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Satyr

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Ceremonial Magic 101
« on: June 16, 2019, 06:20:27 PM »
For the purposes of this thread, I will assume everyone participating has a working familiarity with the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram - LRP - and has read Liber O (The Equinox, Vol I, No II; Magick in Theory and Practice, Appendix VII; and elsewhere).

The LRP has about as many variations as there are people who practice it, but the overall structure remains largely the same. My preferred form is a variation on the one found in Bill Heidrick's Magick and Qabalah #1, which is available online should anyone be interested. I remain stationary in the center of my space, turning on my axis to face each quarter in turn, and I vibrate the expansion of AGLA in full as I draw the pentagram of the north, before vibrating AGLA as usual.

That is only one way of doing it. Bill was just the first person I saw perform the LRP, and he also happened to have some influence over my circle of friends and colleagues. His version stuck with me.

If anyone wishes to pause here, and discuss the LRP in more depth before proceeding, that is fine too.

One text I should certainly like to explore in the course of this thread is Ceremonial Magic: A Guide to the Mechanisms of Ritual, by Israel Regardie (1980). I had little difficulty finding a PDF online. Should anyone have trouble finding one, do speak up. I shall probably be introducing supporting texts and readings as we go, but hopefully not too many.

And of course, if anyone has questions, comments, or criticisms concerning the topics immediately under discussion, or concerning ceremonial work more generally, again do speak up.

Shaula

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2019, 09:11:47 PM »
I picked up a lot of bad habits re: the pentagram rituals from DMK. This would be a good chance to unlearn them. Do you do the Thelemic banishment found here?https://hermetic.com/heidrick/mq/14

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2019, 11:50:48 PM »
Do you do the Thelemic banishment found here?https://hermetic.com/heidrick/mq/14

More-or-less, yes, Geburah first, and modified as above. I haven't used Aiwass for a while. Thanks. That is the article I had in mind.

Crayola.880

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2019, 08:22:22 AM »
DMK.

DMK was my intro to ceremonial style magic originally, though I sold Modern Magick when I picked up the black brick and re-learned using that version,  though I held onto DMK's blue gasjet visualizations for the lesser pentagrams until last year.

I have a few different styles of visualization I have used regarding archangels that are efficacious, depending on what the general mood is. I used to get hung up a lot on details like this until I kind of got a real feel for it through repetition and experimentation and found , personally, that it's actually pretty similar to learning to play a guitar or some other musical instrument.  There are fundamentals that make it work,  but once you get that down you can alter the tone and attack as you see fit, as long as it evokes an appropriate response from the "audience" and doesn't deviate from the actual song you're trying to play.  Learning to approach these basic ceremonial rituals like that and actually putting my self into them has really helped me gain a more intimate connection with them and more profound response.

After looking over Modern Magick again recently, i was amazed how much fluffy stuff he added to the LRP that i forgot about.  such as implying you can't do it without an altar setup, that special magical clothes are required, and that a candlelit dungeon would be more effective than broad daylight somehow.

This bit from the QBL cross I particularly dislike:
Know that this is only a tiny bit of the light from this source, and if you saw the full brightness of this light you would immediately be blinded and quite possibly go insane.  
Implanting the suggestion of possible blindness and insanity into a learner is counterproductive, though I understand what he's trying to convey. 

Thinking back on it, I remember how dismayed I was with the amount of stuff he foists upon the reader with just a simple LRP, it was actually discouraging even though it seemed really fucking neat at the time.  I think that DMK tried to sort of sex-up the ritual work uneccesarily and impress his own personal embellishments upon potential students, when there's already fairly deep mystery to be explored purely by diligent and regular application of the basics.  Fundamentals First makes fertile ground for future dynamics.  I had never read Heidrick's version until tonight, but I really appreciate how much emphasis he put on that  at the end, as well as dropping some names so the student knows where to look to see some different presentations. 

That's my 93 cents on it.



Surgo

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2019, 02:11:03 PM »
Well, this thread just begs for that pentagram conversation...

So let's start with that, shall we?

