The Ritual of the Pentagram

Order of Ganymede  

by Lucifer

Order of Ganymede Home, Psychic Self-Defense


 

Of all that the Golden Dawn produced, one of the most important and most useful was the Ritual of the Pentagram. The history and origin of the Golden Dawn ritual is unknown. But the Golden Dawn had it, and Dion Fortune, William Butler, Israel Regardie, Aleister Crowley all espoused its usefulness and its power. However, if the exact ritual is not very old, the ideas behind it are very ancient indeed.

Though we do not know when the idea of the magic Circle first originated, we do know that the belief in it is ancient and worldwide, from the simple Witches Circle to the elaborate Magical Circles found in the Grimoires of the Middle Ages. However, the earliest known written record of the use of a magic Circle is in the writings of the ancient Assyrians.

The belief in guardians at the Four Quarters of the Universe is just as ancient and just as widespread and even easier to document, having been an accepted part of the mainstream religious belief of the peoples that held it. In the far East they are found in the native religions of Korea, Japan, China, and Tibet. They are also found in the doctrines of Taoism, Tantrism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Among native American peoples they are found in the religions of the Navajo, the Hopi, and the Aztec. In the near East they were part of the belief system of the ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians, and the Persians. And, finally, yes, even in Christianity, as proven by innumerable Christian Grimoires from the Middle Ages. (And many little Christian children were taught: "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Bless the bed that I sleep on.")

And the history of the Pentagram is also ancient indeed, though the use of it as a protective symbol as we know it is not documented until much more recently. Both Agrippa and the Key of Solomon in the 16th century gave the Pentagram as a protective symbol. Paracelsus, also of the 16th century, said that there were really only two great symbols, the Pentagram and the Hexagram. However, he called the Pentagram "the greatest and most potent of all signs."

Eliphas Levi, the great French occultist of the 19th century, said about the Pentagram: "hose [spirits] who set at naught the Sign of the Cross tremble before the Star of the Microcosm." And: "he Pentagram signifies the domination of the mind over the elements, and the demons of air, the spirits of fire, the phantoms of water, and the ghosts of earth are enchained by this sign. Equipped therewith, and suitably disposed, you may behold the Infinite...."

The Pentagram is a powerful symbol representing the operation of the Eternal Spirit and the four elements, the single point upward representing the rule of the Divine Spirit over the world of matter. Also, the Pentagram, the Star of the Microcosm is in the shape of a human being with arms outstretched, the Star of the Magi, the Word Made Flesh, the spirit manifest in matter.

In the Kabbalistic system, the Pentagram equates to the martial level of the Tree of Life, which is the level of control, discipline, domination, justice, and active protection.

Also, the invocation of the Higher Self and the elemental forces in the Pentagram Rite covers the whole Tree of Life, the first sphere (Kether) being the Spirit point of the Pentagram, and the four other points representing the other nine spheres. (In the Kabbalistic system, the Spirit point of the Pentagram equates to Kether, the fire point equates to Chokmah, the water point to Binah, the air point to the spheres from Chesed to Yesod, and the earth point to Malkuth. Therefore, the entire universe is signified in the symbol of the Pentagram.)

Of the Pentagram Ritual itself, Aleister Crowley had this to say: "Those who regard this ritual as a mere device to invoke or banish spirits, are unworthy to possess it. Properly understood, it is the Medicine of Metals, the Stone of the Wise."

Israel Regardie wrote that if one did nothing else but the Pentagram Ritual and the Middle Pillar Exercise (a form of western kundalini taught by the Golden Dawn), one could attain complete illumination.

The Pentagram Ritual has a variety of uses, though no matter which reason you're doing it for, the others automatically come into activity to a lesser or greater degree. The most often mentioned use of the Pentagram Ritual is for protection. Performing the Pentagram ritual sets up a temporary, but effective, space in which to recoup one's forces. It is, as one Wiccan tradition describes the Circle, "a shield against all wickedness and evil, a rampart for protection for all those who stand herein." Such protection is not only against an organized, deliberate psychic attack (and rare they are!), but also against non-directed, non-deliberate attack, as in cases of extreme anger or hatred when the energy gets loose on the astral and raises hell for the focus of the emotion, and impersonal attack, as in the case of negative astral entities or negative, free-floating, obsessive thought-forms that become attracted to someone's vibration.

