This is the concluding section of lesson 6 in my series on basic magick. In this lesson I’ve so far covered the following topics:
- Why the LBRP Matters
- Secrets of the Kabalistic Cross
- More Secrets of the Kabalistic Cross
- Sounds of the Kabalistic Cross
- Understanding the Formulation of the Pentagrams
- The Names that Charge the Pentagrams, and
- The Formulation of the Pentagrams
As a brief recap, so far you’ve performed the Kabalistic Cross and the Formulation of the Pentagrams. You now return to the center of your magickal circle (just east of the altar, if you have one) and face to the East. Filling you with energy vertically is spiritual energy from the Divine. Mixing with that is your own spiritual energy, moving horizontally. Around you is a sphere of white light that both protects from unwanted outside influences and contains your amazing combined energies. At each of the four cardinal points are large, electric-blue, banishing Earth pentagrams, working to protect you from unwanted energies and influences on the lower astral and physical planes. You may even see the names of God empowering those pentagrams hanging in the air.
If you have any questions about this, see my previous posts.
Invocation vs. Evocation
The terms “invocation” and “evocation” are often used interchangeably by people who are either not magickally inclined or are consciously seeking to confuse their followers. However, they have specific meanings and it’s important to understand the difference.
Invocation means to bring something into you. When you invoke something, you are taking the qualities of what you invoke into yourself. For example, you might want to invoke elemental Fire to give yourself more energy and drive, or to help you stay awake and alert during long drives or all-nighter study sessions. A classic example of invocation is the Wiccan rite known as Drawing Down the Moon. In this ritual the Goddess is brought into the physical body of the worshiper and can then communicate with others and enjoy the physical world. A person working as a New Age type of Channel invokes one or more entities.
Evocation means to draw something forth. Thus, if you wanted to communicate directly with a spirit, angel, archangel, etc., you would evoke that spirit. Sometimes the evocation can be so powerful that you can see the entity evoked, or at least see it in a crystal, a magick mirror, or possibly in the smoke of incense. Even if it cannot be seen, it may be felt or experienced through another sense, such as through hearing.
The unanswered question, of course, is from where is such an evoked entity drawn forth? Some would claim that it all comes from within you. This is part of what I refer to as the psychologization of magick. Such a belief turns all magick into nothing more than mental tricks. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong—it’s only a belief, a map of reality, and as NLPers know, the map is only a representation of reality, it is not the actual territory. Others would contend that such entities exist on different planes or levels of existence and are drawn to you on or near the physical plane by the rite of evocation. If so, what is their nature? Of what are they made? By what means does the rite draw them forth? Some people give long, involved explanations of such a mechanism. Again, however, I don’t know if that’s accurate. It’s just a belief, a map by which we can better understand the way things work. Still others would contend that evocations are simply working with energy that congeals in a familiar form enabling our ability to work with that energy. I imagine there are other “explanation maps” of how evocation works. Although I don’t know the actual mechanism, I do know that evocation functions as if the entities come from another plane, so I choose to work from that basis. You may choose a different explanation.
The Four Archangels
The concept of spiritual entities in the Kabalah is very formulaic and designed like an army with a pyramid of authority. At the top is the unknowable deity, usually referred to as the Ain, Ain Sof, or Ain Sof Or. Beneath the Divine are aspects of Divinity identified by the different God Names. Beneath them are the Archangels. Beneath them are the Orders of Angels. Beneath them are the individual Angels. In this rite we work with four of the Archangels.
is the Archangel of the East. This Archangel wears yellow robes. In the shadows of the robe is the color purple. Representing the element of Air, you may feel breezes coming from the direction of the rising sun. Rah-fay-ehl holds the mysterious caduceus wand, the same wand held by the Roman God Mercury, the messenger of the gods, and used as a symbol by physicians. Invoking Rah-fay-ehl can help with communications and healing.
is the Archangel of the West. This archangel wears blue robes and in the shadows of the robe you will see hints of the color orange. Representing the element of Water, Gahb-ray-ehl holds a large chalice, perhaps of silver, encrusted with precious gems. There are waterfalls around Gahb-ray-ehl and you may even feel mists coming from the western direction. Invoking Gahb-ray-ehl can assist in calming the waters of emotions when they are disturbed and help you better understand the motivations of others and yourself.
is the Archangel of the South. Mi-chai-ehl wears a red robe with green in the shadows, and carries a fiery sword. Invoke Mi-chai-ehl for anything associated with increasing dynamic energy as well as anything even loosely associated with struggle and martial issues.
is the Archangel of the North. Associated with the element Earth, Ohr-ree-ehl wares robes in earth tones: blacks, browns, and greens. Ohr-ree-ehl holds a sheaf of grains. Invoke for solidity, grounding, finances, etc.
