Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coming Attractions for June 2011

I just wanted to write a short article to kind of conclude the May bonanza of posts for this blog. It has been a very interesting month, and June promises to be just as good or even better. I will list the writing projects that are on the board for this month, and also to thank all of the readers who have made the blog statistics really hum this month.

First of all, I will be posting a three part history of the Qabbalah, which I have already researched and completed writing. These posts will continue to build on the lore of the previous posts that I have made on this topic, with the hope that I will eventually have an entire suite of articles that will fully encapsulate my thoughts about the Qabbalah and the practical uses that I make of it. I must admit that the Qabbalah is integral to my occult and magickal work, and knowing its history is just as important as knowing how to use it. I am also working on a corresponding article that focuses on the topic of the Twenty-two Pathways of the Qabbalah. Hopefully, these two articles, broken up into segments, will be posted in the coming month.

I am planning on completing my continuing series on the specialized techniques and methodologies of performing invocation and evocation, as it is practiced in the Order of the Gnostic Star. I have already written the first article on the mystery gateway, called the ritual of the Gate of Revealing, which outlines the procedures that I follow for performing an invocation. I will also attempt to write up an article that discusses the other major workings in this cycle, which are the art of spirit evocation, skrying and astral projection within the spirit’s domain. Other articles may also be posted this coming month that will tie up all of the various loose ends that may have occurred when writing these articles. If you have been following this series and have any questions about the procedures discussed or techniques employed, feel free to contact me so I might address them in an article this month.

There will likely be a couple more substantive months of articles, and then I will have to scale things down to accommodate my busy schedule. As I have said previously, I have three concurrent book projects and lots of other things that will need my attention over the next several months. It’s going to be a busy year, but I hope to continue to produce interesting and substantive articles for this blog, although they might be quite a bit shorter than what you are used to.

So that’s what I am planning for the lovely month of June, and I hope that you will enjoy reading these articles.

Frater Barrabbas  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Activated Septagram - Key to Spiritual Intelligence

The techniques for invocation and evocation are unique in the Order of the Gnostic Star, since they do not rely on the use of the old grimoires nor upon the methodology developed in the Golden Dawn. Two problems confronted me when I first developed this system, and that was my lack of external resources (published grimoires and useful Thelemic or Golden Dawn materials) and the fact that I was performing magick as a witch and not as a ceremonial magician. Whatever method I came up with would have to be implemented in an environment of total and complete immersion. I would not be able to hide behind a magick circle and force my will and spiritual integrity upon some spirit that I had summoned in an exterior triangle of evocation. Instead, I would be directly exposed to whatever I managed to successfully invoke, with only my godhead assumption to mitigate the results. That meant I would have to make deadly certain that whatever I summoned would have to be exactly what I intended to summon! Subjected to my own mental and spiritual peril, there was absolutely no room for inaccuracy or error.

A solution to this vexing problem was to minutely define the energy body and persona of the spirit that I wished to summon, and then through the artifice of the triangular gateway (of the mysteries), fuse these parts together in order to manifest the target spirit. Of course, one would have to inventory the elemental energies associated with the body of various spirits, as well as define their intelligence through the seven planets, and this meant that each and every spirit in the hierarchy of spirits would have to be so defined. That proposed quite a monumental task to me, perhaps even making this approach untenable. I would later develop other approaches to solve this problem, such as invoking through a matrix of symbolic correspondences and specific definitions. Still, when I first began to write a handful of invocations, the insurmountable problem of defining all spirits in this manner was not fully realized, so I happily moved forward instead of stopping dead in my tracks. I am fortunate that I had proceeded in such a focused and myopic manner, since it allowed me to fully develop this system before having to adjust and adapt it later.

Invocation and evocation, as practiced in the Order, works with a three tier approach regardless of whether the magician is invoking through a matrix or has crafted a specialized profile for that spirit. The three tiers are, in sequential order, the specialized Power Octagon, the Activated Septagram and the Mystery Gateway. All of these magickal structures are performed within a consecrated magick circle, so the magician is not only exposed to the summoned spirit when it materializes, but she also enters into the very domain of that spirit as well. The reason for this is found in the effect that the Mystery Gateway has on the invocation process, since it not only fuses the body and intelligence of the spirit, but also opens up an underworld into the domain of spirits. A magician using this methodology not only summons and manifests a spirit, but also enters into its lair, and she is only protected by her godhead assumption and spiritual alignments.

The fact that I have been using this system for nearly thirty years and I am quite alive and completely sane, with my spiritual integrity intact, should demonstrate that this methodology is not only effective but also quite safe. Others have used this system without any problems as well, so it can’t be considered just something that I do and is incapable of being used by anyone else. What this means is that the ritual structures and methodologies incorporated into this system are rigorously defined and developed to the point where they function more like a scientific experiment than an artistic endeavor. Of course, the caveat is that the magician must carefully select the spirit and then creatively define it in such a way that it will behave as expected and greatly aid the magician, instead of annihilating him outright. This is also why I tend to use a balance of spiritual alignments in my methodologies, seeking a neutral middle path between intelligences that are beneficent and malefic, and ensuring that angels and demons counter balance each other. This is why I work with the ha-Shem Angels and the Goetic Demons together through the Angelic Ruler of the Decan. Working magick through the artifice of immersion does present some complications to the process of invocation and evocation. However, let us continue with our discussion of the Activated Septagram.    

We have already covered the special Power Octagon, which generates an etheric container for the invocation of a spirit. We should now examine the next level in the three tier methodology used for invocation and evocation in the Order of the Gnostic Star. What I am proposing is a kind of planetary magick, but it is the invocation and qualification of all seven planetary intelligences merged together and performed in one single working. You might ask me how is this accomplished and what does it do? For that answer, we need to discuss in detail the nature of the Activated Septagram.

The Activated Septagram has six basic ritual steps. There are the three primary invocations of the spirit itself and the seven planetary invocations that make up the combined planetary intelligence. All of these actions are performed within an invoking vortex that encloses an inner circle where a charged talismanic septagram trigon is placed.

Combining these various elements together through the invoking vortex will generate the multifaceted personality of the specific spirit that the magician has called forth. One could say that this process is two-fold; where the magician defines and combines the symbolic attributes of the spirit’s persona, and also summons it to appear (as if from outside). My reason for using both approaches simultaneously is that I am joining together the archetypal facets of the spirit’s persona with the actual summoned spirit. This process produces a generated simulacrum of the real spiritual entity. Now that we have defined this process, let’s examine these six steps and find out how it actually works.

Activated Septagram in six steps: These six steps are quite simple, consisting of the following actions. (It’s assumed that this rite is performed after the conclusion of the special Power Octagon.)

1. Draw an inner circle and set within it the talismanic septagram trigon. (This trigon would be placed on top of the previous one for the Power Octagon.) Charge the trigon with three invoking spirals and project into it a violet colored energy.

2. Draw a Rose Ankh device to the four Watchtowers in a widdershins vector, beginning in the West, and proceeding to the South, East, and North. Draw another Rose Ankh device in the center of the circle over the septagram. Then draw all four Watchtower points to the center of the circle (at the Infra-point) using the sword. The vector for this operation should be widdershins, beginning in the West. Each of the five devices should be charged with a violet colored energy.

3. Intone the first invocation, which summons the spirit and also determines the spiritual hierarchy through which it is defined and controlled. The hierarchy is declared in a descending sequence, beginning with the highest level of the Godhead, right down to the spirit itself.

4. Perform the planetary invocation for each of the seven planets in the order: Sun, Mercury, Mars, Moon, Saturn and Jupiter. The following executions are performed in sequence:

  • Draw the planetary angle on the central Septagram using the transmutar wand.
  • Intone the planetary invocation - summoning the planetary spirit(s) and intone the Enochian Planetary Call (if available).
  • Intone the formula word. (This is used later to pull all of the facets together into a whole. Seven word letters form a special acronym for the spirit.)
  • Then, using the formula word, declare the planetary quality and the associated astrological sign - this describes that aspect of the spirit’s persona.

5. Intone the second invocation for the spirit. Then declare the definitive characteristics of the persona (in-depth, a synopsis of step 4), and describe the image or imago of the spirit. Then perform an exegesis of the formula words. This is done by taking the first letter of each word and producing a new formula word that succinctly defines the spirit. (This is optional, but also integral.)

6. Intone the third and final invocation of the spirit. This final version of the invocation is reiterated from what has been previously declared, but it is intoned in a sacred language (other than English).

As you can see, this ritual structure is fairly simple and concise. It successfully defines the qualities and characteristics of the invoked spirit. Joining this simple ritual structure with the Power Octagon, which acts as its base, produces an energized spiritual entity that the magician is capable of seeing and sensing on many levels. The combined Power Octagon and Activated Septagram could successfully invoke a spirit into some kind of manifestation, but the Mystery Gateway truly empowers and unites all of the facets and opens the magician to the underworld domain of the spirit. We will cover that third ritual and its associated lore in a future article.

Keep in mind that this methodology assumes that the magician will write a custom crafted invocation for every single spirit that they want to invoke, which would be quite an undertaking. What I learned later on is that this ritual structure can be modified so that the magician can use a modular approach of invoking through a matrix, instead of uniquely defining each and every spirit.