In the case of using the Pentagram ritual for protection, it must be renewed regularly at the change of suntide--at sunrise and sunset--to maintain its effectiveness. During the day it is enough to perform it before going about one's business, because sunlight itself (or any bright light) has a dampening effect on such astral forces. Also, one can hold the thought that the Circle will follow one about throughout the day, though the protection thus invoked will be less effective. Constant mental reinforcement would help in restrengthening it, however. But at night it is particularly important to seal the sleeping place, for it is when asleep that one is most vulnerable. (Astral forces build up in darkness much more easily than in light.)

Also, the Circle holds best when left unbroken. If you must leave the Circle, ritually 'cut' a doorway to leave or enter, and then reseal it again, from quarter to quarter, deosil (clockwise.) And though done in a particular sealed space, the Circle can be expanded to include an entire house, yard, etc., though the larger the area, the less effective the protection afforded. Likewise, the Circle can also be expanded to include one's loved ones, pets, personal effects, etc., though, again, the protection will be less effective the further it is stretched. Indeed, it would be best to gather one's loved ones, pets, etc., together in one spot to increase the protection afforded.

And, finally, for trance work of any type, the Pentagram ritual is all important, as it "alone suffices to secure adequate protection and eliminates all possibility of demonic possession." (The Golden Dawn)

The second major use of the Pentagram ritual is for the creating of a safe and consecrated space for rituals, spells, meditations, etc. The Pentagram ritual defines and purifies the area in which magical work is to be done. It clears away all vagrant astral and etheric forces that might be inimical to the working at hand. Used for the preparation of the place of working, to "preserve and contain the power" that will be raised within it, it is as good as a full Wiccan casting. Indeed, the Farrars, in The Witches Way, say that Gardner most likely took the idea of the casting of the Circle from the Pentagram ritual, though, as aforementioned, the roots are much more ancient than the Golden Dawn.

Of this use of the Pentagram ritual the Golden Dawn had this to say: "Whenever thou shalt prepare to commence any magical work or operation, it will be advisable for thee to clear and consecrate the place by performing the...Ritual of the Pentagram." And: "Before all things, complete the Circle of the place wherein thou workest, seeing that it is the key of the rest."

Of this Aleister Crowley said: "The first task of the Magician in every ceremony is therefore to render his Circle absolutely impregnable," for "if the insulation is imperfect, the whole current goes back to earth."

And, finally, Israel Regardie says in this regard: "One of the reasons for starting off the ceremony with the Pentagram Ritual is not only to clear a space for the working, but to insure that the entire operation is under the aegis of the Higher Self."

Indeed, the Ritual of the Pentagram is also a mini Higher Self ritual. It purifies the entire aura of the magician, and then invokes the balanced elemental forces to make a sacred and purified vehicle into which the Higher Self can be drawn down by the Drawing Down of the Light.

The Pentagram ritual is also good for contacting elemental forces, and for balancing and harmonizing the elemental forces in one's own being. We invoke the elements not merely to tap the raw force of the elements, but to contact the entities behind them. And contacting the elemental forces through their ruling God-force and Lord of the Watchtower is a safer method, and more magically correct, than directly invoking the elementals themselves without the contact and blessing of the Rulers of that element.

The Pentagram ritual can be used to eliminate from the psychic sphere certain undesirable interior elements and obsessing or disturbing thought-forms. Give a mental image to that which you wish to eliminate from your being, and imagine it formulated before you. Project it away from you, out of your aura, to the East. When it is away from you, say 5-6 feet, do the Pentagram ritual to disintegrate it, seeing it in your mind's eye dissolving on the further side of your ring of fire. Since the obsessing thought comes from within, this may have to be done a number of times over a period of time to get lasting effects.

