to others. As I see it, "repression" is a social rather than a cognitive mechanism. If you were unaware of "repressed material," its existence would cause no cognitive stress. The stress it causes is precisely because you are expending energy to police your communication, much like the stress of keeping a secret.

The Conditioning System and Sensory-Motor Apparatus are what we call the "unconscious." We are not normally aware of the activity of these systems unless our conscious mind receives an "interrupt" from it, in the form of a physiological reaction or knee-jerk conditioned response. It should be understood, though, that the "unconscious" is not a "mind." It does no "thinking" or "feeling" as we normally frame it. Rather, it is essentially mechanical in nature. Conditioning and physiological reactions operate by a handful of rules and can easily be simulated on a computer, unlike thoughts and emotions.

In terms of psychological aspects, the elements correspond to these systems in my arrangement as follows:

Sensory-Motor Apparatus - Malkuth (10) - Earth.
Conditioning System - Yesod (9) - Moon/Water.
Thinking System - Hod (8) - Mercury/Air.
Feeling System - Netzach (7) - Venus/Fire.

Note that this has one change from the traditional arrangement - I map Yesod to Water and Hod to Air. Traditionally, these are the other way around, and while I have seen explanations of why it should be that way, it has never made sense to me that the Moon - which rules the cardinal Water sign Cancer - should map to Air and that Mercury, which rules the mutable Air sign Gemini and the mutable Earth sign Virgo - should map to Water.

Furthermore, my magical working group experimented with invoking the elements in both Earth-Air-Water-Fire and Earth-Water-Air-Fire orders, and the latter clearly produced superior results. many magicians report that when working with the former order, Earth and Air go smoothly and then Water falls apart. This is exactly what we observed as well. On the other hand, with the latter order the progression is smooth all the way up.

And if you think about in terms of how the physical world is put together, it makes sense. Earth is fully capable of supporting Air because Earth is more dense. But Air has no capacity to support Water, as it is less dense. Invoking the elements in the order of density results in a cleaner "ascension" simply because of the inherent properties of the elements themselves.

And let me be clear here - trials and tribulations, by themselves, are not hallmarks of initiation or illumination. Initiatory work can create conflict in your life, but generally those conflicts come from purging things that are out of harmony with your essential inner nature. There is no value or virtue in pursuing magick along a more difficult path. Working smart to get the most "bang for your buck" is not a sign of laziness, but rather a sign of intelligence.

So my opinion is that if your practice is doing little more than causing trouble in your life, you're doing it wrong. As an example, I heard a rumor - and to be clear, I don't know if this is true or not - that before he passed away, occult author Joseph Lisiewski wanted to figure out time travel so that he could go back in time and warn his younger self never to get involved in magick because of all the trouble it had caused him.

My question, if this is really the case, is why anyone would ever be interested in studying Lisiewski's methods. As I see it, anybody who views their practice this way has seriously screwed up somewhere. Making yourself suffer isn't virtuous, it's just dumb. The just-world fallacy sometimes pushes us to think otherwise, but this is a cognitive error that needs to be stamped out whenever you recognize it if you really want to make progress as a magician.

In psychodynamic terms, these systems can also be mapped to the "Ego Function" model proposed by Carl Jung as follows:

Thinking System - Thinking.
Feeling System - Feeling.
Sensory-Motor Apparatus - Sensing.
Conditioning System - Intuition*.

Jung defined the Thinking and Feeling functions along relatively conventional lines, as a personality orientation towards thought or towards emotion. the Intuition and Sensation functions require a little more explanation. The Intuition function recognizes patterns first and details second, filling in all the blanks, while the Sensing function does the opposite, building up patterns from a collection of details.

The asterisk there on the Intuition function is because I'm convinced that the Intuition function has two forms. The first, or "lower" form, relies on conditioning loops to recognize patterns based on previous experience. The second, or "higher" form, can be thought of as "insight-wisdom." Both are irrational, in that neither spring from conventional thinking processes. However, they are very different in one key way. I put higher and lower in quotes there because spirituality should be embodied, so there should be no implied hierarchy there. However, they do match "up" and "down" on the Tree of Life, so I use the terms in that context.

Much of Ken Wilber's writing addresses something that he calls the "pre/trans fallacy." This is the observation that since pre-rational cognitive processes and trans-rational cognitive processes are both irrational, it is easy to mistake one for the other. It is my contention that pre-rational Intuition is based on conditioning, while trans-rational Intuition is based on insight stemming from some degree of legitimate spiritual realization - that is, illumination. So Wilber's fallacy can be modeled along the lines of this single Jungian function.