For instance, the Angelic Rulers of the Decans are defined by a specific zodiacal sign, which consists of an element and a quality of triplicity (cardinal, fixed, mutable), and a ruling planet, as well as other specific correspondences (Egyptian Godhead, Hermetic Spirit, Angelic Ruler, etc.). The Power Octagon would be charged with four Elementals of a specific base element, and an elemental gateway would qualify that fused energy structure with the three angels of the Power and Seat, Active Principle and Ruling Force of the zodiacal sign. The Activated Septagram could then be used to invoke the single ruling planet and would add other corresponding symbols to uniquely qualify and invoke the Decan and its Ruling Angel. While the patterns that I have presented in these articles will give students some structures and examples to perform this kind of magick, there are quite a number of variations that can be used to more easily invoke an entire class of spirits as opposed to each one individually.

Other techniques that could be used would include using a seven-fold spiraling ritual structure, which would consist of the four Watchtowers or Angles and a three or four node internal tetrahedral gateway. The seven points in this ritual structure would allow for the complete definition of the seven planets with a base element and a zodiacal quality of triplicity - thus a planet in a zodiacal sign.

Another possibility is creating an Element Foundation attributed to one of the four Qabbalistic Worlds, and overlayng that would be erected a cross roads with a central pylon, and over that, a gateway would be set to a specific element. The overall combination would produce an invoking ritual structure known as an “archetypal gate.” An archetypal gateway is used to perform an invocation of one of the great angels, such as an Archangel (Zodiacal or Sephiroth) or Super Archangel (Cherubim or Serephim). Each of these different methodologies are based on the combination of the Power Octagon and the Activated Septagram ritual structures.   

Finally, I did want to discuss how one goes about qualifying the seven planetary intelligences when using the basic version of the Activated Septagram. I usually use this methodology for a spirit that is strategically important to my magickal workings, one that wouldn’t easily fit into any of the hierarchical classes. Such spirits would be demi-gods, divine personages, qualified Godheads that are not part of my pantheon, or specialized spiritual entities that I would like to define in a very detailed manner, thereby giving them a very accessible and perceptible personality.

Once I target such a spirit, I then seek to acquire as much information about them as possible, seeking academic sources as well as attempting to perform my own divination. After acquiring all of the available information, I then take a handy book on astrology and select those zodiacal signs for the seven planets that would best describe the spirit, developing its personality from a host of descriptions and clues. The end result is a really good approximation of what I think that spirit’s personality would be like if it were an actual person. When that defined persona is joined with the summoned spirit, it acts like a control over how the spirit reacts and responds, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any surprises or any amazing things discovered. It only signifies that the parameters and boundaries have been set, everything else is open to the dynamic range of possibilities that can occur whenever human beings interact with spirits.

I hope this article has given you some further and helpful information about how we invoke spirits in the Order of the Gnostic Star. It’s a very different, and I think, unique methodology, but it also works quite well. Stay tuned for the next article in this series, which will focus on the Mystery Gateway that is used in this system of invocation.

Frater Barrabbas

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nature of Spirits That Are Invoked and Evoked

Now that I have defined invocation and evocation, I should also write an operational definition of spirits, since they are the target of an invocation or evocation. This section is extracted from an unpublished document in the archives of the Order of the Gnostic Star.

The techniques of invocation and evocation are centered around the phenomenon of the individual spiritual entity and its domain. The concept of a spirit has varied considerably over time and across cultures. However, the operational definition of a spirit is simply stated as “a being that exists in the field of consciousness without a physical body.” There is a symbolic or metaphorical quality to such a being, and therefore it can assume numerous shapes depending upon the expectations of the observer. Some occultists propose that a spirit actually has a body or field through which it acts as a collective being, and this body consists of an energy analogous to the most subtle of auric emanations, which are completely invisible to the human eye. This energy is definitely not part of the electromagnetic spectrum and therefore is not even an energy as defined by modern physics. For this reason, it’s probably better not to discuss spirits as having a physical basis in reality, but they can powerfully influence people and events in the physical world.

The guise that I typically see spirits most often assume when they manifest is an egg-shaped globe of extremely subtle light. This guise is made perceptible through the ritual process of invocation, which unites the spirit's bodiless entity with an aetheric elemental envelope (produced by the Octagon Power Elemental vortex). This means that a spirit appears to have some degree of substance to it, but that is likely an illusion. Spirits can pass through solid objects and seem not to be restricted by the limitations imposed by the physical laws operating within the four dimensions of space and time. Spirits can assume various shapes when they impact human awareness through the imagination, and they can enter an object or person and possess it.

Spirits do not exist in isolation but are part of an extensive hierarchy. Spirits also have their own place or domain that is part of what is called the Inner Planes, or the World of Spirit. The higher the evolutionary quality of consciousness that a spirit has achieved, the higher the hierarchical level in which it resides, and the more varied its symbolic domain. Magicians who are properly managing their spiritual discipline restrict their activities to spirits who are bornless and part of the Inner Plane hierarchy. This often (but not always) excludes spirits of the dead and other earth-bound entities that have not evolved to the level of the Qabbalistic World of Yetzirah, and are not part of the angelic or daemonic spiritual hierarchy. However, this does not exclude Elementals, Planetary Intelligences or ancestral spirits that are part of the magician’s spiritual family or religious system.

The highest level of the spiritual hierarchy is, of course, the God-head, which establishes the level of Atziluth within the Inner Planes.  But the highest level of an individual spirit is the level of Briah, and this is the domain of the spirits known as the Archangels. The consciousness of an Archangelic Spirit is vast and great when compared to the consciousness of an individual human. It’s like comparing an individual human being to a being consisting of a vast composite consciousness (egregore), which we could imagine in the form of the sentient population of an entire planet that has evolved beyond its individual physical embodiment and has become unified in all respects (our ultimate destiny). These spirits are boundless and cosmic, and this is why I refer to them as stellar intelligences, because their breadth of vision is astronomical. Of course, Archangelic entities were never born but existed as emanations from the God-head, so they are the direct mediators of the Absolute Spirit. Lesser spirits, such as those of the Yetziratic level (angelic rulers) represent smaller bases of sentience and authority, but are no less impressive when compared to even the most evolved individual human being (with exception to Avatars and other incarnations of the Godhead).

As I have stated in another document (Treatise on Angel Magick), there are also angelic beings who are tightly associated with the Godhead, and these are known as the super archangels, such as the Seraphim and the Cherubim. These spirits represent the fiery and inspirational intermediaries to the Godhead, and faithfully represent that supreme entity in its association with lesser beings. Since the Deity is completely unified, all of its components act as a unified whole. However, for the sake of simplicity, we may perceive and even use facets of the Godhead in our rituals and ceremonies, knowing that the Deity is a paradox in which the many manifestations represent both a plurality and singularity to that entity.

The primary difference between human consciousness and the consciousness of a spiritual entity is that the human egoic distinction between the self and not-self boundaries are sharply defined, based as they are on the physical body; whereas ego-less spirits do not have the same sense of distinctness and uniqueness. This is because a human being, like all living sentient physical beings, has a highly developed identity that is based upon its physical body. Human beings are only partially aware of their connection to other beings within the ocean of consciousness. The spiritual dimension of a human being resides within his or her higher self, wherein the experience of the unity of consciousness is primary. A spirit is aware of its union with all other conscious entities and uses its personal identity only as a means to focus itself so that it may temporarily function as an independent individual; otherwise it is only a participant in the undifferentiated mass of unified consciousness.

In the classical evaluation of spirits, there are three groups in which a spirit may be a member. These groups have functioned in the past as a definition of the alignment of a spirit to the Judeo-Christian God, as presented in various theological perspectives. Angels are positively aligned, while daemons are negatively aligned. Another class of spirits are nonaligned and therefore neutral (nature spirits), but usually they are classified as negative by the more zealous practitioners of the religions of monotheism.

However, a more practical method of classification defines and establishes two functional classifications; namely, the position within a spiritual hierarchy wherein the spirit resides, and the types of motivating energies that characterize it. The former method of classification identifies the familial connections and powers of authority that a spirit possesses. It is also a technique of identifying through the Qabbalah that spirit's qualities. The latter method (defining the motivating energies) develops the concept of an angel and daemon as it relates to the dualistic expression of a spirit's energies. An angel's energy pattern is linear and its mode of intelligence is expressed as pure symbolic logic. I use the term angle to more aptly describe its angular mode of cogitation.

A daemon's energy pattern is circular and its mode of intelligence is expressed as the emotionally charged symbolism of the collective unconscious mind, (i.e., issues, struggles, complexes). A daemon is not an evil entity, but it is strongly emotional, intellectually recursive and represents the nonlinear reality of what in Physics is called curved space. An angel represents the factors of the archetypal intelligences of the Absolute Spirit, while the daemons represent the factors of spiritual transformation. Thus angels symbolically represent the archetypal masculine and daemons symbolically represent the archetypal feminine aspect of the Unified Spirit. Upon closer examination, one will observe that many of the names of the daemons are distortions of the names of pagan Gods and Goddesses, (such as Ashtoreth, being actually a derivation of Astarte). In this manner, also, is the bias against the daemons for the angels, as particularly revealed in the chauvinistic patriarchal religions whose source is the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) .