And, finally, it is recommended that the ritual be done morning and evening as a form of personal prayer, focusing on the invoking aspect in the morning as a self-blessing, and on the banishing aspect in the evening to clear away the astral sludge from the day.

The version of the Pentagram Ritual given here is a Paganized version used by the Order of Ganymede. But the version being given is based on the same techniques and theories as the original. We have both a lesser and greater version, but it is the greater version we will be giving as it is by far the more powerful and useful.

Also, I will give very little about the actual performance of the Rite, as I suspect many of you have cast Wiccan or magical Circles previously, and have a working knowledge of the methods involved. I will focus primarily on certain points that many need clarification. First -- the Drawing Down of the Light.

The Drawing Down of the Light takes the place of the Kabbalistic Cross in the original Golden Dawn version of the Pentagram Ritual, the Kabbalistic Cross being a little too Christian for our tastes. So we substituted the Drawing Down of the Light, which also came from the Golden Dawn.

The Drawing Down of the Light is an important part of the Pentagram Ritual, and an important working all by itself. It signifies the fifth point of the Pentagram, the power of the Spirit over the elemental forces. It draws down the divine influence from the Higher Self, and is the "ideal means of placing the ego under the direct surveillance of the...divine will." (Israel Regardie) It can be used as an emergency invocation by itself, an "instant" Higher Self invocation, when immediate help from Higher Sources is needed.

While considering the Higher Self, the magician should endeavor to visualize just above the crown of his head a spherical form of light. This psychic center, situated in the aura above the head, is the symbolic expression of the highest spiritual nature within us, that radiant Being known to many occult schools as the Higher Self, the Divine Genius, the Over-soul, and by many other similar terms. By virtue of the psychic correspondences between that Being and the psychic center situated in the aura above the head, we are able to contact that higher spiritual impulse and draw down into our auric sphere that radiant life-force.

As we raise our hands above the head, we seek to contact that Higher Consciousness. As we lower our arms, we imagine the radiant life-force of that Being, which is our Greater Self, descending upon us from above as a brilliant ray of light, permeating us through and through with the divine influence. (Indeed, some practitioners say that at this point the magician should imagine himself to be towering up to twice his natural height, a tremendous figure of radiant light, vibrating with the force of the power of the Gods.)

When tracing the Pentagram, the magician should endeavor to mentally 'see' a line of radiant light, so that when the movement is complete, there glows in the air before the magician a Pentagram of glowing light. The figure should be about three feet high, and it should be a well-proportioned Pentagram, not a deformed or eccentric one. In all cases of tracing a Pentagram, the angle should be carefully closed at the finishing point. (Some use five strokes to inscribe the Pentagrams, some six, the last simply repeating the first line. I personally use the six-strokes method, but that is up to the individual involved.) This Pentagram must now be charged with energy, and this is done by bringing the hand rapidly to the center of the figure with a sharp stabbing motion, at the same time vibrating the God-name.

And as the magician draws the magic circle, he should see in his imagination a line of light following the point of the sword, athame, etc., composed of that same radiant life-force. It is necessary that the magician make certain that he does not lower the elemental weapon after formulating a Pentagram in mid-air. The Circle must be complete, continuing in an unbroken line from Pentagram to Pentagram; the impression should be of a ring of light studded in four places with stars of flame. A little practice should enable the Circle of Light to be formulated effectually. And when invoking the Lords of the Watchtowers, the magician should endeavor to imagine four vast, towering figures about him.

A few last points --

The Circle holds from suntide to suntide--sunrise to sunset, sunset to sunrise. After the Circle has been affirmed in the same place a number of times, or in a permanently sealed place of working (i.e., a Temple-room), its influence will persist for a considerable period, but it is advisable to reformulate it morning and evening during active periods, especially when protection is required. If it feels ineffectual, especially for protection purposes, do it again. Sometimes, especially at the beginning, repetition is necessary.

