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Hidden Spirit Journal 2007 individual contributors. All rights reserved. Printed on recycled paper.


Hidden Spirit is a half yearly journal of esoteric thought and practice in Ireland. We hope to reflect a more in-depth look at esoteric subjects, as well as a more variant cross section of esoteric traditions and streams. We hope to see Hidden Spirit becoming a forum for serious expressions of the spirit, but through many and varied mediums. As such we welcome essays, columns and series, ritual, poetry, reviews, and a variety of other artistic mediums including artwork, photography and technical diagrams. The journal, in its search for a more in depth look at esotericism, welcomes and shows preference to longer articles, although the quantity is secondary to the quality of the work. We welcome essays from 700 words up to 5,000. Longer pieces may also be considered. Other mediums are considered on a case by case basis. Material on any esoteric subject is accepted, and a partial list would include: animism, Anthroposophy, anthropology (religion and social), alchemy, astrology, Brujeria, Alice Bailey and the Tibetan works, biography of esoteric personalities, Classical Paganisms, divination, draconian traditions, neo-Druidry, earth mysteries, Eastern philosophy and spiritual practices (especially as valid to the West), Esoteric Christianity, esoteric history, esoteric language/ alphabet, Enochian, Gnosticism, the Golden Dawn, kaos, magick, Merkabah mysticism, mythology, neo-Paganism, qabalah, Rosicrucianism, Tantra, tarot, Theosophy, Thelema, Wicca and Voodou. This is a partial list at best and any expansion in our subject matter thereafter is much appreciated and eagerly anticipated. The journal (and more detailed submission guidelines) can be found online at: / Submissions can be directed to: Brian M. Walsh, Camphill Glencraig, Craigavad, Holywood, Co. Down, BT18 ODB Northern Ireland E-mail: Opinions expressed in Hidden Spirit are not necessarily those of the editorial.


Editorial: Threshold Of The Gaimos Year Brian M. Walsh The Whip And The Wand: BDSM & Sex Magick J.P. Patton Create Your Own Divination System Mike Finucane Dark Initiatory Witchcraft Thomas Karlsson Introduction To Gnosticism Frater Yechidah The Lesser Banishing Ritual Of The Pentagram Brian M. Walsh Contributors 5 9 13 22 28 30 37



Dear friends, The contents of this editorial are written in the context of this New Year we have just entered, a time of new beginnings, a severing of the past and a reaching into the future. As I look at these themes in the cycles of the earths turning I find they are most strong at the Celtic festival of Samhain. The following thoughts on this threshold experience formed the contents of talk I gave just before Halloween in the context of my work in Anthroposophy, a school of Christian esotericism which incorporates the changing seasons and the forces at work therein. These earth processes, whether viewed from a paganistic or christios path form archetypal truths to live by. ____________ I would like today to speak to you about the threshold experience found at the time of transition between autumn and winter, and in turn between the light and dark side of the year. This transition is one which I have lived consciously with for a number of years now through the Celtic calendar. The process of the turning earth is ever changing yet ever the same. The perennial flowers which brighten our spring and summers each year die down, and reappear again the following year in an explosion of colour, different yet also the same. These cycles are a renewing cycle. In the withering in autumn of the flowers, the force that has held them upright has withdrawn into the earth, and the physical remnants serve as nutrition for the next years growth. The process of this cycle is not only in the flowers, but also in the changing of the forces at play in the rest of the earth. In Anthroposophy the changing face of the planet is marked by the four primary Christian festivals being Christmas, Easter, St. Johns and Michaelmas. Placed upon the image of the year as a wheel the four primary festivals form a cross in the circle. The four primary Christian festivals mark also our relationship with the heavens as each of these festivals are positioned at or around significant solar alignments, these being Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox respectively. If one looks at the series of seasonal Imaginations offered by Rudolf Steiner, they describe, through an imaginative process, the forces at work at each of these major festivals, and by association the season which they fall in. In the Celtic calendar these festivals fall in the middle of each of the seasons and mark the zenith of the forces at work in the earth. In the Celtic calendar these festivals are complimented by a further four fire festivals placed at midpoints between the four solar/ primary festivals. Thus we are left with an image of an eightfold year as shown on the following page. Each of the fire festivals form literal transitions or thresholds between the seasons. These thresholds are not as pronounced energies as the heightened experience of the primary festivals, and for this reason are often neglected as important times in the years turning. I find myself conceptualising this eightfold cosmology at the time of Samhain, most commonly celebrated as Halloween. Samhain is a pre Christian festival of the Celtic peoples and forms an important time in the Hibernian mysteries.


I consider the mysteries of pre Christian Ireland completely compatible with a Christian impulse stemming from Anthroposophy. In his explorations of the major mystery schools of history, Dr. Steiner also, after great struggle, penetrated the Hibernian mysteries. Of its exponents, the draoi, Dr. Steiner spoke of Christian men before the incarnation of Christ, preparing the way. These were a wise caste of priests learned both in intellectual knowledge and a knowledge coming from a soul experience of the forces of nature at work. It is from the latter their informed eightfold cosmology of the year descends from, observing not only the heights, but also the subtle and changing forces of the seasons. The festival of Samhain is called thus as a marking of the end of the samos, or light side of the year. In the Coligny Calendar, an ancient calendar based on Celtic cosmology it is referred to as Trinouxtion Samhani, or the three days of the end of summer. Samhain marks further the Celtic New Year and the rekindling of the sacred fires. As a threshold experience Samhain marks not only the transition between autumn and winter, but between the two sides of the year, the samos year and the gaimos year. This is a process which is occurring both in ourselves and in the earth. Dr. Knig places this nicely in context when he gives the potent image of the breathing process of the earth1, as she is breathing in during the gaimos year, and out during the samos year. This image of the earth as a feminine force has roots in many cultures, from Gaea of the Greeks, Midgard of the Germanic people and Danu in the Irish tradition. Even Dr. Steiner offers us the image of the Earth as Natura. With the image of the earth as a living and breathing being, and a feminine one at that, we are offered an image of the womb. In the winter the forces of the earth, tired and old, withdraw into the earth, the womb of the Earth and are rejuvenated, transformed and enlivened. So too the physical work of the samos year is taken inwards, and transformed as our inner processes are given expression.