Dirge here speaks of the attributions of the planets and the pentagram: https://hermetic.com/jones/planetary-attributions/the-elements-and-the-pentagram

And here on the unihex: https://hermetic.com/jones/on-the-formulae-of-the-unicursal-hexagram

The distinction between active and passive spirit, to me, having NOT been involved with the Enochian Tables, but only the Aethyrs, is rather arbitrary. I can understand the equilibrium of two elements with a trait similarity, but equating that with Spirit (as Crowley perpetuates in Liber O) seems to be a rather skewed perspective.

Now, given that the elements can easily be arranged in the way of polarities (dry, wet, hot, cold), we have two main axes:

Fire - Water
Air - Earth

But we need to account for spirit too. Given that Malkuth is the Jewel upon Binah's Crown, it makes sense (to me) that we can also find a polarity between Earth and Spirit.

Given what we know about the Unihex, and the invoking/ banishing forms of the pentagram (https://hermetic.com/crowley/libers/lib6), we can observe that:

The Invoking Pentagrams rely on the First Movement being to the desired invoked element:
- Spirit -> Fire (Fire invocation)
- Air -> Water (water invoked)
- Water -> Air (Air invoked)
- Spirit -> Earth (Earth invoked)

One thing that stands out is that the invoking pentagrams of Air and Earth (those being below-the-Abyss elements), is counter-clockwise, while the invoking pentagrams of Fire and Water are clockwise.

This, to me, is a glaring inconsistency (on the lower levels - I can see why one would do things that way past the Abyss... but at the same time, we know that the ritual likely wasn't written by an M.T. - that means that rectifications might well be in order.

There is also another issue that requires addressing. That is particularly visible with the Water and Air pentagrams, and perpetuated by the Fire and Earth pentagrams. Notice that Water and Air are polar opposites, as are Fire and Earth.

Why is the Water banishing pentagram the same as the invoking pentagram of Air?
Why is the Air banishing pentagram the same as the invoking pentagram of Water?

Why is the Fire banishing pentagram just one step displaced (by necessity, given that there's no direct line) from the invoking pentagram of Earth?
Why is the Earth banishing pentagram just one step away from the invoking pentagram of Fire?

To me, this is clear evidence that in the case of the pentagram, we're looking at a core concept, one that I haven't seen talked about at all.

And it's key to my understanding of the LBRP.

Because here's the dealio. Since there's a fifth point, and we know all the above, the simple, easy, and elegant way to reconcile all these ideas is to place Spirit at the top point.

This then means that banishing Earth, doesn't really banish Earth - it invokes Spirit (or in other words, balances everything out perfectly).
By invoking Earth, we make that element manifest from Spirit.
By banishing Fire, we invoke Spirit (again, balancing things out in perfect equilibrium).
By invoking Fire, we shift the balance of the space we're working in from equilibrium towards that element.

Given the nature of the LBRP, it only makes sense to me that one wouldn't want to literally banish Earth and create an elemental void within that space (an argument I've had on numerous occasions), but rather to balance things out perfectly and invite the Names, Forms and Angels into a balanced, clean place where they may dwell.

I.e. the banishing pentagram of Earth ain't that - it's an invocation of Spirit.

Now, my tinfoil hat seems to suggest that that was done intentionally (as was Crowley's fuckery with the kerubim/ names in XXV), but I'm not sure.

Oof. That took a while to type up. I hope it's complete enough to be comprehensible.

Also, side-note. What are the chances that the LBRP puts the Operator at the Black Cross? And if so, does this support the idea of NOT banishing Earth, but invoking Spirit (that being the balance of elements) instead?
Please treat any magic/ esoteric/ occult claims I make as doubtful, if not straight up lies.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2019, 05:47:08 PM »
I used to get hung up a lot on details like this until I kind of got a real feel for it through repetition and experimentation and found , personally, that it's actually pretty similar to learning to play a guitar or some other musical instrument.  There are fundamentals that make it work,  but once you get that down you can alter the tone and attack as you see fit, as long as it evokes an appropriate response from the "audience" and doesn't deviate from the actual song you're trying to play.  Learning to approach these basic ceremonial rituals like that and actually putting my self into them has really helped me gain a more intimate connection with them and more profound response.

