Monday, July 29, 2013

Banishing & Equilibration Of The Aura

How to Use Magick to Effect Change in Your Life Part 2




Balancing and equilibrating the Aura


by Frater A.T.L.V.

In the last post in this series we covered some very basic concepts and questions that the beginner on this Path faces, and the problems that can arise if they are not properly dealt with.  In this post we will pick up where we left off, and get into the specifics of the rituals and practices that are all important to the beginning solitary practitioner of Golden Dawn Magick.

Since I have decided to start at the beginning and not just jump into advanced Magick, this post may seem very basic to those already familiar with Golden Dawn rituals and rites, and the various concepts and symbolism that are used in them.  However, I feel that there is a huge lack of resources for solitary practitioners and independent magicians regarding the Magic of Light, so the first few posts in this series are aimed at helping those who are taking their first steps onto this beautiful Path on their own.

The last post posed a very important question to would be Golden Dawn magicians: is being a solitary practitioner for you?

Hopefully you have had the time to think about this question and honestly ask yourself whether you have what it takes to work this system effectively on your own, or whether you would be better off with the guidance and structure that comes with belonging to an order.  

If you have found that the latter is true, there are many orders to choose from.  If this is you, you should begin doing extensive research into the various orders and do your best to find the one that speaks to you.  Be very wary, however, to not make that choice based on blogs alone. Be sure to check out the websites of the orders very thoroughly and try to determine exactly what you can expect from membership.  If possible, ask members what their experience has been. There are forums for several of the bigger name orders on Yahoo Groups where one can do this.

However, if after reading the last post, you feel that you have the patience, determination, persistence, and strength of Will to pursue the Magick of Light as a solitary or independent practitioner, then this post will cover just how you should get started.  If you plan on continuing on as a solitary, expect to be very busy, make time for daily ritual work and study, and always write in your magical journal, ALWAYS!

Many would be solitary Golden Dawn magicians have failed or simply given up because they start to feel as though they've got it, and stop writing in their journal, stop practicing the rituals on a regular basis, or simply feel as though they have hit a wall and cannot continue to progress.  A lot of times this happens because they are relying solely on material from Israel Regardie's "The Golden Dawn", this is a common problem amongst solitaries.

Another reason solitary Golden Dawn magicians often fail is because they want all the Magick at once, and are not willing to work slowly and patiently, but rather skip right ahead to the more advanced rites and rituals that come traditionally in the higher grades. But remember, as a solitary, it will be up to you and you alone not to make this crucial mistake, and instead to work the system as though you were going through the grades, slowly, patiently, and with dedication and persistence.

The first thing solitary Golden Dawn Magicians should begin to do daily, with regards to ritual work, is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.  This ritual, when practiced daily for at least several months, is very effective in beginning to balance out the Aura or Sphere of Sensation of the magician.  

It is advisable to work only this ritual, which will hereafter be referred to as the LBRP, for at least 3 or 4 months, if not a full year, before moving on to more advanced rites and rituals.  I know, this sounds like an awfully long time.  Remember, when one works this system on their own, they are not receiving LVX (energy, current, Light) directly from an initiator as magicians that work in Temples or orders do, and thus it takes much longer to develop the ability to create, control, and manipulate this Light energy.  

This ability to create and control LVX, or Light energy, is crucial to the success of any Golden Dawn magician, and without it, the rituals are but empty dramatic plays.

There are several different versions of the LBRP out there, and this can be confusing to the new magician.  This is why in my last post on this subject I talked about the importance of choosing a source that is not only complete, but consistent. As I said in my previous post, I recommend the Ritual Magic Manual, or RMM for short, to use as the basis and consistent reference point for your ritual work.

It is quite easy to find instructions for this ritual on the internet, but as I said, you will find that the instructions vary slightly from one source to the next.  I will present the form of the ritual I find to be the most productive and effective, and will try to give the directions in a clear, simple manner.  At this very early stage in a magician's career, it is important not to make things too complex, or to analyze too much.

This ritual is to be done daily, or as close to daily as possible.  Doing so will accomplish two key things.  Firstly, it will begin to slowly, safely, and effectively balance out your Aura.  Secondly, it will begin to introduce you to the types of energy and the forces that you will be working with later in more advanced rituals.  It is important to note, however, that one should never stop doing this ritual regularly, regardless of how advanced you may be or how long you have been doing it already, as consistent performance of the ritual is the key to its success.

