In my previous post, #6.2.1, I shared some background concepts of the Kabalistic Cross section of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. I would encourage you to read or re-read that post before reading this one. It gives a rather thorough understanding of what this part of the ritual means.
Visualizations and Actions
In this post I’m going to share what you physically and mentally do when performing this part of the rite. I’m going to put the Golden Dawn’s original instructions, as they appear in Regardie’s book of that name, in red.
Take a steel dagger in the right hand.
There are two things to note about this instruction. First, you should optimally use a dagger made of steel. In the West, the use of steel as a weapon (superseding iron which itself had superseded bronze) took place in the 10th century c.e. It represents two things: 1) strength and power (steel is much stronger than either iron or bronze), and 2) since it comes from elements found in the ground, it represents the magickal element of Earth. This combination of the protective Earth element enhanced by power and strength make it an ideal protective tool.
Note that it does not say to use a knife. It specifically identifies the tool as a dagger. A true dagger is pointed and is sharp on both sides for all or most of the blade. It is also thicker at the middle (the “spine”) down its length. In the Golden Dawn you would eventually make a dagger to represent the magickal element of Air. Note that this is not the same tool. A separate dagger was used for this banishing.
One thing I have frequently talked about is the concept of “use what you have.” If you don’t have a dagger to use for this ritual, you can use your hand as a substitute. I have seen people do the ritual pointing with just the index finger, the index and middle finger, or the entire hand held flat.
So respectfully, I do not think you can use the excuse of “I don’t have a steel dagger” to avoid working this ritual. Use what you have, and if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you have at least one hand. Even so, I would strongly suggest that you spend some time obtaining a steel dagger. In my experience performing this ritual with the appropriate tool is different; not better, but different. It makes you feel different in a good way.
This second thing to note in this instruction is the use of the right hand. The right hand is considered the hand that sends energy while the left receives it. Therefore, since you are controlling and sending energy in this ritual, use your right hand. (I know that there is debate over this if a person is left handed, but this is considered a universal practice and not one specific to the individual.)
East is the direction of the morning Sun. It’s where solar energy comes streaming into you, empowering you and this ritual. It’s also the direction where the Moon rises. Thus, you have a conjunction of external, spiritual forces coming into you, providing you with Deific energy for this ritual. As you’ll see in a moment, this rite combines external, spiritual forces with your own internal energies.
Touch thy forehead and sayÂ ATEH (thou art).
To put it bluntly, this is one of the most worthless instructions I’ve ever read! How can touching your forehead do anything? “Oooh. I touched my forehead. I’m a magickal adept! Walk in fear of me because I can touch my forehead!!!” Really? Is that what’s going on here? It’s like the person who does hatha yoga believing themselves to be spiritual because they can do the Downward Facing Dog asana (posture).
The key to understanding what is going on here is to understand that this part of the ritual, the Kabalistic Cross, unites external spiritual forces, the Divine, with your own internal energies. The next instruction says that you should “Touch thy breast.” The two points at the forehead and breast (more on this in a moment) can be linked to indicate the position of a vertical line. This line represents the spiritual energies coming in to you, with your area being the center of the universe. Here would be a more appropriate description of this part of the Kabalistic Cross:
- Stand and breath normally as you relax and clear your mind.
- Visualize* yourself beginning to grow until you’re bigger than the room or area where you’re standing.
- Continue this visualization until you can see the city or land small beneath your feet, but your feet are always firmly connected to the ground.
- Soon, you are bigger than the planet. Then the solar system dances at your feet. Now, the galaxies swim around you. You continue to grow until the galaxies are tiny beneath you and you are surrounded by darkness.
- Above you, you detect at a vast distance, a point of light. It is unbelievably bright, but so far away that it is safe to observe. If you were next to the source of that Divine light you would be instantly blinded, but at this enormous distance all you can see is a tiny bit of that overwhelming light.
- That point of light emits a beam that comes down immediately above your head. There it forms a sphere about the size of a dinner plate. Point to the sphere with your dagger. Feel and visualize that you can actually control that impossibly powerful energy. Then bring it down into your forehead. Draw it down and into you.