Incense burnt with the ritual is very helpful for building and holding the images, as is dim lighting or candle-light. Strong artificial lighting will quickly disperse the Circle.

In most cases it is permissible to use the banishing Earth Pentagram at the four quarters for the banishing half of the ritual, it usually sufficing to banish beings of whatsoever class. In fact, the "banishing Earth Pentagram will also serve thee for a protection if thou trace it in the Air between thee and any opposing astral force." (Golden Dawn) However, to invoke the Elemental Lords it is best to use their individual elemental Pentagrams.

For the Lords of the Watchtowers, you can substitute whatever forms you generally use for invoking them in Circle. And the God-names used should be of the system you are accustomed to working with. Just be sure that the God/dess in question does indeed have authority over the element. Many books have equivalencies for these. Crowley's 777 is one. And The Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons by Manfred Lurker, with its topic index at the back, makes it easy to look up a particular element and see what deities from a wide range of systems are attributed to that element.

Though the correct pentagram is given with the appropriate invocation, below is given the Pentagram with its appropriate elemental attributions. To form the correct Pentagram, one need simply "invoke towards, and banish from, the point to which the element is attributed." (Golden Dawn)

 

 

 


 

The Greater Ritual of the Pentagram

 

Take up your tool in the right hand. Face East, & with arms crossed over chest, say:

 

"There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.

I am the Preparer of the Pathway;

The Rescuer unto the Light.

Out of the Darkness, let the Light arise!"

 

Raise your arms above your head to invoke the Light, & say:

 

"I am the Reconciler with the Ineffable.

I am the Dweller of the Invisible.

Let the White Brilliance of the Divine Spirit descend!"

 

Bring down your arms slowly, drawing down the Light. Then with your tool make in the air toward the East the banishing Air Pentagram, & say:

 

"With this sign I banish thee, foul shades of the East, in the name of Zeus, Lord & Master of the Forces of Air. Be this realm free of thy evil influence. Zeus!"

 

Holding the tool out before you, go to the South, make the banishing Fire Pentagram, & say:

 

"With this sign I banish thee, foul shades of the South, in the name of Pan, Lord & Master of the Forces of Fire. Be this realm free of thy evil influence. Pan!"

 

 

Holding the tool out before you, go to the West, make the banishing Water Pentagram, & say:

 

"With this sign I banish thee, foul shades of the West, in the name of Poseidon, Lord & Master of the Forces of Water. Be this realm free of thy evil influence. Poseidon!"

 

 

Holding the tool out before you, go to the North, make the banishing Earth Pentagram, & say:

 

"With this sign I banish thee, foul shades of the North, in the name of Rhea, Lady & Mistress of the forces of Earth. Be this realm free of thy evil influence. Rhea!"

 

 

Holding the tool out before you, return to the East to seal the circle. Kiss the tool, assume the Pentagram position (with the tool in the right hand), & say:

 

"Before me, Great Eagle of Air;

Behind me, Great Serpent of Water;

On my right hand, Great Lion of Fire;

On my left hand, Great Bull of Earth;

For around me flame the Pentagrams,

And above me shines the six-rayed Star!

 

In the sign of the Pentagrams,

In the unfailing Light of Truth,

I clothe me about with the armor of salvation in the strength of the Most High Gods.

I command the energies of Darkness that they be dissipated & disintegrated,

That their forces shall be scattered,

That no part of them shall remain to work evil.

Be ye exorcised in the Sight of the magic Pentagrams!

 

Let the Darkness disappear, & the Light of our Gods ever pursue it. Behold, in the Name of the Most High Gods, Who work in Silence & Whom naught but Silence can express, I declare that the Sun has arisen & the shadows flee away. I take refuge in Thee, O Lord of the Daybreak!"

 

Raise your arms above your head to invoke the Light & call out:

 

"Out of the Darkness let the Light arise!"

 

Bring your arms down slowly, drawing down the Light, saying:

 

"Let the White Brilliance of the Divine Spirit descend!"