Look through the magical community sometime and see how many supposedly "advanced" practitioners have all kinds of realizations that seem to simply confirm their pre-conceived notions, or fit some pattern that they worked out in advance of asking spirits about it and the like. I try to do as much experimentation to test my ideas as I can, but I'll bet if you look close you can find a few posts on here where I do it, too. When I get one of those, I try to subject whatever I receive to greater scrutiny, but that's the best we can do at this point.

Now you might think that all this would mean Sensing types would be better magicians than Intuitive types, since operating along strict empirical lines should be less dominated by conditioned responses in the early stages of the path. However, I find that the opposite tends to be more true. One possible explanation is that Sensing types don't make much use of their Intuition functions, so the function is underdeveloped and not very discerning. On the other hand, it could also point to a basic flaw in Jung's ego function model. If you're curious, I would recommend reading up the subject and deciding for yourself.

As I've pointed out a number of times here on this blog, the psychodynamic models have for the most part been surpassed by more modern models of mental processes drawn from cognitive science and neuroscience. I still personally find the ego function model useful, but the Jungian model as a whole suffers serious damage from the loss of the "unconscious mind" as an explanatory mechanism. Jung's "complex" model simply collapses the three cognitive systems together into single "objects" at all levels, which leads to some dubious conclusions.

So that's a bit of a digression there that relates to the entire elemental portion of the path of initiation and illumination. Today, I'll be focusing on the element Earth. The Earth element corresponds to the solid state of matter, and in the ancient Greek system of the elements is related to union of the Cool and Dry powers. The Cool power unifies and the Hot power separates. The Dry power reinforces structure, and the Moist power breaks it down. So the fundamental nature of Earth is unifying and structured. A more detailed overview of the four classical powers can be found here, and that article includes a link to John Opsopaus' Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements, which is where I was first exposed to the system.

In psychology, Earth maps to the Sensing function. It also maps to the physical body and the material world as a whole. In one sense, Earth contains all the other elements - even Air, which is technically its opposite in the Greek system. Practical work with Earth should include cultivating positive relationships with your physical body, health, and finances. Regarding the latter, some schools of magick teach or at least imply a negative relationship to money as "of the world" and therefore inferior to spiritual concerns. Personally, I think this is ridiculous.

The fact is that you can be as spiritual as you want, but you're not going to be getting much work done if you're starving to death or don't have a reliable roof over your head. The image of the destitute magician is practically a cliche, and let me tell you, if you have a decent job that pays the bills you will be in a much better position to practice. Furthermore, you shouldn't feel like time spent at your job detracts from your spiritual practice. The resources that your job generates support that practice, and should be recognized as such.

That being said, if you do find yourself truly destitute or in a job you hate, there's no reason that you shouldn't use magick to improve your situation. My rite of Elemental Earth is perfect for a beginning magician who wants to do just that. Go ahead and use it, and don't worry about your intent "not being spiritual enough." If you have to spend all your time worrying about money, you're not going to be very spiritual no matter what. You will also find that it uses the same ceremonial forms as the more mystical rites of illumination you will find below.

Whether you're taking up practical magick right away or pursuing the initiatory path right away, my basic recommendations are pretty much the same. First, take up a daily magical practice, which I discuss here and here. Meditation is important as well, especially for any form of mystical work.

In at least one of those older articles I talk about keeping meditation and ceremonial work separate. That's a precaution that I no longer think is necessary. Instead, you can do a single practice session that includes both. Go through your entire ceremonial practice sequence, sit and meditate for about twenty minutes, and then seal your practice with a concluding Qabalistic Cross. It works just fine that way. The whole thing will take you maybe half an hour a day, not even as long as watching a regular television program.

And let me caution you about extending your practice - and particularly your meditation - much beyond that. Pushing yourself to meditate for hours a day will probably not make your progress much faster, and I find that students who try to do this against my advice inevitably burn out and quit practicing. Persistence and determination should be your watchwords here. Spending half an hour on this, every day, will prove much more beneficial than spending three or four hours on one day and then being too tired to do anything else for the rest of the week.