Camphill Correspondence November/ December 2006 Dr. Karl Knig The Being Of Man And The Festivals Part 1 (May 1932)


This process is further seen in the point periphery exercise given by Dr. Steiner. In the point periphery exercise Steiner, working from the imaginative perception of projective geometry, takes the symbol of the point in the circle, and how at the point of infinity the point becomes a line, and passing beyond the point of infinity the circle becomes the point, and the point which became a line at infinity begins to curve and become the circle. So our outer life becomes our inner life, and our inner life our outer. Samhain, in relation to the image of the point periphery, represents neither the samos consciousness, nor the gaimos consciousness. It stands as a time between these two modes, the point of infinity. The transition between these two modes of consciousness is most eloquently expressed in Verse 30 of Calendar Of The Soul: What germinates in sunlight of the soul For me, as verdant fruits, will ripen, In very present certainty of Self All feelings have transformed themselves. Rejoicing, I can truly sense The autumns ever-budding Spirit Watch: Fresh gathring winter wakes, for my appraisal, The inner floods of summers rich creation. This process finds further expression in the following two verses of Calendar. Looking again to the festival of Samhain, I would feel it pertinent to look at some of the themes found in this time of threshold. One theme which we meet at this time is an opening of the borders between the spiritual world and this one. Samhain, at the point of infinity has many stories of spirit beings passing into our world. Equally there are many stories tell of heroes of Irish mythology entering the sidhe (hills, believed to be gateways to the otherworld/ spirit world). This lifting of the veil between the two worlds also allowed access to the spiritual experience and knowledge directly, where they had previously only been able to do so through dream and imaginal faculties. This lifting of the veil also opens to us those who have passed into spirit before us. Samhain, and its later incarnation as Hallows Eve, is a traditional time for remembering and honouring ones ancestors. This is further reflected in the Christian feasts of All Saints and All Souls, covering the proceeding two days. Various traditions exist, among which is the tradition of setting a place for the ancestors at the table on Samhain. This is also sometimes referred to as a seat for Christ. At the point of infinity there is created a time outside of time. It is a tradition to engage in divination at Samhain. For me, I would see this as an opportunity to step outside the stream of time and look at life. To use an image I frequently visit, picture the span of your life as a silver thread spanning from your birth to your present, at which point it enters your back at the level of the heart, and from the centre of the chest streams forth ahead of you. To have this image we may look back, but to become too embroiled in the past we can get tangled, both in our past and in our future. To try to race forward into our future, we are snapping the thread of our past, of our processes, and experiences which we need to give purpose and perspective to the path that spans ahead. But to revisit the centre, we have a sense of the supporting hand of the past on our backs, and


a streaming forth towards the future. At this threshold of the year it is possible to gain a healthy perspective on ones life direction and gain a conscious understanding of our life processes. One element of this, and all of the Celtic festivals is the image of the bonfire. In Ireland sacred fires burned at all the sacred centres. At every festival a fire burned brightly. But at Samhain all fires were put out and a new fire was lit at Tlachtgla, a hill named after a woman with spiritual gifts. She stood on the threshold between the spiritual world and our own. From a place named after this woman, an image of the divine feminine, light was carried to all the centres of Ireland, and their fires kindled. At this time of a new year the sacred fires which keep us during the gaimos year are rekindled, rejuvenated, while simultaneously the earth mother breathes inwards in a process of rejuvenating all that lives in nature. In these times of physical darkness and short days the fire which is lit outwards must be internalised as a spiritual light which lights the domain of the gaimos year, the human soul and its inner processes. We see this kindling in the Christian observances through the lanterns of St. Martin (the celebrations for which are in places quite similar to those of modern Halloween), and the inbreathing, outbreathing process found in the spiral of light in the Waldorf Steiner Schools Advent Garden. All of this is in preparation for the Light of the World, the Jesus child at Christmas, the time of year with shortest days, after which the light is slowly growing, in the belly of the Goddess to be exhaled at Beltaine. It is at this time we kindle the inner flame, and look inwards to work with all that this light illumines. It is also our responsibility as members of community to shine this light outwards to our brothers in this time of increasing darkness.

In this, the first of hopefully many editions of Hidden Spirit, we are kindling a light. It is a light intended for a growing and diversifying community, and it is hoped many different lanterns can burn side by side in these pages, mutually illuminating each other. May light be extended upon you, Brian M. Walsh



An Exploration of BDSM and Sex Magick
John Paul Patton exual magick is at the core of practically all esoteric tradition and there has been a relatively recent upsurge of interest in the subject. The wand and cup (lance and grail) of the magician are recognised as sexual symbols, as are the key symbols of alchemy and many ancient cultures. There is now a relatively large body of literature on the subject from a variety of angles. Tantra has become a household term and the dove of Jehovah can be discussed along side the swan and shower of gold of Zeus, as poetic metaphors for semen. Freud and Jung have made us all examine our sexual selves and helped to develop a more open and honest look at human sexuality. The waning rule of patriarchal slave religions, contraception, the internet and transsexual surgery have all contributed to a welcome growth in sexual freedom, diversity and experimentations. One such area of growth is in the world of BDSM (Bondage-dominance/disciplinesadism/submission-masochism) which has become a catch all term for a scene where the sexual imagination, experience and experimentation are given a free reign, under a general ethos of it being safe, sane and consensual. It is the purpose of this essay to explore the links between BDSM and sex magick/mysticism. Sex magick may be defined as the use of sexual energy to cause change either within the practitioner or upon the outer world. Sex mysticism may be defined as the use of sex as a means of spiritual attainment and/or worship. BDSM may be described as a multifaceted system of practical methods, for raising intense sexual energy and or achieving a state of transcendental ecstasy. Thus these fields are intrinsically linked, but rarely explicitly so. We do have the example of Gerald Gardner, founder of modern neo-Pagan Witchcraft, using a whip as part of Wiccan spell casting (reflecting ancient pagan fertility custom) and of course many submissives worship their Dom/me as a God/dess; but the parallels remain relatively unexplored. I will now in turn seek to illustrate the range of areas where BDSM and sex magick meet. The first point is that for practitioners of sex magick a key factor is to raise as much sexual energy as possible. BDSM may be useful in this respect in a number of ways. Primarily by enflaming desire. In the world of BDSM no fantasy is unattainable, whether your kink is doing it with a PVC clad policeman, a French maid or gently being tied to the bed with silken scarves. In the practise of BDSM the deepest desires and lusts may be explored and given expression in a safe and consensual environment. The realisation of fantasy is thus one means of generating power. A second use and magical method of raising power is the breaking of taboos, whether personal or social. There is an intrinsic power in taboo and in the breaking of such is the release of that power, again whether it is making love with a leather nun, a friends wife or a same gender union. It was on this same principle that the best schools of tantra worked through breaking the traditional taboos of orthodox Hinduism, such as eating meat, drinking wine and engaging in sexual congress. The third method is through using fear, shock and or disgust as a generator of energy, this again is a traditional method in tantra particularly exemplified in the worship of the Goddess Kali, where devotees would make love in graveyards and with corpses. In BDSM fear is often used as a sexual generator in such practises as