However, the concepts of good and evil are irrelevant to the super-conscious minds of spirits and also to those humans who have attained to the Qabbalistic World level of Yetzirah. From the perspective of the higher three Qabbalistic worlds there is no division perceived between individuals; for all is as one within the Absolute Spirit. Yet these concepts of good and evil are important to those who still exist at the level of Assiah, and this includes most of present humanity. Cultural ethics are necessary for those people who still exist in a state divorced from the absolute source of consciousness, and who reside in the isolated state of over developed personal identities. Thus laws and their enforcement keep the various factions of humanity from annihilating each other (or at least they try to). For the magician, culturally determined morals are useless; thus the requirement for strict individual spiritual ethics and their enforcement through a spiritual discipline.

Understanding the qualities of a spirit’s character and its function will assist the magician in classifying it. However, the principle question that arises is: "What is the particular guiding factor that a magician uses to choose a specific spirit for invocation?" The guiding factor is, of course, determined by his or her spiritual need. Adepts have established their spiritual directives through the manifestation of the Higher Self, and these directives determine what is needed to augment their spiritual process of evolution. This directive is seldom completely known because it resides in the spiritual consciousness of one's Higher Self and is usually discovered in parts and in stages in the spiritual development of the adept.

However, a more simple method of determining whom to invoke is to discover the pure Qabbalistic derivation of one's personal God-form, as established by the Initiation for the Third Degree in the Order of the E.S.S.G. By assigning this God-form to its associated symbolic essence, you can make a comparison with the various Sephiroth of the Tree of Life and find one that most closely approximates it. You may consult with various Qabbalistic correspondences (such as those found in the book 777) to assist in this process. The resultant selected Sephirah is then examined to reveal the Spiritual Hierarchy associated with it. This hierarchy represents all the spirits which are pertinent to your spiritual requirements for growth and spiritual evolution.

Adepts, through their spiritual alignment, will invoke the Qabbalistic God-form and the associated archangel. They may also identify the Elemental Godhead and proceed to invoke the associated super archangels. Yet the process of invocation and evocation principally concerns itself with the Qabbalistic World of Yetzirah and the astral Zodiac, wherein reside the Angelic Ruling Spirits of the thirty-six decanates who possess specific qualities and who control various servitors that are the expressions of their power and authority. It is to these spirits that the process of invocation is most efficacious, and from this population adepts may choose one or more for their magickal workings. The spirit that is invoked becomes part of their personal spiritual process and therefore great care must be exercised in the selecting of a spirit for invocation and evocation.

One other method of selecting the angel of the decan is the Tarot - since the thirty-six decans are analogous to the thirty-six naib or pip cards of the Lesser Arcana (2 - 10 of each of the four suits). A re-occurring card of this class that constantly appears in a Tarot reading may be an indication that an invocation of that associated angel of the decan would be appropriate. You can also pick one of the these Tarot cards as indicative of the issues that you face and start from that point. For instance, if the affairs of love was an over-riding issue in your life, then the angel of the decan associated with the Two of Cups would be an excellent choice to assist you in resolving those issues. There are thirty-six different cards in the section of the Tarot, and each represents issues or challenges that affect the life of a human being, and these are a perfect way of categorizing life experiences and determining a supernatural remedy for them.

I hope this little section has given you some insights as to the nature of a spirit, it’s functionality and its domain or residence. Having a good definition of spirits greatly aids the ritual or ceremonial magician who seeks to either invoke or evoke them.

Frater Barrabbas

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Abramelin Lunar Ordeal - All Previous Posts

I have decided to post an article that has all of the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal posts in chronological order, so that you can examine them, from first to last. Attempting to do this from the index entry will produce a list in descending order, so this one will more readily assist any of my readers to see these article postings in the order that they were originally made.

There are a total of seventeen articles (not including this one) that mentioned the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal. Here they are in the sequential order by date.  Enjoy.

1.  Beginning of the Ordeal
2.  Ritual Pattern of the Archetypal Gate
3.  First Weekend.
4.  Second Weekend.
5.  Third Weekend.
6.  Fourth Weekend.
7.  Ogdoadic Godhead Element.
8.  Final Three Days.
9.  Summary and Conclusion.
10. Additional Thoughts.
11. Mid-Year Considerations.
12. Going Forward Into the New Year.
13. Anniversary.
14. Final and New Ritual.
15. Spring Workings
16. Phase One of Final Working.
17. Phase Two of Final Working.

Frater Barrabbas

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some Thoughts About Invocation and Evocation

Continuing with my articles on the methodologies of practicing invocation and evocation in the system of magick promoted by the Order of the Gnostic Star, I thought that I would extract some paragraphs from an unpublished document circulated in that organization. I felt that it would be a good idea to start with the definitions of invocation and evocation, since the way that these terms are used in the Order are different than how they are used in ceremonial magick. Whether you agree with these definitions or not, this is how we decided to define these terms, and I think an honest examination of them will show that they are unremarkable and rather functional. I will let you decide what you think of this bit of revisionism.


I have written this treatise on magickal evocation to lay the groundwork for the advancement of the practice of ritual magick. The previous work, as found in the teachings and practices of the Order have been confined to lesser but necessary practices, which lead you to the ultimate task of attempting to summon and materialize a spirit, whether it be an angel, nature spirit, or daemon. In antiquity, a person was not considered a real magician unless he or she had a familiar spirit, i.e., a spirit helper that was summoned and constrained by the magician. Although the nomenclature has changed somewhat over the passage of centuries, this task remains the greatest challenge that you, a student magician, may attempt to accomplish.

However, the only materials that exist to guide you in learning how to master this art are manuscripts and published grimoires, many of which were a product of the late middle ages and the renaissance. These books, although required study by anyone who seeks the path of magick, are dated, filled with errors, and accompanied with a mind-state only the most orthodox of Christians or Jews would possess today, and none of them would be so bold or foolish as to attempt to perform the rites of the old grimoires. What is required is for an experienced magician to lay down a complete system of advanced ritual magick in a manner that you, an intermediate level magician, would find it easily accessible, and this is what I have attempted to do with this article.

As I have mentioned above, the true test of any person who aspires to be a magician is the accomplishment of magickal evocation. While the conjuration of Elementals and planetary or talismantic intelligences will allow magicians to control and influence themselves or their environment, the evocation of spiritual intelligences will grant them additional spiritual guidance, and greatly influence the events in their life-process.  The difference between the mere practitioner of magick and an adept is particularly emphasized by the adept's performance of rituals of evocation. Adepts are less concerned with controlling themselves and their environment and more focused upon the process of their own spiritual evolution, and so the practice of magickal evocation is the appropriate de rigeur for them.

The path of adepthood begins with their assumption of spiritual responsibilities, both for themselves and for others less spiritually evolved. Adepts have completed the psychological process of the exploration of their lower self, and have attained a level of mastery of it, which is internalized and maintained by their basic spiritual discipline. Their new focus is the exploration of the higher self and the discovery of their true spiritual purpose and ultimate destiny. From the standpoint of ritual magick, this new quest can only be assisted through intercourse with spiritual intelligences and by an exposure to the various realities encountered through path working. Therefore, magickal evocation is the key to fulfilling the requirements of adepthood. When adepts develop the ability to contact spiritual entities and to walk the Qabbalistic Pathways of the Inner Planes, the beginning of spiritual mastery is finally established.

Definitions of Terms

Traditional definitions of evocation and invocation are confusing. That is, they do not distinguish the fact that there are two actually distinct functional processes found within the magickal ritual process called evocation. As traditionally defined, these two magickal process cause a spiritual entity to be both summoned and projected into the conscious world of the magician. The traditional definition of evocation consists of the operations that manifest daemons or neutral spirits (goetia), and the traditional definition of invocation is the operation of summoning God-forms or good spirits (i.e., Godforms, Archangels and angels via theurgia). However, in the techniques of spiritual magick there would be little difference in the methods used to summon either daemons or angels.

Essentially, there are two functional processes that are necessary to spiritual magick; these ritual processes summon the target spirit and cause its manifestation, focusing its essence so that it may be projected into the mundane world.  Specifically, the first function assists the magician to make a connection with the spirit and develop its image, ideal form and characteristics; thus giving the entity a manifested body of light through which it may interact only with the magician inside his magick circle.  The second process is where the energy and personality of the spirit is constrained to a specific purpose and exteriorized into the mundane plane from the Inner Planes, thereby actualizing the transforming potency of the spiritual contact. The first function is an internal summoning or invocation (invocare: to call in), and the second function is an external projection or evocation (exvocare: to call out). In order to precisely define the two processes involved with spiritual magick, I have chosen to ignore the traditional definitions and adopt the functional definitions in their stead. In this article I shall use these terms in the strict sense of their function.

In addition to the processes of invocation and evocation, the magician is also concerned with path working, and this process is accomplished through either skrying or astral projection. Whereas invocation establishes the spiritual contact and evocation projects the influence of the spirit into the mundane world, the operation of path working opens the world of the spiritual entity to the magician. The technique of skrying allows the magician to passively observe the domain of the spirit without having to interact with it. In this manner, visions and symbolic concepts are communicated between the two worlds. The magician may analyze and note these phenomena while they are occurring. The technique of astral projection allows the magician to dynamically interact with the spirit in its  domain and to experience initiatory revelations therein. In this manner the spiritual world reveals its secret knowledge through immersion, and the resultant ordeal causes a profound transformation in the magician.