There are a few things one must know in order to properly perform the LBRP. These are, the Sign of the Enterer, or projecting Sign, the Sign of Silence, or protecting Sign, the proper visualization of Light, and the Rite of the Qabalistic Cross.

We will first briefly discuss the two Signs mentioned above.  These signs are a crucial component to all Golden Dawn Magic and must be learned and performed correctly for any ritual to be effective.  You should do more research on your own into the history and meanings behind these very important gestures.

The Sign of the Enterer, also known as the projecting Sign or attacking Sign, is used to project magical energy.

The Sign of Silence, also known as the protecting Sign or the Sign of Harparcrates, is used to prevent the rebound or reflux of the energy projected with the Sign of the Enterer back onto the magician.  In this way it is used to confine a force or energy after the tracing of the banishing pentagrams.

As far as the proper visualization of Light is concerned, it can be very difficult for the beginning student of Golden Dawn Magic.  Many people tend to concentrate so hard on visualizing the Light that they are not properly visualizing it, but rather fantasizing it.  Further, it is not necessary to close your eyes to properly visualize, you should practice until you can see the Light you trace with your eyes open, and without losing concentration on the other aspects of the ritual. 

The Light you will use in the Qabalistic Cross is of a brilliant white nature.  The Light you will use when tracing the pentagrams in the LBRP, is reminiscent of the flame of a gas stove, that is, light blue but with a brilliant white glow.

Concerning the Rite of the Qabalistic Cross, it should be studied in depth and practiced alone until the student is familiar enough with it to do it from the heart without need for reference before using it in conjunction with the LBRP. One can find in depth explanations of this Rite in the RMM. There is a very barebones version in Regardie's Golden Dawn as well, and it is also available in many other sources. This Rite is done at the beginning and the end of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram as an opening and closing.  I will cover it briefly and without exhausting detail, as it is thoroughly covered elsewhere. It should be performed as follows.

Rite of the Qabalistic Cross



1. Stand West of your altar facing the East. Visualize a star of Light above your head. Using either a banishing dagger or simply your right index finger, point straight up and pierce the star, while visualizing a shaft of brilliant white Light emanating from the star above your head straight up into infinity.  While lowering the dagger or finger to touch first your forehead and then your Solar Plexus or Heart, vibrate ATEH (a-ta). Touch the forehead during the first syllable & the heart during the second syllable. Continue to move the Light downwards as you do so.

2. While keeping the dagger tip facing up (never point the tip towards the Earth), lower it to the area of the groin, vibrate, MALKUTH (mal-kut) and visualize the Light extending downwards beyond your feet to infinity.

3. Touch your right shoulder, vibrate, VE-GEBURAH (ve-ge-vu-ra) and visualize the Light extending from your shoulder out to the right to infinity.

4. Touch your left shoulder, vibrate, VE-GEDULAH (ve-ge-du-la) and visualize the Light extending from your shoulder out to the left to infinity.

5. Bring the dagger or finger to your heart. Move it in a circle in a counter clockwise motion while you vibrate, LE-OLAM (le-o-lam).

6.. Clasp your hands before you over the center of your chest, at your solar plexus, holding the dagger (if using) with interlaced fingers, tip pointing upwards, with your elbows extended horizontally along the shafts of Light you have created. Visualize the giant cross of Light you have formed, while vibrating, AMEN (a-men).

  Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram



1.  Stand West of your altar facing the East. Begin with Rite of Qabalistic Cross.

2. Go to the East of the altar.  Trace a light blue (but with white brilliance) Banishing Earth Pentagram while you vibrate YHVH (yod-he-vav-he). Project Light into the center of the pentagram using the Sign of the Enterer. Immediately give the Sign of Silence.

3.  Pierce the center of the pentagram and trace a line of white Light as you move to the South.

4. Trace a light blue (but with white brilliance) Banishing Earth Pentagram while you vibrate ADNI (a-do-nai). Project Light into the center of the pentagram using the Sign of the Enterer. Immediately give the Sign of Silence.


5. Pierce the center of the pentagram and trace a line of white Light as you move to the West.

6. Trace a light blue (but with white brilliance) Banishing Earth Pentagram while you vibrate EHEIEH (e-he-ye). Project Light into the center of the pentagram using the Sign of the Enterer. Immediately give the Sign of Silence.