knife play and even a fear of the unknown through the simple use of a blind-fold. The power of disgust is also used by practises from oral congress to coprophagia . For the student of sexual science it will be noted that all these modes of operating may be used as means for generating particular types of sexual energy, in accordance with necessity, taste and desire. Perhaps an area most perplexing to those unfamiliar with BDSM is the use of pain in the act of lovemaking. The point is that controlled pain given by someone experienced in BDSM is received as pleasure and is found sexually stimulating and exciting. This is due at least in part to the release of endorphins. Such is really a natural practise and the most passionate lovers will scratch, bite, pull hair and spank instinctively. With empathy, such actions may serve to greatly heighten the pleasure of both parties. However on a deeper level pain may also be used as a means of spiritual attainment and transcendence. Consider the famous Native American Sun-dance, the monk released from sin by self-flogging, penance and denial and the agony of asana (yoga posture achieved by sitting perfectly still for long periods of time until the body is numb with a pain that turns to peaceful bliss). Pleasure, pain and ecstasy are very closely linked and the simple fact is that pain may also be used as a means of generating sexual energy and of achieving sexual, transcendental experience. The point of asana leads us into the question of bondage, for it is in this art that the techniques of yoga form the most clear parallel. In asana one is bound by ones own will to remain perfectly still. This is high discipline on the path to self mastery. As with the body there is also the yoga of the mind, through the practise of dharana (concentration), the mind may be bound by the will to an object of devotion. To this end yogis will learn to control and master every thought, word and action, no easy task. Interestingly, any breach in such yoga discipline is in some traditions punished by self inflicted pain; with the wound to serve as a reminder of the discipline and as an aid in further concentration. Now consider the parallel between asana and the submissive who is tied up, bound and blindfolded. Many submissives speak of sensations of flying, visionary experiences and feelings of bliss being achieved through bondage. In terms of mind control, a Master or Mistress in the context of BDSM will often have certain disciplines agreed with their submissive or slave, such as always call me Sir or Mistress, any breach of such discipline will usually result in some form of punishment. In this way a good sub will learn to master their every word, action and ultimately even thought, as in the practise of dharana. The link between bondage and yoga is perhaps most explicit in the art of Shibari (Japanese rope bondage). The bondage forms are often given names such as Open leg Crab which parallel certain tantric asanas in which animal forms are taken in sexual union. The knots in Shibari are skilfully placed to activate or stimulate certain power centres of the body, particularly the chakras, but also meridian points; such as are stimulated in acupuncture and used as pressure points in martial arts. The activation and stimulation of these subtle energy centres is crucial in sexual magick and in mystical attainment. Who would want to submit or be a slave to someone else? Many people! In fact it happens all the time. BDSM is perhaps a practise not only about sexual honesty, but also honesty in power relations. It will often be found that there is a Dom/sub element in many relationships, even if the power play switches from time to time, this is especially manifested in sexual relationships. As we banish the patriarchal aeon of the


last 2,000 years or so, it has even become, not only socially acceptable, but trendy and cool now for females to become more dominant; especially in bed. In an ironic contrast there is an increased taboo in the realm of men dominating women. This is of course a natural reaction to the gender biased BDSM contract of the Christian marriage vow: love, honour and OBEY. Where being a husband means being Lord, Master and Dom and being a wife means being a sexual submissive and domestic slave (this is still common practise in many orthodox relationships and actively promoted by the likes of Opus Dei). BDSM recognises that some people are born submissive and some dominant, much as people might be born gay, or with brown eyes. One is no better than the other and such things are beyond the issue of gender. Dom/sub relations are as old as humanity, what is required today is that such things are viewed honestly, based on explicitly consensual contract and not subject to gender or any other bias. The BDSM tradition of contracts being written between a sub/Dom, or Master/Mistress and slave (as exemplified in Venus in Furs) is also a tradition used in contemporary western sex magical practise. It is a means of clearly defining any particular relationship and the consensual constraints by which each party, as free agents before the contract, choose to be bound. In this context the slave is of course such by choice and free will and the Master/Mistress can only be such by virtue of that choice. I suggest that both being a Master/Mistress and being a submissive or slave are ultimately equal and opposite means of liberation and potentially of illumination. The Master/Mistress must first of all actually become a Master or Mistress, often through training as a sub/slave, but either way through learning to Master themselves. Such may achieve illumination and ecstasy through exaltation, becoming a God/dess, High Priest/ess in their own right, as well as in the eyes of any who might worship them or through them. The parallel with magick, especially sexual magick, is obvious; as such requires effectively not only self mastery, but Mastery of the Universe, which is mystically achieved through union with God/dess. In a similar way the slave or submissive may achieve ecstasy and illumination through abasement, such as characterises the traditional worship of the slave gods. O, Lord, please look down with favour on your humble servant, though I be but a mortal maggot and unworthy. Ultimately the devoted slave/sub may be granted union with their God/dess and achieve the fulfilment of their will. The relation of Master/slave, Dom/sub also reflects the principle of yin/yang, passive/active, sun/moon, fire/water etc. Through identity with these sacred forces both parties may achieve power and a union with the divine through their interaction. Of course being fully passive and submitting to a trusted, adored and loved other can be an extremely liberating experience. It is of note that many people in positions of public power often find such relief through private sexual submission. In a similar way the Dom may find liberation of their true self and nature by having an equal and opposite force through which their true will might be expressed. The sub is often seen as a canvas upon which the Dom may practise his art for the pleasure of both. There is effectively an alchemical relation between sub and Dom, with the Dom as alchemist and the sub as the prima mater, the raw material to be transfigured into pure spiritual gold, through training and discipline to the achievement of divine ecstasy and illumination. In this sense BDSM has often been seen as a healing art, a form of sexual healing. Sex magick is a form of ritual or ceremony and it is the same with a BDSM session or lifestyle. Thus the dungeon sets the scene, as in a temple, to raise sexual energy


through the means desired. Thus PVC and leather become the robes, sub/Dom become the Sun/moon/earth, God/dess/worshipper, the whip is the scourge of purification and stimulation, the chains are as the magical oath, the torture rack is the holy altar, the wand/sacred phallus is the penis to be worshipped or beaten, the cup/yoni is the vagina to be adored or stretched (it is all the same, so long as it is enjoyed) and the prayer or message of God is the words of the scene: be it kneel worm or please Sir. At the end of the day it is the attitude of the consenting adults concerned that define what is a sacred rite or a cheap/pretentious thrill, regardless of the means used. The sex instinct is the most powerful force that humans have to deal with. In the words of Foucault humans are perverse, we all have our own unique sexual nature and will; it is time that human society learnt to celebrate the diversity of sexual expression. We must overcome the programming of outdated modes of operating based on celibacy as an ideal; and heterosexual monogamy in the missionary position, for purposes of procreation without the sin of sexual pleasure, as a second best option for those unworthy of the priesthood. Sex is sacred and beautiful. Sexual magick is the most powerful form of magick and as such is be treated with the utmost respect and caution; but for those who can know, will, dare and be silent: it is a science and art to be expressed and explored. Sexual mysticism is the surrender of the self to the beloved and is implicit in all sexual acts, it is purely a matter of it being made explicit through having the right attitude. BDSM is as a colour palate for sexual artists and as one mans meat is anothers poison: it is a world of love and let love, where each is free to feast as they will. The combination of BDSM and sexual magick/mysticism is a means of turning up the voltage and bringing down the fire of heavenly ecstasy: as the whip-crack of orgasmic lightening, bringing illumination to the world. Recommended Reading Flowers, Stephen Carnal Alchemy: A Sado-Magical Exploration of Pleasure, Pain and Self-Transformation. Foucault, Michael The History of Sexuality vol 1, 2 and 3