So that’s how I define these terms, giving them an operational context. Future articles will use these specific and operant definitions when describing the methodologies used in the Order. In addition, I am assembling a book that will contain not only these articles and discussions, but also the actual rituals that are used in this system.

Frater Barrabbas

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Phase Two of Final Abramelin Lunar Ordeal Working

The strenuous labor and long period of discovery for this ordeal is now over, and I can begin to relate my final experiences of the last two evenings and Sunday morning. On Friday, May 13, I performed the Bornless One Envisioning Rite in its entirety, even though the directions specified a three day period of meditating before completion. I felt that having undergone this process for over eighteen months, I didn’t need to wait any further to complete this ordeal. Within myself, I felt as if everything was completely in order and in readiness. So, I followed my intuition as is my rule in the art of magick, and was not disappointed with the results. It was wholly and completely mind blowing, and I am still reeling from its effects.

My dreams leading up to this event have been quite vivid and instructive, and they gave me a strong sense of completion and fullness. I was more than ready to begin this working, and therefore more than prepared to undergo whatever impact it was to have on me. I am delighted to state that I found the Bornless One Envisioning ritual itself to be highly effective and more intense and powerful than anything that I have previously experienced. I had no difficulties in performing it, and was able to get everything worked out, particularly the substitutions that needed to be incorporated.

The Abramelin Lunar Ordeal, now a completed suite of rituals and workings, is not only highly effective, but is even more resplendent in its overall effects for the adherent than what I had originally thought. I can’t but recommend this new method to others who are interested in experiencing a pathway to personal illumination through the art of ritual magick. With respect to those who have faithfully followed the traditional Abramelin ordeal, I believe that I have developed a suitable alternative that others, who do not have the privilege of devoting from six to eighteen months exclusively to this working, may follow and achieve a similar end. That is, of course, my opinion, and those who might be critical of my efforts will have to at least judge it by performing the rituals and experiencing them for themselves. Needless to say, I should report what I experienced as part of my final engagement with this ordeal, since nothing more afterwards will need to be said.

I have completed this long struggle and I am so very glad that it is finally done - but what an amazing journey it has been! The total irony of this working is that it took me exactly, to the day, eighteen months to complete, which is the same amount of time specified for the German version of the traditional Abramelin ordeal. It has been something of wild ride at times, where I seemed to be floating a foot or two off the ground, so intense was the overall impact and its affect on me. Presently, I feel quite grounded and completely sober, which is so unlike what I felt over a year ago. Then, I needed to process everything that hadn’t been processed in my past, and I needed to figure out the final and most important ritual in the working, which was the Alchemical Hierogamy Rite of Union, based on the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencruetz.

Determining and developing that last rite took me over a year, but once I was able to deploy it, the other pieces all fell into place. I would assume that anyone else who would perform this ordeal,  now that the complete suite of rituals has been written up, would take them around seven weekends to complete. Then, of course, the envisioning rite would be performed at the next available full moon. Still, that final working shouldn’t be performed until the magician’s internal state is fully resolved and all issues, past and present, have been adequately processed.

For those who might not fully understand the functionality of this rite, the Bornless One Envisioning is used to both realize and project into the future the full nature of one’s True Will, incorporating a charged and consecrated black mirror for this purpose. This ritual was distilled and developed from a group of rituals in the PGM (Greek Magical Papyrus in Translation) used for performing divination by skrying into a pool of ink. I had adapted these rituals into one monumental working that would divine through the HGA the nature of the magician’s past, present identity and future destiny. The divination rite is therefore split into three parts, representing the necessity for the magician to know his past, know who he is, and know what his future will be. Some of these questions can be answered by the magician, others require the intermediation of the HGA. This rite incorporates a two way methodology in regards to divination - passive perception and active projection. The objective of this rite is to project the magician’s desired and realized destiny into the future, thereby making it fully capable of being realized in the present.

Let me now relate all that happened to me on that last set of days when I performed the final ritual working in the Abramelin Lunar Ordeal.

Envisioning Rite - First Evening - Friday, May 13, 2011 (from 9:45 pm to around 12:45 am)

As I have stated previously, I decided to do the entire ritual the first night of the working. I would follow it up with smaller workings on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. On Saturday, I would just say the Mass of the Goddess and intone the Hidden Stele and the Death Delivering Stele. On Sunday, I would just intone the two Stele to complete the working. I would perform an impromptu skrying session on Saturday evening after the Mass, but only briefly connect with the black mirror on Sunday morning. Two other substitutions were also decided on for the working. I would forgo wearing a crown of ivy (because the season is still so early) and I would bless my cincture instead of using a strip of linen with words written on it, functioning as a kind of phylactery.

These are the order of ritual actions to be performed the first evening before performing the Envisioning rite:

1. Perform ablutions and then set a consecrated magick circle.
2. Bless the cincture before saying Mass, intoning the invocation instead of wearing it around my waist as a phylactery. This was well received, so I then completed the vesting for the Mass.
3. Perform the Mass of the Great Goddess up to the point of performing communion, then perform the following operations while there is still sacrament available.

  • Intone the invocations of the Hidden Stele and Death Delivering Stele
  • Bless the magick ring for a second time (the ring is the link to the HGA). I put on the ring, said the activating word and then summoned the HGA. The result of these operations produced a highly enhanced sensation of the HGA, and the ring was tingling with magick power.
  • Consecrate the magick squares from the Book of Abramelin (selected squares printed on parchment) with sacral wine and charge with the directed power of the HGA.

I then completed the magickal Mass and proceeded with the Envisioning rite.

The intoned invocations from the Hidden Stele and the Death Delivering Stele (both of which are from the PGM) produced an incredible intensity of magickal power. I felt myself briefly enter into a trance state where I saw points of light form various kinds of star formulations and even heard some kind of celestial tinkling, like some vast, distant glass wind chime. I felt intoxicated, and a rush of euphoria filled my heart. I had to rest momentarily while I processed these experiences. I thought to myself that this is certainly quite an auspicious occurrence for the beginning of this working.

Bornless One Envisioning Rite: I wrote this ritual more than eighteen months ago, but it has never been performed by me until now. I was amazed at how well it flowed and appeared to build up the power. The invocations taken from the PGM were astonishingly powerful. I could not believe how potent these incantations were, and their overall magickal effect was completely amazing. I doubt that some of these incantations have been used in magick for nearly a couple of millennia, but they had lost nothing in the passage of time. I performed the macro-rite to summon the HGA, but of course, it was already very much present. Still, I sensed it joyously respond to the remedial summoning, making me feel as though I were enclosed in golden column of light. I then set the inverted Rose Ankh device to each of the four Angles and the center of the circle, and the accompanied incantations taken from the PGM made the performance vastly more intense and powerful. At this point in the ritual, the combined devices generated a kind of network of manifesting and empowering forces that seemed to transform the temple into some kind of royal emplacement. I almost expected to see a throne room and the royal chambers of some magnificent palace. The vortex had generated through its fused energies a kind of royal domain with the black mirror set at its core.

These final actions brought me to the place where the black mirror was ensconced, and as I sat before it I made invoking spirals over it with my transmutar wand. As I did this, while intoning additional PGM incantations, the black mirror began to glow and pulsate, going from an obsidian black to a silver white orb at intervals. I felt myself pulled into this pulsating orb, and it opened up, becoming like a vast tunnel or worm-hole between worlds, revealing itself as a kind of silver lattice structure surrounded by inky blackness. I found myself drawn deep into it, and it was as if I was within a tunnel, but it also seemed like it was within me, simultaneously. When I got to the point in the incantation where I was supposed to utter a series of magickal words like an Egyptian Baboon, the illusion ceased for a moment (due to my mirth), but then quickly reasserted itself. I then proceeded to contemplate upon the vastness of the black mirror, performing first an inquiry and projection for my past, present self-definition, and then my life’s destiny. These were the three Eyes (or I’s) in the Triangle - and I made this sign into the black mirror before starting each period of contemplation.

Contemplation on where I have been: I saw so many images of my past consisting of all of the most important and strategic moments, all of which led me to become who I am today. I saw these as a very rapid progression from the earliest memories to the present moment, yet each scene evolved slowly and fully, while my mind’s eye had already gone on to the next event. After a short while it seemed that all of these memories were unfolding simultaneously, creating a vast illusion of time and events occurring all at once. It was an amazing thing to behold, and I imagined that one perceives this when death is fully realized. At that moment, I felt a powerful thought overwhelm me that “I must fully accept everything that has happened to me as a product of my True Will and the power of fate and necessity.” I bowed to this wisdom, and felt all of these memories coalesce into a single point of light, and then enter deep into my soul. The black mirror became dark again, but only for a moment.

