THE LESSER RITUAL OF
THE PENTAGRAM FOR
THE GRADE OF ZELATOR
Issued by the
of the Golden Dawn
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The Pentagram represents the operation of the four Elements and Spirit under the presidency of the divine name Yeheshuah. The four Elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth are represented by the divine name Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh, IHVH, the Tetragrammaton; but with the insertion of the letter Shin, which is the letter of Ruach Elohim or the Spirit of the Gods, the name becomes Yeheshuah or the Pentagrammaton. This name represents the operation of Spirit in the midst of the four Elements; it indicates a formula of supreme importance in the Art of Magick. For it is by the action of Spirit upon the four Elements that they are redeemed and transmuted into things divine.
There is a much employed Golden Dawn Ritual which utilizes the symbol of the Pentagram as a general means to banish and invoke elemental forces. This ritual is called the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. However, it should not simply be regarded as a mere device to invoke or banish, for it is really the Stone of the Wise and incorporates within its structure certain magical formulae which can assist in the initiatory process. It is, to all intents and purposes, a Ritual of Self-Initiation.
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram can be used to open and close any magical or mystical work, such as a ceremony or meditation; as a minor form of exorcism; or as an opening and closing for the day. In the latter case, you perform the Lesser Ritual of the Invoking Pentagram during Sunrise or upon awakening, and the Lesser Ritual of the Banishing Pentagram during Sunset or before going to sleep.
It is a suitable idea for the student to perform the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram at least twice a day. For it helps the Magician to develop around himself an Aura or Circle of Light; it purifies the Aura or Sphere of Sensation of all base elemental and astral influences which are chaotic in nature, and it consecrates and fortifies the Magician with the Divine Light. Of course, as the Magician advances to Adeptship, it will become less of a matter for him to perform the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram except during those times where it is necessary to the opening and closing of some magical or mystical working. It is always to be performed by the Magician at the beginning and end of every Ceremony.
Another important matter to consider is that the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is a good means to prepare oneself for Astral Projection. By its use you formulate around yourself an Astral Circle wherein you can perform your astral work with complete protection from astral influences which might otherwise be detrimental to your work; and by its symbolism you naturally tune into astral currents of a magical nature, thus preparing yourself for the work of projecting your Astral Body. The Light that is invoked in the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, as symbolized by Kether above the head, is that same Light that is used to fortify and crystallize the Body of Light.
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram can be used as a general means to invoke or banish any one of the four Elements. For example: To invoke or banish Earth, you simply use the invoking or banishing Earth Pentagram in all four quarters; to invoke or banish Air, you simply use the invoking or banishing Air Pentagram in all four quarters. The Divine Names remain the same throughout the ritual; you only change the type of Pentagram, depending on the element you are going to invoke or banish.
After performing the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram to invoke an Element, it is necessary to banish by way of the Pentagram, so that if you, for instance, invoked the Element of Fire, you would also, at the completion of your ceremony, perform a Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Fire Pentagram. You go through the same steps as in the invocation, but using instead the Banishing Pentagram of the Element.
When using the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, it must be understood by the Zelator that to invoke or banish is nothing more than a tuning in or tuning out. To invoke is to tune in; to banish is to tune out. We cannot really invoke or banish an elemental force; it is an intrinsic part of our nature; all we do is focus in or focus out of the elemental force which is just as much a part of our nature as the nose on our faces or the toes on our feet.
In the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram you invoke towards and banish from the point to which the Element is attributed on the Pentagram. This method, however, does not apply to the so-called Element of Spirit. The Pentagrams of Air are traced along the Air/Water axis; the Pentagrams of Fire are traced along the Fire/Spirit axis; the Pentagrams of Water are traced along the Water/Air Axis; and the Pentagrams of Earth are traced along the Earth/Spirit Axis. The student will need to consult Aleister Crowley's A.·. A.·. Publication in Class B, Liber O Vel Manus et Sagittae, Sub figura VI, for proper instructions and illustrations concerning the method of tracing the Elemental Pentagrams.
Whereas the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is used as a general means to invoke or banish any one of the four Elements, the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram is specifically employed to open an Elemental Ritual, or to invoke a particular Element for the consecration of an Elemental Weapon, or to invoke or banish Zodiacal forces, or to travel in the Spirit Vision. Whereas the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram strictly concerns itself with the four Elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram concerns itself, not only with the four Elements, but also with the so-called fifth Element of Spirit.