Penitente by Albrecht Durer -12-


Mike Finucane2

ll of us sometimes feel the need for guidance in our lives. Consulting another person can prove useful, but it is always more ideal to do the work yourself, if you can develop the skill, because you have more insight into yourself than anyone else, and can interpret the results more clearly. Developing this skill will also allow you to help others in need. Developing your own personal divination system is superior to purchasing a ready-made deck of cards, and this essay presents useful ideas on how to create your own system. 1. Basic Theory and Assumptions

In any area of Magic, there are usually several competing theories to explain the forces in operation. Some propose that these forces are external, others that Magicians harness unexplained powers emanating from within. I prefer not to speculate on the ultimate origin of the information received at this juncture, but the theory presented here depends on the assumption that the information arrives, if not from, at least through the subconscious3. Divination therefore depends on developing an effective communication with the subconscious. Perhaps the most direct form that this communication takes, occurs in sleep. Images circulate in our minds, and often we can retain these images long enough to remember them when we wake up. Dreamwork is therefore a form of empty-handed divination, but the level of skill required both in remembering and in interpretation is formidable4. Furthermore the posing of the question to the subconscious presents some difficulty. Intuition is another way in which the subconscious mind presents information to our conscious minds. Although this can be enhanced in certain ways, the information received, like that obtained from dreams, tends to be somewhat sporadic. Divination systems are an attempt to regularize the communication between the subconscious and the conscious minds, both by improving its efficiency, and to make it less spontaneous by making sure that the process involves two-way communication. Construction of a divination system an Oracle can therefore be equated to developing a method of transferring information effectively from the conscious mind to the subconscious, and vice-versa. It should be noted that this has obvious further implications, as a great deal of Magical technique also has as its goal the overcoming I take here the same attitude that Aleister Crowley does in Book 4 where he discusses the evocation of spirits; When we conjure Nakhiel to visible appearance, it may be that our process resembles creation or, rather, imagination- more nearly than it does calling forth. It is at least convenient to represent the whole work as if it were subjective. It leads to less confusion. Aleister Crowley, Book 4, Weiser Books, Boston, 2004 ISBN 0-87728-919-0 p.142 4 There is also the difficulty in that many dreams are unrelated to intended communication from the subconscious. Some, for example, live out events from which we have been frustrated in our waking lives, others are processing information internally. The difficulty is to distinguish communications from other types of dream.


of the subconscious/conscious barrier. For example, Sigils owe their potency to their effectiveness in presenting desires to the subconscious5. The principal difficulty in communication between the conscious and unconscious minds, is that while the conscious mind prefers to operate in a linear manner, the subconscious prefers to operate in non-linearly. Concepts can be described specifically and accurately by using language, the domain of the conscious mind, and the left hemisphere of the brain, or they can be described less specifically perhaps, but more completely, by using images, analogies and feelings, the province of the right brain. The solution is therefore either to train the subconscious in the use of language, to train the conscious mind in the use of symbols, or to develop a language with which both have some competency. The subconscious probably can communicate linguistically, in an emergency, as appears to be the case when individuals have reported hearing voices telling them not to get on a plane. Training the subconscious in this direction is probably not the wisest course, even if a method could be devised, because the very strength of the subconscious mind depends on it being able to work with concepts as a whole, instead of step-by-step using discrete logic and language. The second alternative, training the logical mind to communicate with symbols seems a better bet on the whole, as we are used to programming the conscious mind. Scientists and Magicians are well-used to using symbols in their work, and language and mathematics use symbols as the base of their operation. Although the left brain has difficulty in manipulating symbols and images as adroitly as the right, it seems that this is likely to be a more productive approach than the first. It should also be stated briefly that the method best used by the conscious mind to communicate with the subconscious is not necessarily the one suited to the reverse communication. To use an analogy with foreign language communication, if both conversational partners are not fluent, sometimes it makes sense for each to speak in their native tongue, as understanding is often easier than speaking a foreign language. In those terms it is worth considering using language to communicate to the subconscious, and using symbology to decipher the response. It is no coincidence that this is a common practice in divination systems. Questions are posed in the vernacular, and the responses have usually to be deciphered to be understood. 2. Methodology Communication of the question from the Conscious to the Subconscious. With some systems, this can be subtle or non-existent. Often the subconscious spontaneously communicates with the recipient, through dreams, intuition, inspiration, omens or prophesy. These are unasked for messages from the subconscious, although context can often provide an implicit provocation. Regular ritual will make it clear to the subconscious what is required, even if the request is not explicitly made. If examination of a chickens entrails is usually followed by a conscious decision to accept the findings as a communication from the subconscious, then the latter will make use of it if it has anything in particular to say6. If there is no important message waiting, the subconscious is as likely to take the opportunity that
Austin Spare, Sigils belief with protection, The Book of Pleasure, in ETHOS, I-H-O Books, England, 2001 ISBN1-872189-28-8, pp. 127-131 6 The subconscious might pop images into our minds, such as we see when staring absently at clouds, or it may direct our attention to one point of the augur rather than another.


the occasion presents to amuse itself as our conscious mind would be in the same circumstance. A lot of the problems associated with casual use of Ouija boards could well be explained in this manner7. Likewise, keeping a dream diary will inform the subconscious that you are taking the dreams that it generates seriously, and this has been found in practice to improve both the quantity and the quality of dream-based information. For deliberate communication from the conscious to the subconscious, the same principle can be usefully applied. By developing ritual, we set up a situation using sensory inputs sounds, sight, smell which inform the subconscious that we wish to communicate with it. Again, it is no coincidence that rituals make great use of correspondences, which are triggers for the subconscious, just as graphical symbols are. Mars, Iron, Blood, the colour Red, plants with red sap, Incense such as Dragonsblood, and so on, all stimulate the same symbol-complexes in the subconscious, informing it that the communication will relate to war-related material, or the will to power. Thus ritual is a communication from our conscious minds to our subconscious, informing it first that communication is desired (through a banishing, or other common opening form), and secondly, the nature of the request. The specifics of the communication (for divination that usually means a question) have thus been placed in a context conducive to effective communication. The question can then be simply stated in English, but given that other magical workings often benefit by reworking the material to be communicated, either using barbarous language of one sort or another, or by using a graphical language (sigil work), it does not seem unlikely that this may be of benefit here also. Another point of note is that a light trance often helps to connect the conscious mind to the subconscious. At this point however, the process becomes highly personalized, and the Diviner should use whatever method works best for them. Shuffling yarrow sticks can induce the right frame of mind, as can mild hypnotics, or simply stilling the mind. Communication of the reply from the Subconscious to the Conscious. The next part of the process is to develop a format in which the subconscious mind can communicate in return. As noted earlier, waiting for a dream is one simple way, but then you have the difficulty of learning how to interpret the language of your subconscious. Dowsers allow their subconscious to control minor muscle movements, amplifying them with simple equipment such as sticks or pendulums. The Delphic Oracle allowed their subconscious to take over control of their speech, much as evangelical Christians enjoy speaking in tongues. The English Sorceror Austin Spare allowed his drawing to become automatic, under subconscious control. A loosely similar practice is that of Geomancy, in which the diviner scribbles a random number of ticks on a line as the first step in the process. In each of these methods, some way is found to allow the subconscious to control its communication. Even less obvious forms of divination such as the interpretation of omens, can be thought of in this way. The subconscious can deliberately ignore signals which do not further its message, and can highlight others which do. You may trip over 5 owls unknowingly before you spot the raven that you take to be portentous.
That is to say, it could be an external force such as a demon controlling the planchette, with your subconscious mind operating as an accurate relay, or there may be no spirit presence, just the subconscious mind playing around. See also footnote (1).