Contemplation on who I am - my true identity: The mirror blazed forth again, but this time I saw and felt the full force of my HGA, it entered into my being and filled me with joy, happiness, wholeness and an intoxicating euphoria. Because I had wed my HGA with the Element Godhead, it appeared to have a greater power and affinity for me, unlike at any previous time when I had performed the Bornless One invocation. Through the HGA I received a powerful and total sense of who I am, where I have been and what I must do to complete my life. I was told by it that the key to my future spiritual enfoldment was to cultivate spiritual love, bliss and ecstasy, and to realize this when summoning my higher self. Through this agency, I will experience the continual spiritual evolution that leads to mastery. Then the mirror went dark for the second time.

Contemplation on my ultimate destiny: I have accepted that I am now gone deep into middle age, and that I am passing into my final years of life. I have accomplished much, but so much yet remains to be done. My inner fear is that I will not have time to complete everything that I want to complete, in order to leave behind an effective legacy - a true measure of immortality. Yet what I have seen is that the most interesting and amazing events of my life have not yet occurred, and that I must learn to live at a far greater level than what I have been doing lately. I asked for the time and longevity to complete my work, and saw that indeed I could very well be long lived, if I work at ensuring that my gift of life is not squandered. I must work at being more healthy, and I can’t take anything for granted. The future is indeterminate, so what I have left of my years of productive life may be a decade, two or even three, but I can, by my actions, extend my life.

Yet death comes to all living beings, and I am no exception. Nothing is granted or pre-ordained to me or anyone, everything must be earned by steadfast commitments and hard, tireless work. I sensed that a number of procrastinating issues and tasks for me had been overturned, and I was now free to complete a number of outstanding tasks. I felt blessed, protected, loved and wisely guided by the HGA that was now fully activated and enshrouding me like a luminous golden cloud. Yet this great spirit was also inside of me, looking at the world through my eyes, and feeling the joy of life through my heart.

Once these events had transpired, the black mirror seemed to turn silvery white, and felt my will come from within me and project into the future that has not yet been determined. I sought to know in the remaining years of my life a profound stable simplicity, to be divested of all of the clutter and chaos of competing desires and ambitions, and to be refined and honed to one single aspiration. This aspiration was to be one with my HGA, and to waken from death seeing through its eyes and thinking and feeling with its mind. More of this incredible phenomena I can’t relate, but it went on for seemingly forever, extending from my mere physical form into the infinity of the Godhead itself, where the boundaries of time and space melted away to nothing, revealing a single blazing supernova that filled my eyes and mind with dazzling and brilliant light. I sensed during this extended moment that the HGA was with me and in me, my eternal companion in all things.

I pulled myself away from looking into the black mirror and laid down to rest, to close my eyes so that they wouldn’t see anything more. But still I saw the brilliant light and felt the bliss and ecstatic happiness until I passed into unconsciousness for a time. Finally, I woke up, and the temple atmosphere was alive with tiny sparks of light barely perceived. I marveled at these for a moment, but then sealed the circle, covered up the black mirror and magickal tools, extinguished the lamps and candles and retired for the night. Yet I was given so little peace that evening afterwards, for the visions continued on in my head deep into the night.

Continuing the Working - Saturday, May 14, 2011 (from 9:55 pm to around 11:28 pm)

The second evening came, but I was exhausted and tired from the previous evening’s working. I stumbled through the days activities, but after a couple of naps and a good meal, I felt more refreshed and ready to start the next part of the working. But in truth, the greater part of the working was already completed, and it seemed that the next two incidents were just merely the final parts of an already magnicent conclusion.

I said the Mass, and then intoned the two Stele incantations, which were just as powerful as they were previously, and after the rites were completed, I unsealed the vortices and sat before the black mirror. I uncovered it, and expected that it would be dark and lusterless, but I was surprised that it was still luminescent, but not as startling as it was previously. However, what was imparted to me indicated that the greater manifestation had already occurred, but what remained was just as important.

I was told in some manner (perhaps in my head) that the past is now completed - there is no more to be extracted from it other than memories of what had once been. The future potential is there for me to harvest, since so much has already been established by years of practice, work and research. I have not been lax all of these years of my life. Yet the key to it all is the present moment - what I do here and now will give a final shape to my remaining years. There is so much to do before I finally experience an end to this life, and previously I had so much doubt and despair as to whether all of it could even be completed. Yet now I am not alone or without an important powerful spiritual ally. The HGA has now engaged itself to me in my quest for completion, and the addition of that magick should make the future to be quite interesting. Whatever my work brings to fruition, the greatest work is the simple process of bringing my higher self incrementally closer to me, until there is no difference. I have already begun this process, but its maintenance and continuation is both simple and succinct. It is wholly up to me to ensure that it is brought to complete manifestation and total realization. So what I felt from this revelation was the impending urge and need to get to work - there is so much to do, but the joy is in the doing!

That is all I received this night, and the next day, I just performed the intonation of the Hidden Stele and the Death Delivering Stele in the morning, and lit a stick of incense. I felt completely resolved. The working was completed, and so was the ordeal. I collected up all of the sigils that had been placed in the temple so many months ago, and now I could move on to other and newer challenges. I am grateful for what I have experienced, and I feel optimistic and blessed for what the rest of my life has in store for me.

Frater Barrabbas

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Power Octagon for Invocation

I have already described in detail the nature of the Power Octagon that is used to generate and summon an Elemental. I have also indicated that the Elemental is the building block for advanced magickal workings, such as invocation and evocation. With these two points already made, I would like to demonstrate how the Power Octagon can be modified to generate what would be described as an energy envelope or container through which a spirit can be summoned and given a quasi energy form.

Since the type of magickal system that I use to invoke spirits seeks to define their strategic components, and then when combining them through magickal fusion, generate a simulacrum of that spirit, the foundation for that kind of working lies in the specialized Power Octagon that is used to materialize an aetheric body. The basic premise that I use is that a qualified energy formulation (Power Octagon) is joined to a precise expression of a spiritual intelligence (Activated Septagram), and through an empowered gateway of invocation (Mystery Gateway), these parts are caused to join to become a fully realized and manifested spirit, emulating the entity that the magician sought to invoke. In such a system, developing and refining a highly condensed and relational symbolic matrix through which a spirit is defined and invoked is of paramount importance. However, the specialized Power Octagon acts as the foundation, and we need to analyze this specialized ritual and its structure to help us make sense of the entire process of invocation, as it is deployed using this methodology.

The ritual devices used in the specialized Power Octagon are the inverted and obverse invoking pentagrams, the pylon and the cross roads. An inverted invoking pentagram produces a kind of anti-element force, and is rarely used by most other organizations. It is much more common in the ritual workings of the Order, since it is the natural compliment of the obverse invoking pentagram. Inverted devices are selectively used in the Order, so not every device has its inverted opposite. The pylon has already been discussed, and for that matter, so has the creation of a cross roads through the use of opposing Watchtowers or Angles. Still, this Power Octagon uses two sets of cross roads to produce two different phenomena simultaneously - a vortex container and a mystery domain where the worlds of spirit and matter intersect. Thus eight points are drawn together at the Infra-point (nadir) of the magick circle. In that nexus point is placed a rectangular talismanic trigon, which has painted on it the Lamen of the magician or the temple.

Four pylons are erected at the four Watchtowers, with each one consisting of supporting element invoking pentagrams at the base and the apex. The base of the pylon is set with an obverse invoking pentagram and the apex, with an inverted invoking pentagram, symbolizing the joining of the base element with its anti-element qualifier. Each pylon is characterized by a specific Elemental force, summoned with its own Enochian call, and these four pylons are drawn together through the device of a cross-roads that connects the Watchtowers to the Infra-point in the center. The second set of cross-roads, applied to the four Angles, establishes a kind of anchor that bestows a high degree of stability to the overall ritual structure (making it into a rather solid focal container). Because the four Elementals are drawn together, they no longer function as separate forces or entities, but as a collage or a fusion of energies blended into a singularity.

Since the Watchtowers function as placements for four selected Elementals, the Angles are used to hold devices representing some variation on the symbology of the divine tetrad. In the case of the Order, the Angles are set with devices characterizing the tetrasacramentary of Thelema (Rose or Iron Cross), Thanatos (Pshent or Pisces Cross), Agape (Hexagramic cross) and Eros (Rose Ankh). Each Angle would also be set with some kind of formula and declaration.

A final action performed in this ritual structure of the angular cross-roads is where a penultimate magickal device is drawn in the Ultra-point (zenith) of the magick circle, and a pylon (consisting of an invoking spiral) joins the trigon in the Infra-point with the device in the Ultra-point. This device, as depicted in the Order, is a symbol of the Grail itself, which looks like the antique version of the symbol of the planet Pluto. (You can find this engraved on the central chalice in the Lamen of the Order.) Coincidentally, the devices and declarations established at the four Angles and the Ultra-point are also depicted in some geometrical manner on the Lamen trigon placed in the center of the circle. Thus, the four Angles and the Ultra-point give a kind of metaphysical qualification to the foundation of the Power Octagon.

The last two elements of this specialized Power Octagon consist of widdershins and deosil vectors set at the periphery of the magick circle, thereby joining all eight points into a unified expression of both coalescing and exteriorizing forces. Once this is done, the Power Octagon is fully activated and able to function as a power-base for other types of ritual workings, most notably, the rite of invocation.

