In previous “lessons” of Magick 101 I’ve given you some personal preparation and theory. In this first part of lesson 6 I’m going to talk about the first formal ritual, The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.
What? That ol’ thing?
Yes. That old thing.
Most of the time I see the LBRP performed it is done so perfunctorily that it is rather useless, just mumbling of words and finger pointing or dagger waving. On the other hand, some people seem to think it is the height of magick, turning a brief and powerful ritual into an overplayed, elongated, pompous ordeal. Still others think it is a useless and outdated part of the old Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and who needs that old stuff?
What You Didn’t Know
About the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
It is true that the LBRP, as we currently know it, was originally formulated by the Golden Dawn. In fact, there’s a secret about the Golden Dawn that most people don’t know: The Golden Dawn was never intended to be a magickal order!
What? But the book? All the groups? How can you write such a blasphemous comment?
The original concept of the Golden Dawn was of a three-part organization. First, there was the equivalent of a preparatory level. You really weren’t initiated as a full fledged member. That’s why the numeration of the Neophyte degree is 0=0. You’re not even part of the structure of the group (which is based on the Kabalistic Tree of Life). Next come the four “elemental” grades of the Order.
It is these five degrees that compose the Golden Dawn per se. The Golden Dawn or “Outer Order” was designed to prepare an initiate for magick. It was a training Order. It was not until you reach the second or Inner Order where you are taught and practice ritual magick.
In the Outer Order you learn lots of information (from the “knowledge lectures”) and work with other members, assuring mutual compatibility with other members. You learn breathwork and meditative techniques. However, excluding the initiation rituals (Which are actually empowered by members of the Inner Order who participate as members of the initiating crew. See my post on initiation HERE.) members of the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn, members of the first five degrees, are only taught one ritual. That ritual is The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.
Banishing and More
By it’s very name you can see that the LBRP is designed to purify your area. This is of great value because as you practice techniques including meditation, breathwork, Tarot, astrology, etc., you will find yourself more attuned to the astral and experience the growth of your aura. This will attract non-physical entities hungry for that energy. They can’t really harm youâ€”which is why, in Modern Magick, I refer to them as “little nasties”â€”but they can be bothersome. The LBRP easily keeps them at bay, and practice will prevent unwanted incursions of stronger entities and energies later in your magickal career.
The original instructions for this ritual are incredibly terse, taking less than two pages. This is because the documents known as Knowledge Lectures that a Golden Dawn initiate receivesâ€”one of which includes the brief LBRP instructionsâ€”were not meant to be studied in a vacuum. They are, at best, “Cliff’s Notes.” The full details were expected to be given by your mentor in the Order. But even though your instructor might give you a great deal more about the performance of the ritual, there are some inner qualities to the ritual which is why it is still relevant and should not be overlooked.
Three Necessities of Magick
There are three things you have to master to be a good magician. First, you have to learn how to raise magickal energy (I know some magicians don’t follow the energetic paradigm of magick, but that’s another issue). There are two parts of this. First, you are using your internal abilities to generate magickal energy. Second, you are using your skills to grab and make use of external (spiritual or Divine) energy. Together these energies will power your magick.
The second necessity is closely aligned with the first. Once you have that energy raised, you have to do something with it. That is, you have to be able to manipulate the energy and direct it toward achieving your magickal goal(s).
The third necessity is the knowledge of where to direct that energy. You may be able to turn a car when you drive, but unless you have the knowledge found in a map, you can manipulate the car all you want and get nowhere.
So the three necessities are the abilities to raise and direct energy combined with the knowledge of what to do with it. The LBRP teaches all of these skills.
The LBRP & the Three Necessities of Magick
In the LBRP one of the first things you do is draw spiritual energy to you. This is exemplified by the first part of the section of the ritual known as the Kabalistic Cross. You begin by drawing the energy down through you. It is represented by the points on/within your body that when linked form a vertical line from above your head to below your feet. I’ll be covering this in greater detail soon.
In the following steps of this part of the ritual, you bring forth your own magickal energy on the physical plane. This is represented by the horizontal line that goes from shoulder to shoulder.
Finally, you unite these two energies at the heart. This is symbolized by uniting your hands at your heart and sealing the physical action with the magickal word Amen. I’ll be revealing that word’s inner meaning in the next part of this lesson where I discuss the Kabalistic Cross.
The next section of the ritual is the Formulation of the Pentagrams. In this section you learn how to direct the energy using color, positioning in three-dimensional space, and sending that energy for protective purposes. So in just the first two parts of this ritual you practice raising/generating magickal energy and the direction of that energy.
Finally, the knowledge of how to do this, combined with the knowledge of banishing, working with archangels, knowing where the archangels are, symbolism in their appearance, and the opening of the senses to receiving them is the knowledge needed for magick, the third of the necessities.
Thus, the LBRP is incredibly valuable for any and all future magickal work, not merely because it is a good banishing ritual, but because, if you work with it, you will have the basics for the mastery of magick.