 

Holding the tool out before you to the East, make the invoking Air Pentagram, & say:

 

"All-wise Eagle, Great Ruler of Tempest, Storm & Whirlwind, Master of the Heavenly Vault, Great Prince of the Powers of Air, I do summon, stir, & call Thee up to aid & guard me in this Work of Art. Come, come, Great Zeus, King of Kings, commands Thee. Come!"

 

 

Holding the tool out before you, go to the South, make the invoking Fire Pentagram, & say:

 

"O Thou Lion, Lord of Lightnings, Master of the Solar Orb, Great Prince of the Powers of Fire, I do summon, stir, & call Thee up to aid & guard me in this Work of Art. Come, come, Great Pan, King of Kings, commands Thee. Come!"

 

 

Holding the tool out before you, go to the West, make the invoking Water Pentagram, & say:

 

"O Thou Serpent of Old, Ruler of the Deeps, Guardian of the Bitter Sea, Great Prince of the Powers of Water, I do summon, stir, & call Thee up to aid & guard me in this Work of Art. Come, come, Great Poseidon, King of Kings, commands Thee. Come!"

 

 

Holding the tool out before you, go to the North, make the invoking Earth Pentagram & say:

 

"Black Bull of the North, Horned One, Dark Ruler of Mountains & all that lies beneath them, Great Prince of the Powers of Earth, I do summon, stir, & call Thee up to aid & guard me in this work of Art. Come, come, Great Rhea, Queen of Queens, commands Thee. Come!"

 

 

Holding the tool out before you, return to the East to seal the circle. Kiss the tool, assume the Pentagram position (with the tool in the right hand), & say:

 

"Before me, Great Eagle of Air;

Behind me, Great Serpent of Water;

On my right hand, Great Lion of Fire;

On my left hand, Great Bull of Earth;

For around me flame the Pentagrams;

And above me shines the six-rayed Star!

 

In the Name of the Most High Gods, I invoke Thee, Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the Universe, & charge Ye to guard this my sphere. Keep far from me the evil & the unbalanced, that they penetrate not into my abode of the Mysteries. Inspire & sanctify me that I may enter into the center of my being, & there receive the illimitable wisdom of the Light Divine. Influence & strengthen my spirit that it may be mighty for all good. And pour out on me Thy beneficent beams. So fill my aura with Thy mighty power, that it become a bright guardian to guard & consecrate all my ways & workings that I may be a true center of Thy Light & Life & Love.

 

By the power of the Most High Gods within me Whom I serve

With all my body,

With all my heart,

With all my strength,

I encompass me about with a divine Circle of Protection, across which no force of evil or unbalance dares to set its foot.

 

Thus do I formulate a barrier without mine astral form that it may be unto me a shield & a defense against all mine enemies visible & invisible. Let it also be a storehouse of Light, & Life, & Love, that I may ever go clothed in the Power of the Light Divine.

Therefore, in the place of the Guardian of the Gate of the East, I draw thee into my heart, O Vision of the Rising Sun. Mine Angel! Mine Initiator! Thou one with me Thou Sixfold Star!"

 

Cross your arms over your chest, & say:

 

"There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.

I am the Preparer of the Pathway;

The Rescuer unto the Light.

Out of the Darkness, let the Light arise!"

 

Raise your arms above your head to invoke the Light, & say:

 

"I am the Reconciler with the Ineffable;

I am the Dweller of the Invisible.

Let the White Brilliance of the Divine Spirit descend."

 

Bring down your arms slowly, drawing down the Light. Then cross arms over chest, & say:

 

"I am whole. I am filled with Light.

I am perfect. I am filled with Light.

The Light fills every cell of my body.

The Light surges into & through my blood, making it a fountain of Life, bringing purity, vitality, youth, & beauty into my being.

I am in the Infinite Light, & the Infinite Light is in me.

I am surrounded by the White Brilliance of the Divine Spirit.

Nothing but good can come to me.

Nothing but good shall go from me.

I am what has been, what is, & what shall be!

I am the Crowned & Conquering Child of Light!

OM!"

 


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