Further workings, such as an invocation of a spirit, would require the preliminary steps of performing a magickal Mass and a benediction, which would make the temple domain highly sacralized and energized. These two rituals are part of the essential repertoire of the practicing ritual magician who would seek to use this methodology. 

To continue, the magician then proceeds to build other structures overlaying the Power Octagon, beginning with the Activated Septagram. I have discussed this structure previously, but this ritual structure consists of the drawing of an inner circle, then the placement of the charged Septagram talismanic trigon therein, and finally, the erection of four Rose Ankh devices (charged with an ultra-violet colored energy) to the four Watchtowers, joined to a Rose Ankh device set at the Infra-point, overlaying the Septagram. The four Watchtowers are joined to the Infra-point, and then a widdershins spiral is set over them, producing a magnetically charged invoking vortex. For this particular working, the Septagram talisman would be placed on top of the Lamen trigon, thus physically demonstrating the layering of ritual structures.

Once this is accomplished, then the magician intones the first invocation of the spirit proper and declares the authority (spiritual hierarchy) through which that is accomplished, ritually establishing that the summoning of that entity has been initiated. Then the magician performs a series of planetary invocations, progressing through all seven planets and qualifying them with astrological signs, thereby building a kind of neural network of planetary intelligences that are specifically associated with the spirit. Once this has been completed, then a second invocation is performed, and also the Imago of the spirit is declared. The imago is a qualified description of all of the various characteristics of the spirit, which can include physical features. The final act is where the magician performs another invocation of the spirit, but this time using a sacred language or barbarous tongue as a kind of empowered exhortation compelling the spirit to appear.

Combining the specialized Power Octagon with the Activated Septagram functioning at its core can, by itself, materialize a spirit into a proper type of invocative manifestation. This union produces what is called in the Order, the Quintedecim Complex, or the ritual structure of Fifteen (8 + 7). There is a custom rectangular trigon that has painted on it an octagon, with a septagram and a triangle within it. That device is placed over the stack of the Lamen and Septagram trigons in the center of the circle. (The logo for this blog is represented by that image of the superimposition of octagon, septagram and triangle.)

Still, to fully realize the power and intelligence of the summoned spirit, the magician performs another specialized ritual that incorporates additional attributes into this working. Such additional elements that it contains are the trapezoidal vortex, an empowered underworld gateway, and through the artifice of sacramental alchemy, the magician charges an internal triangle of invocation and installs therein the blessed sigil of the spirit. Then to gain full immersion, the magician performs the bodily discipline of chakra alignment and assumes a deep trance state induction facilitated by the Lotus 7-Breath prana-yama technique. Through these additional ritual actions, the magician enters completely and thoroughly into the domain of the spirit, therein fully experiencing, through immersion, its manifested personality and actualized spiritual attributes. This gateway operation is a Mystery Gate, and is rightfully called, in the Order, the “Gate of Revealing.”

I will discuss the Activated Septagram and the Gate of Revealing in future articles, but let us recap the ritual structure of the specialized Power Octagon that is used as the foundation for the process of invocation. This ritual pattern contains six basic steps, and I will highlight those steps, so that a capable student could write their own ritual. It is assumed that these steps are performed within a fully consecrated magick circle.

1. Place the rectangular Lamen talismanic trigon in the center of a consecrated magick circle. The blessed sigil of the spirit (if this is to be an invocation) is placed on the trigon, and both are charged with an inverted invoking pentagram of spirit superior (masculine).

2. Set the four watchtowers with a pylon characterized by a specific Elemental. The celebrant begins in the South, then proceeds to the North, then to the East, and finally, to the West. The first cross-roads is established by the activation of this ritual structure. The celebrant performs the following actions at each of the four Watchtowers.

  • Draws invoking pentagram of base element at base of pylon.
  • Draws inverted invoking pentagram of qualifying element at apex of pylon.
  • Draws invoking spiral joining base and apex together into a pylon structure.
  • Makes sign (representing element of Watchtowers), charges with visualized colored energy, declares formula letter/word.
  • Intones Enochian Call for Elemental.

3. Set in the center of the circle at the Infra-point with an invoking pentagram of Spirit Superior (masculine), then make the appropriate sign, charge with a visualized energy, and then declare the formula letter/word. The Enochian Call of Spirit (#2) should also be intoned.

While still in the center, the celebrant faces East and intones the formula keyword and gives a declaration of its meaning and significance. This action joins the primary five points of the circle into a unified structure.

4. Set the four Angles with the devices of the divine tetramorph, proceeding from the Southeast, to the Northwest, then to the Northeast, and finally, to the Southwest. The second cross-roads is established by the activation of this ritual structure. The following ritual actions are performed at each of the four Angles.

  • Draw tetramorphic device.
  • Charge device with a visualized colored energy.
  • Declare formula word and specific significance or meaning (can also use special invocation).

5. Set in the center of the circle at the Ultra-point the device of primacy (representing the joining of the tetramorph), charge device with colored energy, and then declare formula word and specific significance or meaning (can also use special invocation).

While still in the center of the circle, facing the West, the celebrant intones the formula keyword and gives a declaration of its meaning and significance. This action joins the secondary five points of the circle into a unified structure.

6. Celebrant, using the sword, draws the four Watchtowers and four Angles to the Infra-point, beginning in the South and proceeding widdershins around the circle. Then using either the sword or the staff, the celebrant traces the outer magick circle, first proceeding widdershins, then deosil. The celebrant then intones the intention of the work, usually in a sacred language that will also be used in the final invocation.

So, these are the six steps that are used to produce the specialized Power Octagon, a ritual structure that functions as a foundation for many other more advanced ritual workings. An important consideration for using this ritual structure is the variation associated with the magician’s choice of the four Elementals. Obviously, a magician could choose different Elementals, or Elementals with the same base element, or even the same Elemental at each of the four Watchtowers. There is also a slight variance depending on which Watchtower a specific Elemental is deployed, although when they are fused together, that variance would disappear. The specialized Power Octagon is the “work horse” for advanced ritual workings in the Order, and I have presented it here because I think you’ll find it both useful and interesting.

Frater Barrabbas

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lost Innocence and Youthful Rejection

I have often pondered how I got involved with witchcraft, ritual magick and paganism. What was the pivotal event that made me follow the obscure pathways of the occultist, instead of just being like everyone else. How and why was I supposedly different, or, was I even different than anyone else, really? When I was able answer these questions years later and then compare them to the stories that I had heard from other occultic and pagan spiritual seekers, did I see a pattern that we all seem to follow? Keep in mind that I wasn’t able to either reflect on these questions or even answer them intelligently until many years after I had impulsively elected to become a witch and a practitioner of the art of magick. I must say that I did see a pattern, and in fact, I discovered that I had more in common with all esoteric seekers of truth than I was willing to admit in the early years of my practice.

All I could say back then was something to the extent that it was in my blood, that I was somehow uniquely gifted and different than anyone else. Of course, that was my youthful ego talking and not any kind of reasoned and dispassionate analysis. Back then, it seemed like I was fighting a war with over zealous Christians who seemed eager to try and prove me wrong, to bring me back into the fold of the faithful. It was, in reality, an imaginary battle, since few probably really cared what spiritual path I took, so long as I did it quietly and discretely. Of course, being quiet and discrete were not parts of my character, so I went around with a chip on my shoulder, looking for someone to try to knock it off, and a few did try.

Like most recent converts to a cause, I saw the world broken up into two groups: those few who were my allies (other witches and pagans) and those who stood against me (everyone else). I believed that the world was coming to some kind of apocalyptic and climactic struggle, where the witches would rise up and seize their rightful place in the world despite centuries of persecution. I was not content with equality or acceptance in that elevation, since what I really sought was to be superior and better than everyone else, especially those who thought that Christianity was the only spiritual truth. I sought an elitist inversion of the world as it was, and believed that events would miraculously make it all happen.

Ever the pugnacious zealous witch, I aggressively sought out those who tried to paint me as diabolical or evil to confront and argue with them endlessly. I chose to view the world where I was the one with truth on my side, and the Christians, who supposedly persecuted me, were the evil ones. At that time, the entire Christian religion became for me a spiritual practice that was completely hypocritical and filled with evil - Jesus became a devil and Yahweh was Satan. Obviously, following that theme meant that the Serpent in the Garden, Satan and his demonic hoards, and all Biblical adversaries were good, or something like that. It was a decidedly antinomian time for me, and I am certain that it has had some residual effects on me even to this day. Still, it’s a good thing that I did change my attitude and beliefs and became more accepting of all forms of spirituality, especially those, who like me, sought the hidden and unknowable spiritual truths.
So how did I get to this mythic world view, and why did I believe that Christians were my evil adversaries? Why did the mystique of being a witch, with its dark shadowy ways and arcane beliefs and practices (or so I thought) become my passionate preoccupation. I think the simplest answer was that I had felt for some time that I didn’t fit in with my peers, and that I acted differently or strangely towards the obvious mythic tropes in my culture. When I saw horror movies, I vainly rooted for the monsters and the bad guys, and was sorry to see that they were vanquished at the end. I asked too many annoying questions, and in the arena of religion, couldn’t understand that some things were to be taken on faith and not questioned. I was derided and scoffed at by my father, and physically punished when I misbehaved. I seldom seemed to be part of the team or an accepted member of the family. I was a reluctant son who seemed unable to do anything to please my father. Before I reached puberty, I was already deemed a failure and consigned to lower expectations - a true underachiever. These experiences caused me to behave in a fashion where I wasn’t readily accepted by my peers, and that led to a kind of painful rejection. I was weird, clumsy and socially awkward, and not particularly gifted at much of anything. I took everything for granted and didn’t attempt to excel at anything. I often felt gloomy, unhappy, and discontent when it came to my parents, peers and the education system.