Note that I have studiously avoided referring to any of the Archangels as “he” or “she.” They’re Archangels, not people. They do not have a gender. They are spirits. They may take on a gender when they appear, but that is for communications sake and not due to inherent qualities.
Also note that the names I’ve given show pronunciation. Mi-chai-ehl, for example, is usually spelled “Michael.” But when you vibrate this name you should not be using the Anglicized pronunciation of “Mahee-kull” as it bears little relation to the original Hebrew.
Hold your arms out to the sides, forming a cross, indicating the uniting of the Divine (vertical) energy with the personal (horizontal) energy. If you have a steel dagger in your right hand, it’s point should be facing up. In the following, vibrate the names of the Archangels.
Say: Before me, Rah-fay-ehl!
Visualize: An enormous figure as described—standing just outside the magick circle and beyond the pentagram in front of you—towering over the protective sphere.
Sense: If you can, sense air flowing to you. You may hear the “whoosh” of rushing air.
Say: Behind me, Gahb-ray-ehl!
Visualize an enormous figure as described—standing just outside the magick circle beyond the pentagram hanging there behind you—towering over the sphere.
Sense: If you can, sense mists of water from that direction. You may even hear the splashing of water.
Say: On my right hand, Mi-chai-ehl!
Visualize an enormous figure as described—standing just outside the magick circle beyond the pentagram to your right—towering over the sphere.
Sense: If you can, sense heat and energy from that direction. You may hear the crackling of a fire.
Say: And on my left hand, Ohr-ray-ehl!
Visualize an enormous figure as described—standing just outside the magick circle beyond the pentagram to your left—towering over the sphere.
Sense: If you can, sense the coolness and solidity of the Earth. Perhaps you’ll even catch the scent of fresh, fertile soil.
Say: For about me flames the pentagrams…
Visualize the four pentagrams becoming even brighter. Also visualize a flaming pentagram around you.
Sense: The heat of the flames of energy and the increased energy of all the pentagrams.
Say: …and within me shines the six-rayed star
Visualize a brilliant, golden hexagram within you at your heart, the place where the spiritual and personal energies meet. This is matched by the intersecting of the two triangles that form the hexagram.
Sense: The combined forces of energy blended at your heart and totally controlled by you.
If your left foot was extended, bring it back to the center and lower your left arm. Conclude by repeating the entire section known as the Kabalistic Cross, described earlier in this series:
- Take a steel dagger in the right hand.
- Face East.
- Touch thy forehead and say ATEH (thou art)
- Touch thy breast and say MALKUTH (the Kingdom)
- Touch thy right shoulder and say VE-GEBURAH (and the Power)
- Touch thy left should and say VE-GEDULAH (and the Glory)
- Clasp thy hands before thee and say LE-OLAM (for ever)
- Dagger between fingers, point up and say AMEN
Original art by Donald Michael Kraig
See all original art for Modern Magick at this LINK
This ends the rite. Bask in the energy for a bit and let the visualizations fade, knowing that the resulting protective barrier remains in place even though you’re not focusing on it or seeing it. That barrier may stay with you or at the location where you performed the ritual. Performing at the same location and times can help the circle become stronger.
As was noted in a comment to an early post in this series, many people have tried to alter this ritual. I have seen Pagan versions, Greek versions, Egyptian versions, Chaos versions, and so many other versions that frankly, I’ve lost count. Personally, I’ve not experienced them as effective and am left with two questions:
- If it’s so good that you have to copy it, why change it?
- Why don’t you draw from your own tradition to create your own banishing ritual instead of copying this one?
In The Book of the Law (chapter II verse 5) it says,
Behold! the rituals of the old time are black. Let the evil ones be cast away; let the good ones be purged by the prophet! Then shall this Knowledge go aright.
Aleister Crowley, of course, was the prophet. It seems to me, therefore, that he was given the task to purge (i.e., eliminate) the old “black” (as in negative) rituals. That would include this ritual which he learned while a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Yet, in order to match the system he developed, even he simply modified the LBRP in the form of the Ritual of the Star Ruby. So did he follow the instructions given him? Thelemites will have to determine that for themselves.
Which brings up a final point to this post. Several times in my Modern Magick I describe how Dion Fortune wrote that there is no room for authority in occultism. By this she meant that the ultimate arbiter of what works must be you—not any book; not any teacher (and certainly not me!). So merely because I’ve not found something to be effective doesn’t mean that something won’t work for you. If you want to modify or adapt this ritual, try it out! Try out any variations that you discover. Give it several tries—do your very best—and see what happens. If it works, use it! Share your ideas with others. Just because something worked (or didn’t work) in the past doesn’t mean it will work in the future. Besides, if magick doesn’t evolve it will become static and moribund, dying out like the dinosaurs. If what you try doesn’t work, come back to the tradition. I know it works for me, and from the letters and email I’ve received, I know it has worked for thousands of others.