In the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is given to the Neophyte as a general means for him/her to invoke or banish the elemental forces of Nature, but by use of the Pentagram of Earth alone. It is given to the Zelator for the same purpose, but by use of all four Pentagrams of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. The Greater Ritual of the Pentagram, which incorporates the Spirit Pentagrams, is given to the Dominus Liminis. The grade of the Dominus Liminis is a Crown to the four Elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, which pertain to the grade of the Zelator. It formulates the topmost point of the Pentagram and it concerns itself with the summarization of the elemental mysteries of the elemental grade of the Zelator, equilibrating one's Elemental Self, which is to be completely surrendered to one's Holy Guardian Angel for the supreme attainment of Hir Knowledge and Conversation. The grade of the Dominus Liminis is the link between one's Elemental Self and Holy Guardian Angel. This so-called grade pertains to the so-called Element of Spirit.
In the Outer Order of the Thelemic Golden Dawn, the Elements are attributed to the four Cardinal Quarters of the compass: Air (or Earth) is in the East, Fire is in the South, Water is in the West, and Earth (or Air) is in the North. The fifth so-called Element of Spirit is attributed to the Center, as in the symbolism of the Elemental Cross.
In the Thelemic version of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, the elemental attributions of Earth in the East, Air in the North, Water in the West, and Fire in the South, are based on Aleister Crowley’s own Thelemic elemental attributions set forth in his Liber V Vel Reguli and in Liber XXV (The Star Ruby). Also, in numbers 12 through 15 of this same version of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, you convoke the Four Sons of Horus who are the Four Vicegerents of the Four Elements. The elemental correspondences used here for the Four Sons of Horus are based on Aleister Crowley’s Liber 777, Table of Correspondences, Column XIX, Selection of Egyptian Gods.
Let us now analyze the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram in more depth. Some of the following information was written with the assistance of Frater Vitriol, a founding member of the Order. It is very important to analyze every aspect of the Pentagram Ritual, for only thus will you come to the complete comprehension of this Ritual and its great potential as a magical tool for the expression of your Magical Will.
The Pentagram Ritual is composed of Four Parts: (1) The Qabalistic Cross, (2) The Tracing of the Pentagrams, (3) The Invocation of the Archangels, and (4) The final Qabalistic Cross. These four parts relate to the Four Elements, which the Pentagram Ritual is intended to invoke and banish.
During the Ritual of the Pentagram you are standing at the intersection of the Paths of Samekh and Peh on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Thus you are facing Tiphareth, the sixth Sephira, with Netzach at your right and Hod at your left. In this Qabalistic scheme is contained much meaning. For as you step forward in each quarter to vibrate a Divine Name, you are doing so toward a particular Sephira on the Tree of Life.
You commence the work of the Pentagram Ritual by visualizing a Sphere of White Light above your head. It is the Light of Kether, the first Sephira of the Tree of Life. You thus immediately link your consciousness to that of the One Self. With the Sign of Benediction or the index finger, you bring down the Light of Kether to your third-eye, vibrating "Atah", as a verbal recognition of Yechidah or the One Self. (See an example of the Sign of Benediction given by the Hierophant on Atu V in the BOTA or Rider Waite Tarot Deck.) You then bring down the Light to the heart, to the sphere of Tiphareth, and you vibrate "Aiwaz" or "IAO". Aiwaz is the Angel of the Sun; IAO is a Notariqon for the God-Name of Tiphareth. You then bring down the light to the genitals, the place of Malkuth, to complete the vertical bar or shaft of a Cross. You then take the Light to the shoulders, to the places of Geburah and Gedulah, to form the horizontal bar of a Cross. You then equilibrate this entire process by clasping or crossing the hands at the place of Tiphareth, the Center, vibrating the final words and visualizing, if you will, a Rose in the center of the Cross.
It will be noticed that in the Qabalistic Cross you use the microcosmic Tree of Life. In other words, as you form the Cross you visualize yourself as with your back against the Tree of Life, whereas with the macrocosmic Tree of Life you are facing it, so that the Sephiroth called Geburah and Gedulah are located on your left and right respectively. In the Qabalistic Cross, however, we become the Tree of Life, so that Geburah and Gedulah are located on our right and left respectively.
When tracing the Pentagrams in the Lesser Ritual you should see them in a bluish-white flame unless you are invoking a particular Element. When invoking an Element, the Pentagrams should appear in the color appropriate to the Element itself, that is, Yellow for Air, Red for Fire, Blue for Water, and Green for Earth. For purposes of tracing the Pentagram, its five points should coincide with certain parts of the body: the two lowest points should coincide with the left and right thighs; the two upper points with the left and right shoulders; and the uppermost point with the forehead.
When tracing the Pentagrams, you should exhale through the nose while tracing the first line of any Pentagram, and inhale through the nose while tracing the second line, keeping this rhythm of breath until the fifth line, which will always be done with the exhaling breath. In this way you can inhale the Divine Name before vibrating it, as an act of inspiration. When going from quarter to quarter you must connect the center of a completed Pentagram to the area that will become the center of the next Pentagram, to trace around yourself a Circle of Protection.