Yet I was not inclined to depression, and in fact I was naively optimistic about everything. Things might be bad now, I felt, but they would magically get better, just as soon as the world discovered how great I really was. I lived a separate existence in my imagination, and found within it an escape from the depressing day to day grind that living with my family produced in me. That imagination grew more powerful over time, and within it, I soared to great heights, even though my presence in the waking world was below par at best. All I needed was for something to catch my imagination and ignite my passions, and it would be fueled with an endless supply of imagination. When I was seventeen, I found that thing, but it was something that my father and my peers completely rejected. I discovered that I had a talent for witchcraft and magick! It was the early seventies, and the counter culture was already a well established although decaying force within the youth culture. Outside of my staid peer group at my local high school, I discovered a world where my interests and beliefs had quite a bit of currency. I saw my pathway to being hip, cool and oh-so deep, and impulsively jumped in with both feet!

Publically declaring myself a witch in 1972 was quite problematic. Where before this event I found myself desperately seeking to be accepted by my peers, I was now avidly seeking their rejection. Before this transition I had felt awkward, inadequate and pathetic in every way, now I was a young man of mystery and magick. I felt a final bitter slap of rejection from most of my peer group, and I, in turn, bitterly rejected them and everything that they had represented to me. I now wore black belled sleeve shirts, occult jewelry, fancy belts and boots. My hair was left to grow long, and I stopped attempting to shave, making me into a kind of scruffy innocent. I pretended to be witchy, dark, all-knowing, occultic and even an object of fear for some, since I had no problem with the deceitful gossip that others spread about me - in fact, I helped it along.

Yet the veneer of occult cool hid a core of insecurity, naivety and the fact that I was still sexually a virgin. I pretended to be savvy to the dark side of the spiritual byways, but in fact I was something of a naif and a total innocent. That would, unfortunately, change - I even eagerly and stupidly looked forward to it. I had to grow up sometime, and in fact, as a true slacker, I had put that off as long as I could. My searching and insatiable curiosity would catch up with me, and I would meet a man who, disguised as an enlightened and masterful teacher, would be in fact an arbiter of true evil. To that man and his wife, I lost my innocence, but that story has already been told to my readers. His name was Christopher Syn, also known as Bill Schnoebelen, and he showed me the nature of true evil because I had so desperately wanted to know it. He introduced me to practices and people that did nothing to help me evolve, instead, it showed me the implicit wrongness of things and helped me to know how not to do things or treat people. He burned me with a delusional ego-trip that lasted for four long years, and in the end, my soul was filled with darkness and regret. However, knowing true evil and not completely succumbing to it was a great test for any initiate, since overcoming it will powerfully aid one in the long process of self healing and redemption.

I chose my spiritual path because I felt rejected by my peers, so I rejected them in turn. I sought out the peculiar paths of occultism, witchcraft and magick because I felt that I was different, unique and sensitive to things that others couldn’t sense. Perhaps there was truth in this, but spiritual quests and ultimate service can have multiple paths. I could have become a preacher or a clinical psychologist.

Still, I identified too much with the cultural theme of the adversary, and I guess you could say that it was in my blood. I selected my spiritual path because it was considered by many to be adversarial, antinomian and diabolical. I sought, in a sense, the darkness, because that is where I believed I would find the answers to the mysteries. I was partially correct, but in order to realize the mysteries, one must also return to the light in order to manifest them. In seeking the darkness, I lost my youthful innocence, but I gained the knowledge of good and evil, ethical and moral considerations and above all, self acceptance. I ironically started in one place, and ended in exactly the opposite. That is the nature of the cycle of transformation and ascension.

Is my life’s path similar to other occultists? I believe that my life has been like many others who have also sought hidden spiritual truths, defying the warnings, disbelief and fear from those who espouse the cultural norm. It doesn’t matter what I believe or what religion I follow, all true seekers are united, both in their purpose and in the goal that they finally achieve.

Frater Barrabbas

Monday, May 9, 2011

Secrets of the Power Octagon

Sherlock Holmes (shaking his head): “Elementals, my dear Watson, Elementals.”

One of the most useful ritual structures in my personal arsenal is the Power Octagon. It’s not only essential to my own personal magickal work, but it’s also the basic tool in the repertoire of the Order of the Gnostic Star. You might ask the simple question why is this ritual structure so useful, and the basic answer is that it generates the prismatic double vortices of the Elemental. So, the Power Octagon is useful in generating the Elemental, whether that quality is defined as an energy, spirit, or both.

Elementals are used in talismanic work as well as theurgic invocations and evocations. It could be easily said that the Elemental is the building block for many forms of magick performed in the Order of the Gnostic Star. This is why it is such an important part of the training of a ritual magician, since it is used so ubiquitously in the art of magick as practiced in the Order. The first ordeal that a newly initiated neophyte in the Order is given is to invoke an Elemental into manifestation, both within the temple and in an outdoor grove. Later on, considerations for the lunation cycle are integrated into this magickal working, making it quite effective for any material based magick that a magician might need to perform.

So what are the Elementals, you might ask? Are they those cute looking creatures that are so often seen in books on magick, where they’re typically shown looking like fiery salamanders, winged sylphs, fish-tailed undines and gnarly gnomes? They may be called elementals, yet they aren’t quite Elementals, at least not according to the definition that I use. They are elemental archetypal creatures, but they aren’t what I am referring to when I write about Elementals, using a capital “E” to distinguish them. The elemental archetypal creatures are an effective mechanism for manipulating the pure energy of the four elements, so my quip about them being “cute” was more an attempt at humor than any kind of dismissal.

When I am writing about Elementals, though, I am discussing something else altogether. Classical elemental creatures can be attributed originally to Paracelsus and his alchemical writings, but they have found their way into many forms of essential magick. These creatures embody the basic qualities of a specific element and act as a kind of mythological being associated with that element. There is also a supposed King, Queen or leader who has a magickal name associated with each of these creatures, but once again these are animated qualities for a specific element. What I am talking about when I say “Elemental” represents the first articulation of the basic four elements, and that is to be understood as combining or doubling the four elements to produce sixteen unique qualities.

An Elemental is operationally defined as the qualification of a base Element by another Element, or by itself. The qualities of these sixteen Elementals is that they can be divided into two groups, where there are twelve combinations of unlike elements and four that are a combination of like elements. Elementals are represented as the permutation of the number four, or four times four. Elementals consist of a base of any of the four elements, and a qualifier, which may be any of the four elements. 
If we define the base as representing one of the four suits of the Tarot (Wands = Fire, Cups = Water, Swords = Air, and Pentacles = Earth), and the qualifier as one of the four stations of dignity, such as Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses, then combining them together will equate an Elemental with one of the court cards in the Tarot. Thus there are sixteen Elementals (4 x 4), which are characterized by the sixteen Dignitaries or Court cards of the Tarot. An example: Fire of Fire is the King of Wands, Water of Fire is the Queen of Wands, Air of Fire is the Prince of Wands and Earth of Fire is the Princess of Wands. Each of the Elementals corresponds to one of the 16 Court Cards of the Tarot. With this correspondence firmly determined, we may use these court cards of the Tarot to further develop the magickal images and qualities of the Elementals.

Other methods exist for the determining of the quality of the Elemental, whether perceiving it purely as an energy construct or as a spirit, or both. I prefer to use the Enochian Godname Pair as the name and quality of the Elemental, which allows me to pull the entire hierarchy of the four elemental tablets of the Enochian system into my elemental workings. This could also include the famous Enochian Calls, which would be used to summon the Enochian Elemental Godname Pair, and from them, the four angelic gateways. I have found that the I-Ching can fit into this system, and also Geomancy. There are other useful source themes that can be used as well, which are only limited to the extent of one’s imagination.

An animal totem could represent an Elemental (such as four animals within a prism of four colors), as well as a pantheon of lesser gods and goddesses in any number of pagan religious systems. In fact, there are sixteen spirits in the Theurgia-Goetia that could function as elemental spirits if one chose to use them in that manner, half of which would be daemonic and the other half, angelic. A fourfold division and a matrix of sixteen cells has room for an endless number of variations. Still, the sixteen court cards of the Tarot is the perfect foundation for determining the meaning and significance of the sixteen Elementals.

The key to the ritual practice of generating an element, and thereby, generating Elementals, is found in the device of the invoking pentagram. I have already discussed this device in great detail in a previous article, which you can find here. You can also examine that article for a discussion of the ritual structures of squaring the circle, the pylon and the pyramid (all of which are found in the Power Octagon).