The rest of this essay will discuss considerations in how to develop your personal divination system. In particular, I will concentrate on developing an Oracle using Cards with symbols drawn on them. 3. Practice Construction of a Divination system Over the years many systems have been developed which are based on sortilege; the potsherds of the Jews (casting Lots), the Runes of the Norse, the Tarot associated with the Gypsies, the I-Ching of the Chinese, and many more. In each of these systems, the diviner quietly thinks of the question, then clears the mind and goes into a light trance, during which the items at hand are shuffled and sorted. Once the items are arranged, their layout is interpreted according to a previously understood set of rules. Practice with analysis allows the subconscious to become familiar also with these rules, assisting it in choosing which items to present to the diviner and in which order. There are two requirements to consider when designing the deck. First, that the symbols used should be clear to your subconscious, or can be made so with practice. Secondly, that the full deck of cards should cover the full range of possible responses, with sufficient unambiguity as to make the answer clear to the practiced operator, and with the depth required to give a full response. These two requirements are interdependent, and so will have to be designed simultaneously, in practice, interactively. Before beginning, you should spend some time considering the uses to which this deck will be put. What kind of questions will you be asking? What kind of responses are possible? There is no point in developing a deck with 78 cards if you only intend asking simple yes/no questions. An area where I find the standard Tarot weak, for example, is in timing events. If I want to know how soon a critical event will occur, whether 5 days or nine months, a lot of work has to be done to add these meanings in to the standard deck. Would it be simpler to include some graphical device on each card? It is not essential to work out all of these kind of details to begin with, but be prepared to use a lot of scratch paper in the beginning. Choice of Symbols. The closer that the symbols used are to those with which it is already familiar with, the more easily they will be assimilated by the subconscious. Thus the Norse used symbols for cattle, thorns, wagons, horses, ice and the sun; while the Hebrews used similar symbols, such as cattle and thorns, but replaced horses with camels, and obviously did not include ice. When constructing your own Oracle, it is very helpful if you can use symbols with which you are intimately familiar8. Although many symbols the language of the subconscious are common enough to be generally applicable, each of us has our own private garden of symbols, which we have accumulated as we have grown. If used, these will act more accurately and more precisely than those developed by others. To understand what our symbols mean to our subconscious, is the first stage of developing a communication with our deeper selves. Some symbols depend on the
For example, the Rohrig Tarot represents the standard Tarot Major VII, the Chariot as a Formula 1 Racing Car, an image with which many are more familiar with, these days.


images we have been exposed to, but deeper symbols relate to meaningful events in our lives, even events which have been blocked by our conscious minds because of their intensity. The realm of phobias, recurring dreams, our desires and our personalities are developed from these. Dreamwork (outside the scope of the present essay) is a powerful way to understand the symbols which our subconscious already use. In addition to our own symbols, there is a range of common symbols which have already been accepted by our subconscious minds. It is worth while looking out for these, and including them in your symbol-bank. Among these, for example, are the cards in the Tarot which are immediately obvious to you; perhaps a heart transfixed by swords, or a man lying face down with swords in his back. But watch out for these symbols in everyday life also, and take a note of any you find striking, even of you already have a symbol assigned to this idea in your developing deck. You may need a nuance version later, or may come to prefer the second after some reflection. If you read mythological stories, take note of symbols used that resonate with you. But remember that cultural symbols can accumulate several different, even conflicting meanings so take your time and work with the symbols you find until you understand what your associations with these symbols are. Is the Cup a loving cup? Or a cup of sacrifice? Filling the cup with blood in your image can disambiguate. The danger in using cultural symbols, is that you may find yourself accepting meanings that dont really fit into your inner system always remember that it is your associations with the symbols that take precedence. If your currency is not green, then green may not be a suitable colour to represent wealth to you! Having said that, it is also possible to drill in new meanings by practice. When we learn tables of correspondences, we do just that. Here is an example of how the process of designing our deck is interactive; if our personal symbol for wealth is gold, but we also use gold to represent the Divine, and we have no associations with the colour green, we might arbitrarily decide to attribute wealth to green, for sake of practicality. But every compromise we make, will eliminate another advantage of our deck over a standard one. The ideal is to have each symbol used already have meaning for us; in practice, we may have to resort to teaching our subconscious by constant practice with some unfamiliar symbols. What we are aiming at eventually, is a situation where we can deal a set of cards, and without having to think too deeply, will have an overall grasp of what the cards are telling us. The less we think, the better our results will be, as is often the case. Although in the beginning we need to drive a car with conscious care, a skilful driver will hand the task over to his subconscious, so that often we dont remember the journey. Quite scary that. Although in the beginning while reading with our decks we may need to work intellectually, the sooner we can transition to a semiunconscious way of reading, the smoother the communication will be from the full unconscious to our conscious minds. The more we use our native symbols, rather than learn unfamiliar ones, the better. Deck Design The second part of Oracle construction, is to ensure that the cards which you create, cover the range of the answers that you expect to encounter. The divination systems which are in widespread use are so because they frame common answers to common questions. This is where the preparatory thinking on what kinds of questions and answers you will be using comes into play. How vague should the answers be? How