Keep a magical journal, especially at the beginning of your studies. Note your state of mind along with the date and time you start your practice each day, and note anything unusual that comes up while you are doing the work. You can also write down anything noteworthy that happened during the day. It doesn't have to be especially detailed, but you want to have enough information to track your progress along with the astrological landscape and an overview of what is happening in your life from day to day.

And I realize this may sound like a lot - but it really isn't. Add fifteen minutes of journaling to your half-hour practice, and it really only takes about as much time as watching a regular television episode. In fact, you don't want your magical work to consume your life. That can create all sorts of problems, from lack of attention to your material situation and physical health to complete burnout. Even if you love doing the work, try to discipline yourself to under an hour a day, total. You can avoid a whole lot of headaches that way.

The initiatory path of illumination for each element involves two basic operations - a "Rite of Approach" and an "Elixir Rite." The Rite of Approach opens a portal into the elemental realm, and then employs the same methods I lay out in my simple pathworking ritual to explore what lies beyond the portal and interact with the Elemental King. The primary function of this to develop a working relationship with the King and the spirits of the Earth domain. When interacting with the King, feel free to ask for initiation corresponding to the powers and properties of Earth.

You should recognize the core of the Elixir Rite right away, as it is similar to what we do during the Aries Elixir Rite that I posted last week. The Elixir Rite is a eucharistic ritual that involves the charging of wine (or juice, if you can't drink alcohol) with the power of the element and then consuming it. This may or may not include a specific statement of intent. The function of the eucharist is to spiritually charge a material substance and then consume it, in order to take into your physical body the essence of magick itself.

The opening for the initiatory rites of Earth is the same as for my previous Evocation of the King. For these rituals, you don't necessarily need to create the sigil of the King, but if you want you can refer back to that ritual. The reason that for the Rite of Approach, we will be seeking out the King in his own realm, and for the Elixir Rite he is being called upon to assist in the creation of the Elixir, not to fully manifest within the Table of Art.

Note that Ghob is described here as a "King" and "him," even though the image above is clearly a Queen. This is deliberate subversion on my part. According to the original medieval system, these elemental rulers are all male Kings. According to some other traditions, the passive or receptive elements (Earth and Water) have Queens and the active elements (Air and Fire) have Kings. The truth, though, is that they're all spirits and they can take on any human form they want, male or female. So if you feel more like calling upon "Queen Ghob," go for it. You'll get the same spirit either way.

0. The Temple

There are a number of different ways to arrange the temple for an operation such as this. What we do is place an altar in the center with the banishing dagger and invoking wand. Also on the altar is a containment structure such as the Sigillum Dei Aemeth or the Trithemian Table of Art. The diagram depicting the character and sigil should be placed within this structure. A small container of some sort for offerings may also be placed on the Table of Art. For the Elixir Rite, the cup goes within the Table of Art and no other container for offerings is required (since some of the Elixir is given as the offering).

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.

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

1. Opening

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

2. Preliminary Invocation

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

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

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

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

3. Tuning the Space

Perform the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram for Earth. To each quarter in turn, beginning in the east and turning clockwise, perform the following actions:
  1. Trace the Invoking Pentagram of Passive Spirit in deep purple while vibrating AGLA.
  2. Make the Sign of Rending the Veil, as if parting a heavy curtain in front of you with both hands.
  3. Trace the Invoking Pentagram of Earth in green or black while vibrating ADNI (Adonai)
  4. Make the Sign of Earth, by taking a step forward and raising the right hand at and angle of 45 degrees to your body and dropping the left hand behind you at the same angle pointing downwards.
Once you have returned to face the east, read or recite the Elemental Prayer for Earth:

King invisible, who taking the earth as a support, didst furrow the abysses to fill them with Thine omnipotence; Thou whose name doth shake the vaults of the world, Thou who causest the seven metals to flow through the veins of the rock, monarch of the seven lights, rewarder of the subterranean toilers, lead us unto the desirable air, and to the realm of splendor.

We watch and we work unremittingly, we seek and we hope, by the twelve stones of the Holy City, by the hidden talismans, by the pole of lodestone, which passes through the center of the world! Expand our hearts, detach and elevate our minds, enlarge our entire being! O stability and motion! O day clothed with night! O darkness veiled by light! O master who never keepest back the wages of Thy laborers!

O silver whiteness! O golden splendor! O crown of living and melodious diamonds! Thou who wearest the heaven on Thy finger like a sapphire ring, Thou who concealest under the earth, in the stone kingdom, the marvelous seed of stars. Live, reign, be the eternal dispenser of the wealth which we all share! AMEN.