Yet if the invoking pentagram is the device that generates or invokes the energy of the element, then the octagon is the ritual structure that is used to generate an elemental. An octagon is two interlocking squares drawn within a magick circle, thus it doubles the power of a magickal squaring of the circle. An octagon ritual structure, when it is fully formulated, also contains two opposing pyramid structures, causing a polarity to be generated between them. Still, we should examine the ritual structure of the power octagon, step by step, so we can minutely examine and figure out how it works, and why it is so effective.

In order to make use of the Power Octagon, we must expand the basic magick circle used in Witchcraft to contain not just the four directions and the zenith and nadir in the center, but to also incorporate the four points in between the cardinal directions, and determine a midpoint between the zenith and nadir, which is called the meso-point. Expanding the magickal circle to contain these additional points allows the magician to practice a more advanced kind of ritual magick. Instead of six points in the magick circle, there are now eleven. You can also increase the number of nodes in a magick circle by expanding the number of points used in the outer circle, increasing the number from four, to eight, from twelve to sixteen. However, for the purposes of our discussion here, we will talk about the use of the four Watchtowers and their in between points, the four Angles. These eight points are used to define the octagon within the magick circle.

I have already written an article on the amazing and wonderful qualities of the vortex, you can find it here. Suffice it say that a vortex is loosely defined as a magickal energy structure that consists of a widdershins spiral and the four opposing Watchtowers or Angles being joined to the center. The Power Octagon actually contains two superimposed vortices, so in addition to generating an Elemental, it also generates the container that holds and amplifies it, all at the same time. A Power Octagon functions as a fused combination of both the Spiral Vortex and the Pyramid of Power, and in fact, it has even greater flexibility and utility.

Tools that are used to perform the ritual working that generates the Power Octagon are the dagger (athame) and the Sword, although one could also use the transmutar wand. The dagger is used to draw the invoking pentagrams and the sword is used to draw the lines of force in the magick circle. Additionally, a staff can be used to wind up the power and establish the vortices, although the magician usually needs a bit of head room to manipulate a staff, such as either twirling it over one’s head (with one hand) or holding it with both hands over one’s head and spinning in place.

The most simple version of the ritual of the Power Octagon has nine steps, although these can be consolidated into two basic phases. Here are the nine steps that can be used to build a version of this ritual for your own use.

1. Set the four Watchtowers with an invoking pentagram of the base element. Proceed in a deosil vector of the circle, starting in the East. When completed, draw the four watchtowers together to form a square.

2. Go to the center of the circle and draw an invoking pentagram of the base element to the infra-point.

3. Set the four Angles with an invoking pentagram of the qualifying element. Proceed in a deosil vector of the circle, starting in the Southeast. When completed, draw the four angles together to form a square.

4. Go to the center of the circle and draw an invoking pentagram of the qualifying element to the ultra-point.

5. Draw the four Watchtowers together to the infrapoint, proceeding in a widershins vector, starting in the North. (Establishes the first vortex)

6. Draw the four Angles together to the Ultra-point, proceeding in a widershins vector, starting in the Northeast. (Establishes the second vortex)

7. Stand in the center of the circle and draw the Ultra-point down to the Infra-point through your body. (You can also use a staff or a stang to do this action.) - both vortices are now in union.

8. Power can be imprinted with sigil or with a single intention (relative to the quality of the Elemental) or drawn into the body to be projected into whatever is required.

9. Resonate the power by performing a widdershins vector, circumambulating the circle three times, starting in the center and proceeding to the periphery. (You could also use a staff, picking it up horizontally over your head, then spinning in place in a widdershins vector.)

You can use one of the Enochian calls to help charge the energy before exteriorizing it. You can also use a Tarot card depicting the Elemental (one of the 16 court cards) to help in its visualization and realization.

So those are the nine steps used to generate an Elemental, using the most simplistic pattern available. One could condense these nine steps into just two phases; the first would establish the base element, and the second phase would establish and join into the fusion the qualifier. The base element uses the ritual points of the four Watchtowers and the Infra-point, and the qualifier, the four Angles and the Ultra-point. The Elemental is generated through the joining of the Infra and Ultra points, and this can be done with a staff, Stang or even just the body of the magician.

Now that I have presented the standard and most simplistic version of generating an Elemental, I can also talk about some of the variations that can be found in the ritual lore of the Order of the Gnostic Star. Certainly, the over loading of the ten points used in the Power Octagon will greatly empower this ritual, and that is what is done in the more elaborate versions. Some of the additional aspects that can be added to the ritual are found in the following list.

Special formula letters and words can be used to qualify the meaning of the points of the ritual structure. These formula letters and words are pulled together to build a unified formula word that functions as a keyword (i.e., compare to the GD Analysis of the Keyword in the Rose Cross ritual). The unified formula (keyword) is declared at steps 2 and 4 above.

Projecting colored energies into the ten points.

Giving the Watchtowers, Angles, Infra-point and Ultra-point a gender characterization, such as five goddesses and five gods, or five pairs of mythological personages. A magician can also use inverted invoking pentagrams (for the qualifying element) set to the four Angles and Ultra-point to further polarize the invoked energies.

Breathing and exhaling the base and qualifying elements into the ten points (taken from Franz Bardon’s techniques).

In addition, a further ritual structure or layer can be added to the basic Power Octagon, building a more three dimensional prismatic energy signature. This additional structure would represent a third phase or level to the already established two phases. How this is done is through the building of pylons set to the four Watchtowers, these are then drawn to the meso-point (in the center of the circle) with a deosil vector, and charged with the spiritual hierarchy of the four Qabbalistic Godheads and the four Element Archangels. This additional structure is actually a positive or solar vortex formulation (because of the deosil vector), set to the meso-point in the center of the circle. The establishment of the tetramorphic spiritual hierarchy and the erection of four additional pylons to compliment the central pylon (now with three points) generates the optimal polarity of the highest and lowest aspects, unified into a single expression of magickal power and spiritual materialization.

To recap the additional steps, the following executions and modifications would be added to the basic Power Octagon ritual structure.

1. Perform steps 1 through 6.
2. Set the following devices and declarations at the four Watchtowers while standing in the center of the circle - start in the East and finish in the North (deosil).

  • Draw equal arm cross above invoking pentagram.
  • Declare Godhead Element
  • Invoking spiral joins cross and pentagram into a pylon
  • Declare Formula Letter (optional)
  • Declare brief summoning of the Archangel.

3. Establish meso-point in the center of the circle, perform the following executions:

  • Draw equal arm cross
  • Declare fifth unified Godhead Element
  • Invoking spiral joins cross and middle pentagrams into a pylon
  • Declare Formula Letter and Keyword (optional)
  • Declare brief summing of the fifth Archangel (Ratziel)

4. Perform steps 8 and 9. (Step seven has been replaced by the above executions)

As you can see by the above examples, the Power Octagon can be made more elaborate and much more intense by adding further elements to the ritual structure, building it out and greatly empowering it. There are also other rituals and features that can be added to this basic Elemental working to make it even more effective. I will list and briefly define each of these other rituals, but I will attempt to explain them and how they can be developed in future articles.

An Elemental working, using these additional rituals, has three stages, which are performed at different points in the lunar cycle. These three stages are performed just before the first quarter, just before full moon, and just before the last quarter. These strategic dates used in the combined working will make more sense when we examine the lunation cycle and how it is used to work more effective material based magick.

Lunar Mystery Vortex - this ritual is used to lock a temporal signature to the elemental working. By adding the qualities of the lunar phase, lunation type, sun sign and the temporal location, the generated Elemental will have a context within which to operate. The lunar mystery vortex is used as the outer shell for the three basic workings - the Qualified Power, the Elemental and the Elemental Gate.

Qualified Power - we have already discussed the 40 Qualified Powers and how they can be used in ritual magick. In the more elaborate ritual working that generates an Elemental, the Qualified Power is used to build a greater energy context and refinement for it to operate through. Therefore, the Qualified Power would be set first before performing the Elemental Octagon to generate the Elemental, and it is performed within the Lunar Mystery Vortex.

Power Octagon - the magician would perform the Elemental Octagon just before the full moon, within the Lunar Mystery vortex.

Elemental Gate - this ritual is used to focus and project the qualified Elemental matrix into the domain of the material plane. An additional element qualifier is added to it so that is refined to an even greater degree. The Elemental Gate employs the four Enochian Angels associated with each Elemental, and it can also be associated with the sixty-four I-Ching Hexagrams (16 times 4). The Elemental Gate is deployed just before the last quarter, and is also performed within the Lunar Mystery vortex.

I believe that I have shown you just how versatile the Elemental working can be. It can be refined down to almost a laser like point of projected will, empowered and qualified with the tetramorphic hierarchy of the Four Elements. An Elemental working that spans a lunar cycle might seem cumbersome, time consuming and rather involved, and indeed, it certainly is, but it also has a profound ability to radically change a person’s material circumstance. The scope of this kind of working appears to cover all of the factors that a magician might seek to make manifest, from healing, to getting a job, getting restitution or justice, material assistance, finding a mate, energizing and inspiring oneself; the list of potentialities is almost endless. Of course, one should always consider the limitations of the possible probabilities involved in any outcome, but the possibilities, as defined by the vast array of the Elemental working, are quite enormous.

Frater Barrabbas