This is an excellent point. Ritual magic is an art form.

My breakthrough realization was that ceremonial work is literally performance art. It's acting. Go watch a live stage performance. The actors' projection, their loss of self in their character, their breath control, their ability to gaze at nothing as if something were really there - this is what you are striving toward in the temple.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2019, 06:16:54 PM »
Well, this thread just begs for that pentagram conversation...

Much snipped, and with apologies.

The short answer is it's just a convention. As David points out, the attributions of the pentagram are probably after Dee, for multiple reasons. Crowley published what he learned in the Golden Dawn.

All such conventions are just a means of encoding intent. For the unicursal hexagram, David arbitrarily decides that an invoking hex passes Saturn in a clockwise direction. Why? Ultimately because you have to pick something and stick with it, not because there's a right answer.

I generally reserve the spirit pentagrams for the 2nd key and the four elemental names from the spirit tablet. I usually draw them averse, given the context. This is related to the black cross. The LRP is not.

Surgo

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 06:56:04 PM »
Interesting. Is this why they're averse also in Reguli?
Please treat any magic/ esoteric/ occult claims I make as doubtful, if not straight up lies.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2019, 08:18:12 PM »
Interesting. Is this why they're averse also in Reguli?

I don't think so. I don't know of any connection between them.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2019, 11:32:03 PM »
Conceptually, the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is an assertion of control, either positive or negative, over each of the four quarters of your universe. Because this is a somewhat audacious thing to do, we open and close this ceremony with an invocation of the divine light in the form of the Qabalistic Cross. Not only does this center ourselves and our activities under the guidance of our “Holy Guardian Angel”, these twin gestures mark our movement into, and out of, a particular ritual space.

This basic structure is very useful as we start constructing our own rituals. Most will begin with some sort of opening, before we get down to business, followed by the business itself, and then some sort of closing. In many cases the opening and closing will consist of the Lesser Banishing Ritual, especially when we are only working with one or more of the elements.

More complex rituals working with more complex forces will often be just expansions or elaborations of this simple idea. The opening might be expanded to include the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram, for example, or one might add lustrations and fumigations. It depends upon the circumstances, how elaborate an opening is either desired or required.

Then, when at last we're done with whatever business we had in mind, the LBRP offers a convenient way to bring closure to our ritual. This may be true even when we work with relatively benign forces or entities. It helps close the door on our magical activities before we return to the ordinary world. And in spiritual terms, we might say it sends away any stray entities we may have attracted by our activities.

Satyr

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2019, 06:18:14 PM »
We have seen how the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram - LBRP - may be used to open and close a ritual space, but have said nothing so far about the space itself.

As a general rule, and especially when we are just getting started in ritual work, the more we can do to distinguish our ritual space from the ordinary world, the better. Ideally, we have access to a dedicated temple or oratory, a room set aside exclusively for magical and mystical work. But not everyone has such luxuries, especially when just starting out.

In practice, most any room will do so long as you have a reasonable degree of privacy. The minimum size depends on what you have in mind. We can stand in place while banishing, for example, requiring only enough room to perform the “Sign of the Enterer” - and even that gesture may be minimized.

If furniture in the room seems distracting to you, consider putting a bed sheet, or canvas, over the offending piece. An altar might be improvised, should you require one, using a small table with a cloth spread over it, or even a box of convenient size, so long as it provides steady support. I have often used wine crates, with a square of black silk thrown over them.

Some have access to a secluded area outdoors, and these offer excellent ritual spaces, if one is unlikely to be disturbed. One of my favorite spots is under a huge sycamore tree on a farm not far from here.

The important point is that the physical aspect of creating a ritual space is often easier than we might otherwise think. It may require a little ingenuity and imagination, but it does not have to be terribly difficult or expensive. What matters most is that you have made a best effort under the circumstances to separate your ritual space from the everyday world, however subtly.