The space should now be tuned for the operation.

4A. The Rite of Approach

Begin with the conjuration of the King:

Oh Glorious and Mighty GHOB, You who command and rule over the spirits of ARETZ, Behold me, and in the name of the same your God ADONAI, Attend and Appear before me within this circle of art! Full powers and wonders of the Element of Earth do I rightly desire! Enlighten my understanding, encourage my heart, and manifest unto me now as I enter into and explore your spiritual realm.

At this point, vibrate the name GHOB repeatedly until the King and the spirits of elemental Earth are perceived within the Table of Art. 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.

Then sit down on a chair or cushion and read the Simple Pathworking Induction out loud. If you are able, it is helpful to record the induction so that you can listen to it and follow along with the corresponding visualizations. Or, if you are working with a group, each person can take a turn reading during a series of rites.

Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath. Feel it flowing in and out of your body at its own natural rhythm. Relax your abdomen and allow it to expand as you breathe in, and contract as you breathe out. Feel the breath flowing, allowing it to sink into your abdomen and deepen at its own pace.

Visualize your body from the outside. Around it you see a glowing field of colored light arranged in four distinct layers. Bring your attention to the innermost layer, a field of light tinted with the rich green of earth. This layer extends only an inch or so beyond the boundary of your skin. As you bring your attention to this layer, relax from the toes on up. Then take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my body is at peace.” As deep relaxation flows throughout your body, see the field of green light becoming still and receptive.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the blue of water that covers earth. This layer begins where the green layer ends and extends a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to your emotions and feelings. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my emotions are at peace.” As your emotions become calm and serene, see the field of blue light becoming still and reflective.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the yellow of air that covers water. This layer begins where the blue layer ends and extends yet a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to your thoughts. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my thoughts are at peace.” As your thoughts become calm and clear, see the field of yellow light becoming still and integrated.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the red of fire that burns at the heart of the sun. This layer begins where the yellow layer ends and extends yet a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to the sparks of will that give rise to your individual sense of being. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my will is at peace.” As your will becomes focused, see he field of red light becoming still and distinct.

Visualize your body and the aura that surrounds it. Allow any remaining tension, stress, or worry to drain away into the earth, and as you do, see the field of ethereal light that surrounds you becoming more vibrant and harmonious. Realize that you are now observing your body, emotions, thoughts, and will from outside, and that you are more than just these facets of your personality. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I am.” Then pay attention to your attention.

Now, begin to focus on your purpose in this temple. We are alone in the temple. The powers await just beyond our sensing. We will now bring these powers to life in our hall. Nothing awaits us or concerns us but the Great Work, which we shall now continue as we explore the realm of Ghob, the King of Earth.

Visualize an idealized form of yourself taking shape out of the light in front of your inner vision. See your astral double standing, facing you. Take some time to get the best image possible fixed in your mind. Once you have this Body of Light complete, look around the temple space from the viewpoint of your double and notice first that you are surrounded by a blank gray fog.

As the fog clears, you begin to make out the astral form of this temple around you. To the east you notice a portal take shape out of the mist. This could be a doorway, a large magick mirror, a window, or some other kind of opening large enough for you to enter. You pass through this portal, and find yourself in the realm of Ghob. Take note of all you experience here as you explore the landscape of Earth.

At this point, allow 10-15 minutes for meditation in the spirit vision, or longer if it be your will. Use a timer, to remove the temptation to keep looking at your clock, watch, or phone. When you are finished, the induction is concluded as follows.

It is now time to leave the realm of Earth. Take a few moments to finish your exploration here, and then turn back the way you came.

When you arrive at the portal, pass back through into the astral region of the temple. Stand in front of your physical body, turn around, and allow the Body of Light to merge back into your physical body. Retain all that has happened in vivid presence, while you quietly remain for awhile, with eyes still closed.

As you slowly merge back into the physical, be aware of your breath flowing, gently in and out of your body. Feel your eyes still gently closed and relaxed. Feel the movement of your abdomen as it moves away from your body as you inhale and back towards your body as you exhale. Finally, be aware of your body and the space that your body occupies.

Slowly bring your hands up to your face, cover your eyes with your hands and then gently open your eyes. Remove your hands slowly from your face, slowly look up and come back to the present space in circle.