specific? The more specific the answer you require, the more possible responses the Oracle will be required to generate. Without a deck containing hundreds or thousands of cards, you will be forced to find ways in which cards, singly or in combination, have many meanings. Alternatively, you will have to generalize the responses in some way. Some repetition of cards or meanings is also desirable. If I were writing this with the restriction that I could only use any word but once in the course of the essay, it would be considerably more difficult. This of course is linked with the style of your reading. If your reading consists of turning a single card, it will not be an issue. But if you lay down four lines of ten cards each, if the Oracle has something to say in line four for which you have already drawn the card in line one, you had better have some redundancy to allow the deck to perform. In the standard Tarot, there are some nextbest cards which can fill in; the two of Cups for the Lovers, for example. Either allow some redundancy, or restrict the readings to a limited number of cards drawn at one shuffle. At the same time, you want to reduce the redundancy, so that the widest possible range of answers is possible for a given number of cards. How you reconcile these two imperatives is up to you, and your preferred style of reading, and range of questions. One extreme is to use an ordinary deck of cards, with Red cards signifying the affirmative, and Black the negative. With such a deck, you can answer question after question repeatedly between shuffles, much like a game of twenty questions: Will I meet a new lover? Yes. Will he be honest and true? Yes. Will he have red hair? No. And so on. The opposite extreme is to have a thousand cards each with the phone number of one possible mate. With such a deck, you can ask but one question: what is the phone number of my next lover? Very specific in its response, but the deck will be very cumbersome, and the use limited. The standard Tarot deck has been engineered both in its original design, in the refinement of the minor Arcana symbolism by Rider-Waite-Coleman and in the interpretation by more recent users, such that it presents a good wide-ranging deck, with some redundancy, but enough specificity within a reasonable size, that it has become widely accepted. Never doubt however that you can improve on it at least for your own purposes, in the same way that a careful host can select a menu better for his guests, than a catering company can prepare food for a hundred people. In practice, one way to proceed is to keep careful record of questions which you may have from time to time, or which people may ask of you. Ask yourself what the alternatives are. Write each one on a blank card. Shuffle through the deck at regular intervals, weeding out too many copies, but keeping a few similar copies of frequent answers, such as yes and no. The trick to maximizing the amount of information available for a given number of cards, is to take context into account. The first context to consider, is that of the question. In the standard Tarot, for example, if you ask whether your current romance is likely to be a good one, the four of Wands will answer yes. If the question is a simple yes or no, the card would have to be interpreted in the affirmative. If you ask how many weeks will it take to get a return on your investment, the answer is four. If your question asks more simply in which direction you should best focus your energies over the next year, the answer would be to focus on creativity and ideas. Each card can therefore provide answers to many different questions. Individual decks will also have unique symbols on them which may also prove useful. The Rider Waite has a castle with a red roof. The Rohrig Tarot which follows the Thoth


deck tradition calls the card Completion and depicts a sphere. Each of these symbols may help in answering questions. Feel free to use every way you can think of to make your Oracle work harder for you. You can give each card a dominant colour, so that if you ask a question about someones character, and the dominant colour is red, the answer will be aggressive. True, there are cards which will reflect aggressiveness, such as the Chariot or the 6 of Wands, but these cards may be already fulfilling a role elsewhere in your spread. With each seventh card repeating the red sentiment (if you have so designed it), there will be no shortage of cards representing that sentiment remaining in the deck. Spreads, a new layer of information The second form of context to consider is that of positioning within a spread of cards. Drawing an Ace followed by a three, and then a nine, indicates progress towards some goal, while the reverse indicates regress. A relationship spread for you and your lover, can indicate your respective positions, depending on which card represents you and which they. There are common spreads indicating the nature of the Querent, what blocks them, what their future may hold, and so on; each card has a different meaning depending on where within the spread it falls. Additional symbols can be used on cards. For example, if you want to know if your business venture will be successful, it might be helpful to know whether it will be somewhat successful, quite successful, or blindingly so. Adding these attributes to cards which can juxtapose your primary cards can be useful indeed. Remember that the context of the cards will not be determined merely by the design of the deck, but by the manner in how you lay them out, so design this contemporaneously. For example, suppose that you follow tradition and have four suits each numbered 1-10; you may design your spread such that the first card you draw determines the answer, and the second the intensity; thus your question: Will my business prosper answered by the 4 of Wands followed by the ten of Swords would mean Yes, Greatly (in that order). Note that this is contrary to the usual meaning of the ten of Swords, which is absolute ruin. Solely because you chose to attribute the answer to the first card (in this case, the four of wands, a generally positive card), and the intensity to the second (here, a ten, the maximum), you have cast the meaning to be other than the usual meaning. The 10 of Swords is doing double duty in the extreme. Of course the ten of cups would be more reassuring, but nevertheless a ten is a ten, and you are asking, in the second position (if you have so decided in advance) purely about the intensity of the first cards response. In designing your own deck you can give every three cards the meaning little, some, much, if you prefer you could even use the intensity of the colour on the card, the possibilities are endless. Once you have assigned symbols to each concept, and sub-symbols to sub-concepts, and added intensifiers and so on, you have a preliminary deck with which to begin work. From this point, you should write on the cards when it occurs to you to modify the meanings in some way, for example if ambiguities arise, or to combine close relatives into a single card, or perhaps to add new cards if required. The symbols can be expanded, or simplified, in whatever way seems useful to you. This refinement of the deck will take some time, and once the process seems to be converging on a finalized form, a new set of blank cards can be used to create your final Oracle, one suited to the unique way that both halves or your mind communicate with each other to best advantage, which will answer questions to the types of questions that you are most interested in, and with the range of answers at the level of detail that you prefer.


4. Conclusion In all of this, remember that your personality is more of a determinant than any outside authority. While there are many people who have attributed the cards in one way, and equally intelligent and well-meaning folk who have altered this, for reasons of their own, remember that religion loses its soul when dogma overcomes truth. When any tradition stops living, it dies. And so much more when dealing with an Oracle, which is in essence a private communion between you and your subconscious. Your analysis must reflect your methods of left brain communication, and the symbols that you choose must reflect as closely as you can determine, those of your right brain. Not Mr. Waites, nor Mr. Crowleys, but yours and it should also grow as you do9. The theory presented here applies not only to creating a deck of cards, but also to most divination systems that you could construct. For example, if you enjoy playing Chess, you could develop a system to analyse the final position of the board after a game played with your querent. But remember that the subconscious must be allowed to play the deciding role in how the game plays out, so play loosely. Whatever system you choose, keep working to improve both the accuracy of the symbolic translation, and to adjust the range of the responses to best answer your most frequent questions. By following these guidelines, you should soon have a divination system which will prove far superior in your hands to any commercially available system. Resources/ Recommended Reading: Austin Spare, in Zos Speaks, (Fulgur, UK 1998) ISBN 0953101906, pp 225-227. Fifth Formula: Of fortune telling by cards, from The Zotic Grimoire of Zos. Strongly recommended guide to designing your own deck by this groundbreaking sorceror. Aleister Crowley, Book 4: Magick in Theory and Practice (Weiser Books, Boston, 2004) ISBN 0877289190, pp. 250-264. Concerning Divination. A general outline of Crowleys ideas on the subject. As here, he allows that the information may come from within the sorceror, but he proposes that the standard symbols are invariable. Provo, P. The Inspiration Tarot Deck, (US Games Systems 1996) ISBN 0880795247. For those who want to work with a standard 78-card deck, this set of blank cards may be a place to start in designing your own images. Astrological and Tree of Life attributions as well as the suits and pip numbers are on the cards. The centre of the card is blank and left open for your designs. Pennick, N., Magical Alphabets, (Samuel Weiser US, 1992) ISBN 0877287473. A useful source for the principles behind sacred alphabets, as well as a survey of several examples. Cirlot, J.E. A Dictionary of Symbols, (Dover, US, 2002) ISBN 0486425231. An encyclopedic collection of symbols; useful as a source of symbols, or as an aid in understanding your own symbols. Remember though that although these symbols pervade human culture, your subconscious may differ in many cases. I would suggest
While on that point, remember that the deck is a tool for you, so it doesnt matter how skillful a draughtsman you are. So long as the images are understandable by you, it will be sufficient and effective.