Crayola.880

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2019, 10:05:03 PM »
With regard to improvising, there's an example i like in "Crystal vision through crystal gazing" from Fr. Achad's record.  His operation was more involved, but I think it demonstrates making a best effort allowed by constraints of space, materials and safety.

"March 24th, 1914. 9:40 to 10:50 P. M.

"During the day I prepared a Circle of Orange, about 5 ft. in diameter (the
largest I could make in the little room I am using) and within it, an eight-pointed star of
yellow. Within that again an Octagon. A Red upright Tau in the centre, and eight small
red pentagrams at the points of the star to represent lights; for there was no room to use
them with safety. The whole was very crude, but the best I could do with the materials
at hand."

also

that pentagram conversation...
I've been thinking a little about your point regarding pentagram construction (banish water = invoking air for instance).  To me it looks like a simple convention that just works, though I use color visualization with my greater pentagrams and as i was thinking about this exact thing mid-ritual one day my color visualization seemed to just steamroll over any question regarding directional construction.  To me it's KIND OF like if you have a bathroom with two doors connecting two rooms in a house, you can go through the bathroom to get to the laundry room without specifically going to the bathroom

Maybe an  effective analogy regarding my approach to it might be dimensional tolerances in a manufacturing setting.  For instance, if you're trimming cardstock then staying within 1/32" of the guide marks is acceptable, but if you try cutting and grinding a gage block at that tolerance you're fucking fired. LIKEWISE, taking the time and effort needed to cut said cardstock within .25μm of nominal dimension is massive overkill and contributing to waste.

for my present applications, pentagram rituals are more in line with semi-precision manufacturing at the 1/32" level.  As my symbol set continues to grow and my applications become more complex, I am sure that this will change.  The very fine particulars of the Pentagram rituals are something I would definitely like to revisit in detail in the future to see what the differences will be.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 10:07:21 PM by Crayola.880 »

Surgo

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2019, 10:25:47 PM »
While I agree with the general ideas about the LBRP/ pentagram rituals in general, I tend to always aim at the highest degree of simplicity I possibly can achieve.

So I try to avoid adding colors, avoid strong visualization or complexity to anything I do. The more simple I can make things, the better, at least in my mind. It's also the reason why I broke down XXV into 40 pages of step by step analysis. By breaking things down, I have come to simplify it in my mind, and while performing each step, I have a very clear idea of what I am doing, and how that plays into the whole.

That's also the reason for my claim that Resh, Ruby and Reguli are parts of one, ever-ongoing ritual.

I kinda want to put some time in and break Reguli down... however I don't think I'm up for another few years of doing this properly.

Perhaps in the future.

And no, I would tend to be skeptical of those "there's a tolerance" claims. Largely because we're working with very simple, very direct symbols where there really is no tolerance to speak of.

Fire is fire, water is water, air is air, etc.

I like to think of it more in terms of vector expressions; the first movement is what sets the direction, and the remainder of the pentagram is the rest of the elements unfolding from that; which MIGHT also be relevant to the sub-quadrants of each elemental tablet, if my reading of them is correct. Or I'm just thinking far too deeply about this.
Please treat any magic/ esoteric/ occult claims I make as doubtful, if not straight up lies.

Crayola.880

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2019, 11:58:04 PM »
My bit on tolerances was more specificially regarding overthinking the symbolism involved.  If I applied your approach myself, I might end up getting nothing done while puzzling out finer details, which is very similar to situations i've encountered in manufacturing environments where I've let my tendency toward perfectionism interfere with meeting production goals.  Not to say it's an improper approach by any means, but that we engage things differently.  When I have more to bring to the table, I would really like to revisit some of your points in discussion.

Surgo

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Re: Ceremonial Magic 101
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2019, 07:38:04 AM »
See, what you consider 'finer details' is at least in my mind already set and explained by these core ideas. As I demonstrated, this (actually marginal) change to understanding the Pentagram is literally the only thing necessary to bring everything else into alignment.

Just like switching out the vocalizations in XXV, it brings things together into perfect harmony.
Please treat any magic/ esoteric/ occult claims I make as doubtful, if not straight up lies.