Before vibrating the Divine Names, you are to envisage before you the Hebrew letters that make up the Names. You are then to inhale these letters into your lungs. The letters should be visualized in bright flames. While in the lungs, the Names should be consecrated with the Light. Then while you are retaining the breath, the Name should be visualized as descending from the lungs to the feet. It should then rise rapidly once more to the lungs to be vibrated. It is not necessary to give the Sign of Horus when vibrating the Divine Names. You may simply advance your right foot forward, placing its heel in the hollow of the left foot. This is the more common method and represents the same idea of stepping toward a Sephira on the Tree of Life. However, giving the Sign of Horus helps to project the Names with greater force.
To make the Sign of Horus advance the left foot about 12 inches, throw forward the body, and let the hands [drawn back to the side of the eyes] shoot out. To make the Sign of Silence withdraw the left foot, and place the right forefinger upon the lower lip. The Sign of Horus is also called the Sign of the Enterer, the Sign of Attacking, and the Sign of Consecration. The Sign of Silence is also called the Sign of Harpocrates and the Sign of Protection. Both of these Signs are the Signs of the Neophyte Grade of the Golden Dawn.
Before invoking the Archangels you give the Sign of the Cross. The Cross is a balanced symbol of the Elemental Forces. You then envisage the Archangels behind the Pentagrams as you vibrate their Names. The colors and implements they have must correspond with the Elements that they preside over. For example, Raphael, the Angel of Air, should be in yellows and violets, holding a Sword and Balance in his hands. You may also use the Hebrew letters that spell the Names of the Archangels to determine the colors used. (Consult Crowley's 777, King Scale of Colors, Column 15.) The Archangels can be either facing toward or away from you, depending on whether you are invoking or banishing. Raphael means "Healing of God"; Gabriel means "Strength of God"; Michael means "Likeness of God"; and Auriel means "Light of God." Instead of the Archangels you may employ the forms of the Kerubim related to the four fixed Zodiacal Signs and the Elemental Quarters (Eagle in the East, Water Bearer in the West, Lion in the South, and Ox the in North). In such a case you could say, as an example for the Eagle, "Before me the Great Powers of the East", or "Before me the Great Powers of Air". The Eagle and Water Bearer are interchangeable; for the Eagle is Scorpio, a Water Sign, but it also conforms to Air; and the Water Bearer is Aquarius, an Air Sign, but it also conforms to Water.
When saying "For about me flames the Pentagram", you should see the Pentagrams blazing around you. Then, while saying "And in the column shines the Six-rayed Star", you should see a Hexagram above and below you, and also the image of a Column. This represents the true nature of this ritual, which is to unite the Pentagram and Hexagram, that is, the Microcosm (Man) and Macrocosm (God). It is the equilibration of the Five and the Six. The Column is a symbol of the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life. It is also a symbol of Sushumna, the Central Nadi of Yoga. Sushumna begins from the lowest center of the body, the Muladhara, and it ends in the last Chakra called Sahasrara (Crown Chakra). The Chakras are on the vertebral column in the Sushumna and through it passes the Kundalini (Serpent Force). Kundalini sleeps until it is awakened in the Muladhara Chakra, closing with its mouth the entrance to the Sushumna. When the Kundalini (Shakti) is awakened, by way of proper initiation, She enters the Royal Way in the Sushumna to embrace her Lord Shiva above in the Crown Chakra.
The Qabalistic Cross is repeated at the end of the Ritual so as to balance it from beginning to end. This is especially necessary so that any imbalances or irregularities that occurred during the ritual can be balanced and harmonized, that the operation may be pure. The Qabalistic Cross is an invocation of the Divine Light of Kether and an equilibration of that Light in the four quarters of the Universe. By ending the Pentagram Ritual with the Qabalistic Cross you are sealing the ritual with the Light of Kether, which is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega of it all. You also formulate in your Aura the Cross of Light and seal your Aura with that Light. It is a suitable idea at this final point of the ritual to increase the size of the Cross, so that its vertical and horizontal bars extend into infinity.
After the final Qabalistic Cross you should give the Sign of Silence. In this way you assimilate in your Aura or Sphere of Sensation the invoked energy of the ritual; you fortify your Aura with the Light and cultivate your own Magical Circle, as in the image of the Babe in the Egg of Blue. The Babe is Harpocrates, God of Silence, called Hoor-Paar-Kraat in the Egyptian tongue. He represents our Silent Self; He is a universal symbol of the Holy Guardian Angel. When giving His Sign you are to assume His God Form, seeing yourself in the Egg of Blue Light.
Love is the law, love under will.
Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn.
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