Touch thy breast and sayÂ MALKUTH (the Kingdom)
The energy comes from above and completely through you, past your feet and on to the center of the Earth. The two points indicate a line. Frankly, this forehead/breast never made much sense to me. I suggest a longer pair of points to indicate the movement of this energy. Instead of just touching the breast, point down with the dagger, your arm extended but centered over your body. Thus your hand covers your groin, associated with Yesode, the sphere that corresponds to the Moon on the Tree of Life. This sphere deals with the astral plane, so you are literally moving the Divine energy from the higher, spiritual planes, through the astral plane, and to the physical plane of the Earth. Pretty good symbolism, I think!
Touch thy right shoulder and sayÂ VE-GEBURAH (and the Power)
Touch thy left should and sayÂ VE-GEDULAH (and the Glory)
These two points, at the two shoulders, indicate the formation of a horizontal line. They are at the midpoint of the Tree of Life and represent physical, human, magickal, energyâ€”your energy. Visualize the energy extending beyond the shoulders in each direction to the ends of the universe.
Clasp thy hands before thee and sayÂ LE-OLAM (for ever)
Interweave the fingers of the hands and use the thumbs to hold the dagger against the fingers. The point of the dagger should be up. The hands should be in front of your heart.
For me, this is the key part of the Kabalistic Cross. For it is at this point that you are combining the spiritual Divine energy, as represented by the vertical line, with your own magickal energy, represented by the horizontal line. Let the energies merge and pool together, forming a sphere of pure white light/energy at your heart.
Dagger between fingers, point up and sayÂ AMEN.
As I wrote in my previous post, “Thus, if you perform this ritual, you will blend your magickal abilities with the authority and power of the Divine for the purpose of banishing your area and making it sacred.” Remember, the inner meaning of the word amen is that God is a faithful king and will help you with your magick because if you do this ritual properly that is what God promised to do.
In my next post I’ll go into how to pronounce and vibrate the words in the Kabalistic Cross. I’d like to thank High Priestess for her images above. They were part of the original art and photos I used for the new edition of Modern Magick. You can see all of my original art and photos on my website through this LINK.
*The “Visualization” Bugaboo
In the above post I’ve used the term visualization. Often, it is at this point that many people give up. “I can’t visualize!” they wail.
Hogwarts! Er…I mean Hogwash!
Everyone can visualize. Everyone does visualize.
It’s night. You’re asleep at a friend’s house, but you awaken to use the bathroom. The room you’re in is totally black. You can’t see a thing. You get up, walk around the big chair, and easily find the door to the bathroom. How can you do that without bumping into everything? You visualized the room.
Even if you don’t remember them when you wake, everyone dreams. In your dreams you “see” things. That’s the ability to visualize. [Note: people who have become blind still visualize in their dreams. People who are born blind don't see images, but during dreaming that part of the brain associated with visual activity becomes active. Everyone dreams. Everyone visualizes.]
So, you should feel good that you have the ability to visualize and can use this ability in the ritual, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. We use the term visualization because for most people, the visual sense is responsible for 80+% of their sensory input. But the word “visualization” is poorly chosen because it’s not what’s really going on.
Our physical senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch, etc. allow us to interact with everything on the physical plane. Similarly, our astral senses allow us to interact with everything on the astral plane. The power of thought allows us to create on the astral plane. Think of something on the astral and it is there. Think of an action and it occurs. Think of being somewhere and you are there. How can you know it is taking place? By using your astral senses. With this understanding, the concept of visualization may become more clear:
Visualization is the process of creating on the astral plane.
We become aware of our creation through the use of our astral senses.
Thus, when I write that you should visualize something, you are both directing the action and observing it. How can you direct the actions of the Divine? Because you’re following the laws set down by the Divine and “God is a faithful king,” keeping His word (see previous post and my explanation of AMEN).
Creation does not depend upon seeing on the astral plane, it depends upon your will. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you cannot astrally “see” anything. You just have to be 100% sureâ€”not hope, not wish, not kinda believe, but absolutely know, beyond any doubtâ€”that if your astral vision were developed, you would be able to see the results of your astral creation.
By the way, the visualization work in this ritual has the benefit of exercising your “astral eyes” so that with practice, those who currently do not have developed astral vision will be able to see on the astral plane.