7. Pierce the center of the pentagram and trace a line of white Light as you move to the North.

8.Trace a light blue (but with white brilliance) Banishing Earth Pentagram while you vibrate AGLA (a-ge-la). Project Light into the center of the pentagram using the Sign of the Enterer. Immediately give the Sign of Silence.

9. Pierce the center of the pentagram and trace a line of white Light as you move back to the East. Complete the circle by finishing the line in the center of the first pentagram you traced.

10. Go to the West of your altar facing East. Give the Sign of Osiris Slain (arms outstretched like a cross), dagger in your right hand pointing upwards (if using).

11. Say with authority, vibrating where the bold names are, "Before me RAPHAEL (ra-fa-el), behind me, GABRIEL (gav-re-el), to my right, MICHAEL (me-kai-el), and to my left, AURIEL (u-re-el), about me flame the pentagrams, and in the column, shines the Six Rayed Star". (When vibrating the Archangelic Names, visualize them standing around you in all their majesty, while still visualizing the pentagrams you have traced & charged. )

12. Perform the Rite of the Qabalistic Cross again in closing.

If the above ritual is done regularly and repeatedly over a long period of time, the effects will astonish you! Practice, practice, practice, and be patient! Great things come to those who have the virtues of patience and persistence.

(Rituals paraphrased from memory, primary source, "The Ritual Magic Manual", by David Griffin)

Sincerely and Fraternally, in L.V.X.,

Frater A.T.L.V.

Monday, July 22, 2013

First Steps on the Path-Is Being a Solitary Practitioner For You?


How to Use Magic to Effect Change in Your Life Part 1



The first steps on the Path:

Is being a solitary practitioner for you?


by Frater A.T.L.V.

This will be the first in a ongoing series about how to use Ritual Magic from various schools and sources to effect change in your life, part of an even larger ongoing series about my own experiences with Magic.  In this first post I will discuss some very basic concepts and some common issues that effect solitary magicians. This will hopefully help you to decide whether practicing on your own is right for you, or whether you might be better off joining an order.  This first post will not get into specific details about rituals, but will give you an idea of what is necessary to be successful as a solitary.  In later posts, I will discuss my own personal experiences with rituals and different systems of practical Magick and personal spiritual development at length.

In this very first installment I will be explaining very basic concepts that are necessary precursors to successful Magick, whether used for personal spiritual development, or for practical purposes.  No significant results can be obtained from the use of Ritual or Ceremonial Magick until a firm foundation is laid regarding certain basic knowledge and regular exercise of certain fundamental Magical Techniques that balance the Aura or Sphere of Sensation of the practitioner and begin to awaken the sleeping powers that lay dormant in the average individual. The most important of these exercises for the beginner include meditations, the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, and the  Ritual of the Middle Pillar, which will be dealt with in detail in future posts.

This is harder than it sounds for a solitary practitioner of The Magick of Light.  With traditional training, such as is found in orders and schools of Magick like the various Golden Dawn orders, and other esoteric Magical schools, there is a strict Hierarchy and every student is supervised and given direction from a more advanced Magician.  Along with this crucial component, there is a set curriculum designed specifically to slowly and efficiently awaken and balance these forces in every Magician.  There is also the aspect of physical initiation and of working with a group, which makes learning and practicing much easier as you are not left to fend for yourself. 

A common mistake that the solitary magician makes is when they don't fully understand something, and cannot find the answer readily available in their collection of books, or on the internet (not always the best place to to go for accurate info anyways!), they, of course not wanting to simply stop practicing, either continue on without comprehension of the concept, or fill it in with their own ideas.  This is folly. 

This is not to say that Magick is not a very individual and inward process, as it is most definitely.  However, throughout history, magicians have relied on certain basic principles and techniques passed down through the Aeons by their ancestors, that are known to work as they have been successfully applied already in the past with good results.  

Another way this can manifest is in the execution of ceremonial rituals or rites. If the magician, having found the school of thought or Tradition they most identify with (we will use the Golden Dawn as an example) and wish to practice, has a doubt about whether or not they are doing something correctly in their ritual work, this can be frustrating and all out devastating to the desired results.  

This can also get tricky, however, as there are many versions out there.  When one decides to devote themselves to a system of Magick such as the Golden Dawn as a solitary, they should also decide what their primary source for said material will be, to avoid unnecessary confusion.  Of course the Magician will use several sources or books, but it is best for a solitary practitioner to have a primary source to rely upon when confronted with different versions of even the most basic rituals, such as the QC (Qabalistic Cross) & LBRP (Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram).