Once you are back, stand and return to your place at the altar. Skip to Point 5 to close the rite.

4B. The Elixir Rite

Begin with the conjuration of the King:

Oh Glorious and Mighty GHOB, You who command and rule over the spirits of ARETZ, Behold me, and in the name of the same your God ADONAI, Attend and Appear before me within this circle of art! Full powers and wonders of the Element of Earth do I rightly desire! Enlighten my understanding, encourage my heart, and manifest unto me now as I partake of your spiritual realm.

At this point, vibrate the name GHOB repeatedly until the presence of the King and the spirits of elemental Earth is perceived within the Table of Art. 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. Then say:

O unifying and stablizing ADONAI. To thee we present this talisman of our magickal will! I ask thee, Oh Exalted One, to receive the body of this rite into the light of thy presence. As we proceed in making this Elixir of Earth, charging it with the creative energies of ARETZ, we shall achieve a true alchemical ferment, mighty in Yetzirah and vitalized by thy blessing. In partaking of this Mystery, let there be unto us vitality of soul, increase of sight, true gnosis, and complete manifestation of the wonders of thy Sphere!

Note that the plural used here is NOT a typo or carry-over from the other elixir ritual. Even if you are working on your own, Ghob will also be partaking of the elixir in the form of an offering at the end of the rite. So there will always be at least two of you present.

Make one clockwise circumambulation, visualizing a wall of green light whirling rapidly in the same direction about the circle. When finished, the wall of light is allowed to fade. Hold the cup at heart level and say:

Creature of Wine who art established in the Sphere of Earth: by the vital force of my breath I enliven thee to perfect this work of Holy Magick in the realm of ARETZ.

Then raise power, visualizing a continuous spiral of green light ascending from the ground at feet, whirling clockwise around body and ascending until it disappears above head. Hold this visualization, and vibrate the divine name once: ADONAI

The join or clasp hands and vibrate once more: ADONAI

Extend hands toward elixir cup. Visualize beams of green light emanating from both hands and entering into the cup. When the cup feels “full” end the visualization, folding hands on breast left over right. Finally, trace the symbol of Earth in a horizontal plane over the cup while vibrating once more: ADONAI

Make one more complete circumambulation of the circle. Battery: 1 (that is, knock on the altar table). Raise the cup and say:

Behold the Elixir of Earth! For all and for each it is prepared! Let each and all receive its magick virtue!

Drink and then visualize or speak any practical intent. The cup should not be entirely drained. When finished, Battery: 1. Indicate the cup, which should still contain some of the elixir. Say:

Glorious and Mighty Ghob, we make this offering unto you, that it may nourish and fortify you as you attend to your appointed tasks. Be the ferment of our spiritual alchemy mighty in the crucible of our souls! So mote it be!

The offering should be poured onto the ground outdoors following the rite, that the King and spirits of Earth may partake of it easily.

5. The License to Depart

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

7. Closing

The ritual should be closed with the Qabalistic Cross.

A couple of points: You will probably need to perform these rituals multiple times before you can consider yourself "initiated" into the element of Earth. Generally speaking, this is something that the King can bestow, but he won't necessarily do it the first time you ask. Or, maybe he will. It depends on his estimation of your state of awareness or realization. He may also give you specific instructions to follow in order to make yourself ready for the initiation. And they can always be performed afterwards, at any time, as rites of illumination.

Especially in the case of the Rite of Approach, be sure to write up a detailed journal entry including all that you experience. A voice recorder in the temple can be helpful for astral work of whatever kind so that you can describe what is going on as it happens. You may find trouble getting into the right mindspace to experience much the first time you do this and that's okay. Just use this trick: say to yourself "If I really was projecting into the astral, I would be seeing..."

You can test spirits you encounter by vibrating divine names at them. EHEIEH is a good general one, that dispels most false visions. You can also use the godname called upon in the ritual, ADONAI. If you meet a spirit claiming to be Ghob, vibrate his name at it. If it really is Ghob, the vision should intensify rather than weaken. Finally, obtain from the spirit a word of power, a number, or both.

After the ritual, go back and look those up in a resource like Sephir Sephiroth or Godwin's Cabalistic Encyclopedia to see if the number or the gematria of the word is appropriate to the element of Earth. If it is, you most likely found your way to the right place. On the other hand, if you can find no connection, it is advisable to perform the rite again at some point in the future, maybe after doing an Elixir Rite or two.