perusing this book and similar as bathroom literature, noting anything that particularly strikes you as meaningful, rather than as painting-by-numbers. Campbell, J. Occidental Mythology, the Masks of God, (Penguin US 1964) ISBN 0140043063. A systematic and fascinating comparison of the themes that underlie the art, worship and literature of the western world. Likely to prove a rich resource of imagery, and covers the heros journey as well as many other mythic types. All of Joseph Campbells books are worth a look as he was incisively aware that myths reflect common symbols of our subconscious minds. Nichols, S. Jung and Tarot, an Archetypal Journey, (Samuel Weiser US 1980) ISBN 0877285152. A rather dense examination of the symbols from the standard Tarot, but rather usefully, linked directly to Jungian analysis. Markert, C. I Ching. Ancient wisdom for modern decision-making, (Weatherhill US 1986) ISBN 0834804573. Any one of a number of good I Ching texts is useful to understand the general principles behind divination, as well as giving lots of examples of questions and advice. This version has a good introduction on how to consult the Oracle, as well as theories as to how it works.



Thomas Karlsson uring the violent witch processes thousands of women (and men) were killed by men of the Christian church but far from all had supposedly any connection with witchcraft or pagan beliefs. Rather the opposite seems plausible, the witchcraft trials can have been used to cleanse out dissidents and asocial elements. In any case, a large part of the pre-Christian tradition was forced underground. The Danish runologist Ole Worm had, during his runic research in the 17th century, Icelandic informants who willingly divulged information about the runes; but when the witch trials reached Iceland with a devastating force they all turned silent (Palm 2004: 408). Although witchfinder generals generally burned normal people at the stake, we can suppose that some actual witches existed and that a real witchcraft that also previously had been secret and hidden after the witch trials became even more clandestine. The word witch can be traced back to the word vitki, the Old Norse word for a seer or a magician. The etymology behind the root wicc is debated. It could originate from the proto-Germanic wik which has to do with something spinning, turning or twisting (Edred 1999: 71). It could also be linked to the dances of witchcraft or the association with the turn of the seasons. It can also have its origin in the Old North term vi that means holy, holy place. It was commonly an enclosure, or a sacred grove. This etymmology would reveal that the word witch and the German hexe and the Swedish hxa, which are associated with the words hage and hagga, originally has an identical meaning. The witch was a character who could be found at a sacred site, a vi or a grove, and who gazed into the unknown. The word witch can also be traced back to the same roots as the words see and the Swedish veta (to know) and the one who sees, which corresponds to the Greek derkein and drakon, or the pythonicus in Latin, which denoted a magician or seer. If we follow the meaning of the word witch we will find links to the Draconian tradition. The modern witch movement is based in the anglo-saxon countries and has become a new religious movement, called Wicca, which is Slang for witchcraft. Occasionally the words witch and hexe/hxa seem to be synonymous, but simultaneously the word hexe/hxa seems to carry darker and more sinister connotations, which makes it suitable for dark magicians. This is also a way to separate the witchcraft from the modern Wicca religion. We will return to etymology below. The modern witch movement has a number of important sources. One of the main documents of witchcraft and the witch movement is Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches that was published in 1899 by the American Charles G. Leland. It is claimed to be a holy text from the Italian witch cult and allegedly it was handed over to Leland on New Years Day 1877 by a woman named Maddalena. After leaving him with the documents she disappeared and never contacted Leland again. Frequent discussions have debated if the text is an authentic source to traditional witchcraft or if it is fiction made up by Leland. Practising witches often claim its authenticity, while scholars remain more sceptical. In Triumph of the Moon (Oxford University Press, 1999) by the academic Ronald Hutton three main opinions about Aradia is presented: 1) It is a genuine document describing traditional Italian witchcraft, 2) the text is written by Maddalena based


upon her own family tradition, 3) it is made up by Leland based on his knowledge about folklore. Regardless which alternative is correct, the book can be of interest. Also the manuscript of the Rosicrucians, which great parts of modern esotericism is based upon, are thought to be fictious, as well as several grimoires, and not least the Necronomicon which despite its fictious origin has shown itself to be useful for many magicians. The next important source for modern witch cult is The Witch Cult in Western Europe by Dr. Margaret Murray, which was published in 1921 and presented the thesis that the witch cult was an organised anti-movement to Christianity with roots in pre-classic heathen fertility religions. She claimed that the worship of mother earth was the original religion, which later was completed by worship of a horned male fertility god. In time, according to Murray, the goddess worship was repressed and replaced by a worship of solely the male god. She also asserted that the witch cult, as late as in the seventeenth century, had developed its own hierarchy, festivals and an organisation consisting of groups of 13 witches. But the perhaps most sensational statement is that certain English kings, such as William Rufus, were members of witch covens. Among scholars and scientists her theories has won little support, but they are important to the modern witch cult. The definitive arising of the modern witch cult came with the book Witchcraft Today by the Englishman Gerald Gardner, published in 1954. It is still one of the most important sources of Wicca, the modern witchreligion. The modern witch cult is a potpourri of material gathered from pre-Christian European religion, the degree system of the Freemason, grimoires and books of black arts, ideas from Aleister Crowley and other occultists. Although we can find elements of initiation rites, Wicca and the modern witch cult is more reminiscent of a constructed religion than an initiatory system. Wicca acts as an earth religion (notwithstanding that most of its adherents most probably can be found in the western cities), with dances and annual festivals, in which the god and the goddess are central, above all the latter. The witch is described as a misunderstood wise woman (or man) who helped animals and men with her traditional knowledge about herbs and natural medicine. The witch we encounter in the court protocols from the witch processes, in the medieval church art and in the stories are on the other hand a more sinister witch who is in alliance with the Devil and travels to Brocken or Blkulla to celebrate orgiastic sabbaths. If one attempts to explore the witchcraft from a magical and initiatory perspective it is mainly the phenomena and functions, the symbols and attributes, that are associated with the witch and the witch cult that are of interest. Through the studying of these a new image of the witchcraft appears, which is not merely an earth religion, but a complete system of initiation dark magical tradition that can be fitted into the Draconian tradition. The dark initiatory witchcraft is not in itself linked to the annual festivals, even if several of these moments open up the gate between the worlds and thus are of interest for the dark witch. The dark witchcraft is often non-worldly minded and it is focused on journeys to Brocken, Sabbaths, demons and familiars, pacts with the Devil etc. The form of witchcraft that is based on the annual festivals can be referred to as a light natural cosmic witchcraft, while the witchcraft that focuses on journeys to Brocken and other worlds can be called dark non-natural initiatory witchcraft. The opposite couples natural and non-natural is meant to be understood from the