My personal suggestion is "The Ritual Magic Manual", by David Griffin. It is not only very thorough and detailed, but consistent in the explanations of the rituals of the Golden Dawn.  One can easily use this book as their reference for the correct execution of all of the rites and rituals of the Golden Dawn, and it goes far above and beyond Regardie's "The Golden Dawn", also known as "the brick".  If one looks at the description of even the basic rituals of the Golden Dawn, in these two books, side by side, they will find that Regardie's ritual directions are slightly different, and with enough research, will begin to find inconsistencies and errors in them as well.  

This is not at all to say that Regardie's books are not great to have for solitary Golden Dawn magicians, as they most definitely are.  But as I said before, one needs a consistent source that they can refer to when they begin to expand upon the basic rituals and to use other books by various magicians that will no doubt use slightly different methods, especially when these books are from antiquity.  You will quickly learn that medieval grimoires and books such as "The Key of Solomon the King" use extremely complicated methods and sometimes month long preparations for even the simplest of rituals. 

With the RMM (Ritual Magic Manual), one can fit just about any ritual or invocation into the framework of the Golden Dawn system, thereby making it easier to understand, and just as powerful & successful, without having to learn an entirely new system of Magic and create an entirely different set of Magical Tools to perform said ritual.

On the topic of Magical Tools.  If you plan on practicing the Golden Dawn system, I would recommend picking up a copy of "Creating Magical Tools", by Chic and Tabitha Cicero, as it is very thorough in its instructions.  It not only tells you how to make all of the magical tools by hand, but also your regalia, along with the furniture and banners needed for a fully functional Temple, should you choose to build one.  The written instructions are clear, and all have very helpful diagrams as well.

Now, back to the issue of correctly executing ritual work, and the doubts that almost always arise when working with only Regardie material.  Regardie, while a famous magician and important historical figure when it comes to the Golden Dawn, was quite inconsistent and sometimes flat out wrong in his books.  

I assume much of this was due to the fact that he didn't write the books until long after learning the material, and also the fact that he didn't actually ever spend much time practicing the rituals in a Temple.  Most of his career with the original Golden Dawn was spent as a secretary.  Just a simple example, is his incorrect description of the Outer Order sashes and their colors.  The colors are referred to each grade based upon the color of the corresponding Sephira, and he got even this most basic concept incorrect in his works.

Regardie also gives versions of rituals that are slightly different than they should be, and they even vary slightly between his own books.  You can see where this would get confusing.  If you were working solely based on Regardie's books, you would no doubt end up questioning yourself often. With the RMM, you have a consistent ruler to measure by and can always adapt rituals to fit into the framework carefully laid down in it that you find elsewhere, without the worry that you are doing things incorrectly and not getting results. Many solitaries, due to a lack of guidance,  continue to do so, and end up so frustrated that they quit the Path altogether, and that is a sad state of affairs.  

I am not saying that the RMM is the only good book on ritual magic out there, far from it, however, it is in my opinion the very best when it comes to consistency, detail, easy to follow directions, and completeness when working with the Golden Dawn system.  It also contains very helpful charts, tables, and color plates with all of the Enochian Tablets, Talismans, and much more.  It's best attribute is that it remains consistent throughout, and if one starts at the beginning, and learns first the basic rituals, they will have far less trouble when building upon them slowly as they reach more advanced ones.

Back to the LBRP and the fundamental inconsistencies found in Regardie's books.  In Regardie's "The Golden Dawn", it is taught that the Ritual of the Pentagram should be done in the morning as an invocation, and at night as a banishing.  This could not be more incorrect.  For one, it would be very dangerous to invoke anything and then not banish immediately at the end of the ritual. The only exception being the charging of Talismans and tools, which are covered before the banishing so as to not discharge the force they were consecrated with. Still, all rituals close with banishings, including those meant to consecrate items. To invoke something, especially with a basic, general ritual such as the Lesser form of the Pentagram Ritual, then leave it open all day, and not banish until night time could be disastrous to the magician and those around him.  

The Lesser form of the Pentagram ritual is not meant for invocation, that will be dealt with later on after you have prepared yourself with a good foundation.  This form of the Pentagram ritual is truly only meant for banishing as a means to balance the Aura and to begin to get familiar with the energy you will be working with.