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Unknown said...

absolutely wonderful Scott ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

Scott Stenwick said...

Thanks! I am glad that you liked it. Over the next three Mondays I will be posting on the other three classical elements.

Unknown said...

I really appreciate your hard work on this site. I've been following the teachings of Crowley for the better part of a decade but haven't taken up the practice of magick. I gave decided it's time for initiation though as I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge concerning Qabalah, tarot, hermeticism, etc. I find your down-to-earth methods approachable tho thorough and look forward to utilizing what I have learned here. Thank you, brother. 93s!

Unknown said...

I JUST started doing your whole path of initiation series. Just finished this rite, the rite of approach that is. And it was... very interesting. But at the same time... I don't know how much of it was my mind and how much of it was communion with element earth. There were some wacky aspects during the induction... like a sort of Hobbit house, but with a girl using a computer inside.

The climax of it all was a small "audience" with Ghob in his castle (Which... wasnt exactly a castle... more like one big room haha), in which we chatted briefly. I asked for "Knowledge and wisdom" and he said "There's no such thing here, only Experience" which he then proceeded to "hand down to me"...

It was overall enjoyable, but it's hard to know how much was your mind and how much it was the actual elemental. I didn't get any number from him... I should have, i guess. How do you deal with such... doubts?

Many thanks and sorry for the big info dump

Scott Stenwick said...

The bottom line is that if you are not sure whether you "got it" or not, do the ritual again. Getting numbers is really helpful because it can help tell you where the information you got was coming from, so you should make a point of doing that next time.

Based on just this description I can't really say one way or the other, because everybody's experience is going to be filtered through their own perceptions whether it is valid or not. With the approach rites you are deliberately working with your active imagination faculty, so without a point of reference (like a number) it can be difficult to separate what you experience from your own thoughts.

Unknown said...

Makes sense. I was thinking of doing them all a couple of times anyway, since it wont hurt to do them more than one time. Gotta remember to ask for a number! hahaha

Many thanks!

RANeoph said...


For this initiation is allways needed the table art or can be done without notting,just the ritual?

Is it to dangerous in this case?

Many thanks for the info!


Scott Stenwick said...

No. You can just stand in the center of your temple or at your altar and call the forces into yourself, too. The Table of Art does help to focus and crystallize the entities that you are calling on, but generally speaking mystical operations of whatever sort can be done without it. It's more important for practical work.

RANeoph said...

Many thanks, as allways!

I just saw a black door, and couldn´t pass from it into another realm and got the number 47 ( 11 i understanded ) tried some more time etc but didn´t reach anything from just seing a black door...

What can you comment on it?my bad on astral projection, like holding and can´t reach it?


yuzuru said...

Hi, Scott
I notice that you use as the kings ghogh for earth, nichsa for water, etc.

But in the table of practice you use djinn, paymon etc, sometimes called princes or sometimes demon kings of the elements.

Why the mix and match? does´t it cause any problems or conflicts?

Scott Stenwick said...

With the Table of Practice here, the outer ring has the planetary celestials ("angels") and the inner ring has the four chthonic kings ("demons"). The threefold structure of the spirit world has celestial "above," chthonic "below," and the earthly/natural realm in between. Representing both the "upper" celestial pole and the "lower" chthonic pole allows the table to work in all three realms.

The elementals are earthly/natural spirits, so they will work with the version of the Table that has the archangels rather than the chthonic kings on the inner ring. The main limitation of the archangel version is that it doesn't work well for chthonics.

JehosephatJones said...

Question: in these elemental works, you suggest to call the elemental king. However, I wonder what your thoughts would be about calling the angel of earth, Phorlak, and so on through the 4 elements. I was thinking I might call Ghob for a period, then follow the chain of command so to speak, and call upon phorlak. One doesn't hear much about the angels of the elements. Do you have any experience to share about the angels of the elements?

It's a different sigil on the kamea, and the main thing you lose is Levi's invocation, I guess. But a standard "I call you by x and by x and by x, you whose realm is this, who made this to happen..." and so on would invoke. Is there any benefit to calling Ghob over Phorlak that i am not considering?


Scott Stenwick said...

You certainly could other elemental entities or additional elemental entities with the same ritual form. The structure would basically be the same, and you could still use Levi's prayers in that context. Their function is to tune the ritual space to the proper element.