However this is not the only flaw, as beginning solitary magicians should start out with at least a year of nothing but banishing rituals and certain Rites and meditations that are designed to balance and equilibrate the Aura or Sphere of Sensation of the magician.  I know, I said a year! If this is discouraging to you, then working as a solitary magician may not be for you.  On top of this all important period of balancing of the Aura, which prepares it for the invocations that will come later, there is also much intellectual and theoretical material that must be learned, if you are to become a successful solitary magician.

Another key element to the beginning solitary magician is creating a magical diary or journal.  In this diary you should write down all of your ideas about things you've read, the subjects of your meditations, dreams, ritual results,  and anything that might be useful later on to look back at.  This allows you to track your progress, which is very important as a solitary, as you will not have the guidance of a teacher.  You can also write down mundane thoughts in your journal, and see how they change over time.  It is important that you not only write when you do your rituals or meditations, but also when you do not.  This will help you discover patterns later on and help you to stay on track.

The process moves quite a bit more quickly when one is working within an order, has direct guidance, a set curriculum, and needs to prove themselves efficient in both ritual and knowledge in each grade level before moving on to the next, more advanced level.  There is also a much faster transformation taking place within the Aura of a magician who takes physical initiations, as they are receiving energetic current directly from their initiators.  

Do not be discouraged, it is possible! And if you are a person dedicated to The Great Work, you will need to learn a great deal of patience and persistence.  I am going to end this very first installment with a list of some recommended reading.  The next piece in this series will begin to deal with the most basic rituals and the knowledge that needs to be learned in order to successfully begin this great journey as a solitary magician.  In the meantime, you may want to consider whether you have the patience and persistence and strength of Will that is so very key to being a successful solitary magician.  

If you find yourself lacking in these virtues, you may want to consider joining an order.  However, do not for a second think that simply joining an order will give you the keys to the Kingdom, as in the end it always comes down to you, and how much work you are willing to put in.  If you are in this to earn empty titles, then there are orders who will happily give them to you for a fee, but what does this really accomplish?  Whether working solitary or with an order, YOU have to do the work! Magic is an inward Path, a Path of self discovery, and no one else can do it for you.

However, having said this, it is still possible to accomplish at least most of what is accomplished as an initiate on your own, if you are willing and disciplined enough to apply the same rigor to yourself.  This is easier said than done.  With no one watching your progress, no one to report to, and no official structure to your practices, it can and will be very difficult to achieve the same results.  This is no different than trying to learn what you learned in school on your own with no teachers, no set class hours, and no report cards.  It takes a very determined individual to accomplish such a task.

So, in summary, every individual magician will have their own genius to add to their Magic, but, certain basic foundational concepts and practices must first be learned from antiquity and put into practice for quite some time before one can efficiently apply their own ideas with any amount of success. 

Suggested books for beginning solitary practitioners of the Magic of Light:

  • "The Golden Dawn", by Israel Regardie
  • "The Ritual Magic Manual" (RMM), by David Griffin
  • "Creating Magical Tools", by Chic & Tabatha Cicero

It may also be helpful to the beginning student of the Golden Dawn system of Magick to do some research into its founders, S.L. MacGregor Mathers, W. Wynn Wescott, and William R. Woodman, along with the books they have written.  Other notable occult authors of import include Eliphas Levi, Cornelius Agrippa, A.E. Waite, and many others. A simple search on Google will provide you with much material to ponder.  The beginner should also start to do their own research into Hermetic philosophy, Qabalah, alchemy, and astrology.

Suggested rituals and exercises for beginning solitary practitioners:   

  • start writing in your magical diary
  • meditation, including but not limited to the Neophyte meditation given in Griffin's "RMM" &  Regardie's "The Golden Dawn"  
  • The Qabalistic Cross and the LBRP (these will be dealt with at length in the next post in this series)

I would also suggest that you look into the various ways that one order, the HOGD/Alpha et Omega, is doing it's part to help solitary practitioners and independent magicians, as is discussed in a recent post HERE.

You now have a general idea of what it is going to take to be a solitary Golden Dawn magician, and have a decision to make.  Is being a solitary practitioner for you?  The next post will deal in detail with some of the fundamental rites and rituals for solitary magicians to properly use in order to lay a firm and strong foundation to be built upon later, and my own experiences with them.

Sincerely and Fraternally in L.V.X.,

Frater A.T.L.V.