Personally I haven't done a lot of work with Phorlak so I can't give you much advice there. My recommendation is pretty much what I usually say - if you're curious, try it and see. It's hard to work out some of these things ahead of time.

A big advantage might be if you don't get along that well with Ghob but really hit it off with Phorlak. A lot of that has to do with how your personality interacts with that of the spirit, so you really just need to try it out if you want to know for sure.

Joe said...

Hi Scott, I've been getting great use from all of your blogs on this site. I've only been practicing the LBRP and LBRH for a little over a year, but since finding your site back in december I've added in your full daily stack of LBRP, LIRH (stopped LBRH), MP, as well as the GIRP. I had not wanted to go the full route of practicing magick early on as I wasn't sure what it was all about, so I've gone without an alter and all of the implements to this point. But the results from just the daily practice have been encouraging and I'm ready to move forward. I've not been able to find a post yet on your site about this though so I thought I'd ask here since I'm going to start on the path of initiation. I'm a little unsure of how to begin with acquiring and preparing the needed tools. I've seen some people use store bought tools, others spend a great deal of time modifying or even creating their own. I'm the kind of person that can't draw or even write legibly, so the thought of trying to inscribe intricate symbols is a bit daunting. I'd appreciate any advise you have. Thanks!

Scott Stenwick said...

It is nice to make your own tools when you can, but it is not necessarily required. Personally I make them when I have the skill to do so, but I buy them when I don't. My craft skills aren't that great either.

Whether you make the tools yourself or not, you should go through a consecration ritual for it and that is what will make the tool "yours," whether you made it or not. You can use an Aries ritual for that, since Aries rules consecration in general.

Or you can use a ritual for the magical aspect with which the tool is associated - for example, Fire for a wand, Water for a cup, and so forth.

Alex Scaraoschi said...

@Joe I've also started out like you and came across Scott's site after an year of practice and it skyrocketed me faster and further on my magical path!

As far as tools are concerned, I've always used the index finger of my dominant hand and I've had no problem with that so far.

May you gain lots of knowledge and experience many successes along the way!

TyroneLove said...

Wonderful! I’ll start performing those rituals after a few days getting used to the GIRP of Malkuth in my dailies. Thank you so much for this.

TyroneLove said...

Regarding the step « visualize or speak any practical intent » in the Elixir ritual, does that mean we can use this operation for practical purposes as well as initiation ?

TyroneLove said...

Idk if you allow ritual reports here but I really want to share my delight and express my gratitude after performing the Elixir Rite.
At first I was a bit insecure and self-conscious as I could hear people outside, which didn’t help my focus. Then I started the prayer for Earth, with full booming voice, as I was home alone, and the feeling was literally awesome and brought me back in the moment.
After that I conjured Queen Ghob and started vibrating her name while looking into the mirror (a small makeup mirror placed at the center of a printed out Table of Art ; needless to say I was not expecting much). As I kept vibrating while fixated on the mirror, my body started rocking back-and-forth almost on its own and kept swinging that way more and more rapidly for a couple of minutes. At which point I decided to stop incantating.
It’s at that precise moment that I saw a shadow pass laterally on the surface of the mirror and felt a huge energy rush through me. I got back up and addressed the queen, in that hyper state. I managed to more or less calm myself and went on completing the rite, which left me super hyped up.
After 3 months of daily LBRP-BRH-MP, I feel like I finally got a taste of what real magic is. And man, I’m so grateful for this. I’ll keep working with Earth and will follow the steps of your system, which I consider myself to have stumbled upon.
The daily tarot spread I did right after the ritual included The Fool, The Magician, The Ace of Pentacle and, I kid you not, in the position « resolution of my spirit issue », The Queen of Pentacles 😏

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, you can use the elixir rite here for practical intents just like the with the zodiacal elixirs. But for practical work I think you might want to take a look at this version instead:

I absolutely allow ritual reports here on Augoeides. Thanks for sharing that!

TyroneLove said...

On the other hand, I just did the Rite of approach and didn’t see nor feel anything. Ghob didn’t seem to answer my call and I think I really don’t get this pathworking thing. Couldn’t conjure up anything in my mind...

Scott Stenwick said...

It would be nice if magical operations worked all the time, but if they did they wouldn't be anywhere near as difficult to learn or to experiment with. Sometimes things don't work because of astrological conditions. Sometimes it's because the spirits don't feel like cooperating that particular day. And sometimes you just have trouble getting into the right mindset.