differentiation in the renaissance magic between the accepter of divine magic which only works with nature and the heavenly bodies, while the non-natural or unnatural magic belonged to Lucifer, the demons and opposed the laws of God and nature. To the latter belonged such acts like necromancy or other things that were believed to be reserved for God alone. The opposites light and dark signify which forces the witch is working with. Gods of light are socially accepted and are associated with the day and white magic while dark gods are perceived as sinister, dangerous and forbidden, they are associated with the night and the dark or black magic. The opposites cosmic and initiatory indicates if the witch submits to the annual cycles, the courses of the heavenly bodies, or if the witch moves independently between these like Lucifer, Loki or other characters that travels between the worlds, breaks laws and strive to become a god. A more elementary difference between the two extremes in witchcraft could be named light nature-witchcraft and dark initiatory witchcraft. But in many instances they may overlap each other, not least in the traditions of herbal magic in which the witches ointment are rooted in nature and assists the witch on her journeys between the worlds. To be able to fully understand witchcraft we must begin with a closer examination of the word witch. In modern oral tradition it has frequently been used as a pejorative name on women, but there seems to exist substance behind that usage. The Swedish and German Hexe/Hxa has the same roots as the word hag. Different from what many modern practitioners of witchcraft claim the witch does not appear to have been the wise woman. Many wise women were burned at the stake as witches, but the witch seems to have had a more dangerous role than the wise woman and was associated with perilous and divergent women. The negative associations that the word hexe and hxa brings has driven many practitioners to call themselves Wiccans, and they move away from the term hxa. The deviating character of the witch has on the other hand inspired feminists to view the witch or the hag as a role model for independent women. Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler define the term in the following manner in A Feminist Dictionary (Rivers Oram Press/Pandora 1990):
Hag: Originally "Holy Woman," a cognate of Egyptian heg, a predynastic matriarchal ruler who knew words of power. Old English haegtesse, Old High German, hagzissa, which meant, "Harpy, witch," or Female demon, an ugly repulsive old woman. It also formerly meant "an evil or frightening spirit" or "nightmare." One must ask though " 'Evil' by whose definition? 'Frightening' to whom? Whose nightmare?" Feminist contemporary definition derives from this archaic past. Hags may now be considered wise women of independent spirit.

One of the more fanciful etymological explanations regarding the word hxa is that it is related to the Greek goddess Hekate which is the goddess of the moon, crossroad, ghosts and witchcraft. An inspiring but possibly even more unlikely derivation links it to the Egyptian frog goddess Hekt/Heqet, or to the Egyptian word Hike which denoted magic and magical force. The most accepted explanation regarding the word hxa is that it comes from a German word that reached Sweden in the 17th century. The word hxa originates in the German Hagezussa or Hagzissa which is earliest confirmed in the 15th century and has an etymological connection to inhgnad (pasture), hck (hedge) or stngsel (fence). It has also been suggested that the word hage (grove) is linked to the older word. Hagzissa denotes someone cunning in witchcraft who rides on a stick taken from a fence. This word spread during the witch persecutions in the late middle ages and beginning of


the new era, from the south of Germany to northern Europe. Already the meaning of the word itself seems to point towards that the stick, wand or broom is a part of the criteria of being a witch. Jan Fries presents one explanation of the word Hagzissa in his book Helrunar:
It means hedge sitter. Hedges were used, from Neolithic times, to protect settlements (...). A person who sits in the hedge, or passes through it, interacts with known reality (the village) and the dangerous realms beyond, relating the world of mortals with the realm of spirits, gods, ghosts and demons (Fries 1997: 77).

A witch was a character who sat on the border out to the unknown. The fact that she was on the border can be interpreted both socially and in space, i.e. she lived in the outskirts of the village, but also astrally and magically that the witch existed on the limit between the earthly and the other worlds. Thus has the word Hagzissa also been interpreted as hedge-sitter, that is, a person who sits in a fenced area, which in olden times could be a sacred vi. In such a sacred area there was a tree or a raised wooden pillar which acted as the world tree or world axis where one could travel between the worlds. The witch was equivalent to the practitioner of Seijd in Old Norse times. Seijd was an art of ecstasy that was frowned upon, believed to be perverse, but which was also believed to grant supernatural power, the ability to travel between the worlds and which was protected by the goddess Freya. The practitioner of Seijd was generally a woman who during the Seijd sat on a sejd-hll (flat part of mountain or rock), where she entered trance. Odin was one of the first men who learned to Seijd and the other gods made pejorative remarks about it, but still Seijd is described in the Ynglinga saga as the art that gives the most power. The practitioner just like the witch was an odd character in the society but with very special gifts. This odd character contained both the socially marginalized and kings like Odin. The scholar Per Anders stling Ph.D, writes in his book: Blkulla, magi och trolldomsprocesser (Uppsala university, 2002):
The witch existed in between the known and the unknown () In the same moment that the witch pronounced an incantation that caused her to fly to Brocken/Blkulla, she passed through a rite of passage. () After this passage the mundane social order was not relevant any longer and she had passed into another role. The witch would hence revel in an asocial and perverted behaviour. She was now in Blkulla. In the final phase the witch returned to her normal, mundane human identity.

This description corresponds to how the practitioner of Seijd entered into the asocial and perverted states under their ecstatic trance during which they travelled into other worlds and communicated with higher powers. If witchcraft has historical roots it is not mainly in the social accepted pagan fertility cult that we should seek it, but in the sinister and feared art of Seijd. The Nordic words that denoted witch was trollpacka, trollkona or trollkrring comparable to sorceress, enchantress etc, and they were used for women who practised forbidden magic. Witchcraft was associated with the dark forces. In Kunskap och insikt i norrn tradition (Nordic Academic Press, 2003) the religious scholar Catharina Raudvere writes that:
It seems as if the different uses of the root Troll acted as signals that powerful forces was in movement. Troll denotes the mythological background to the conceptions and acts that are discussed. It is not the cosy forest beings of John Bauer but quite abstract and sometimes completely immaterial forces. (Raudvere 2003: 37).


Trolls are, according to Raudvere, names of a rather vaguely defined group of supernatural beings in the Old Norse mythology. They are demonic beings that act as a collective of destructive forces, but are also occasionally individually active. The term troll is used also to denote people with special and supernatural abilities, which in turn was associated with the giants (Jotnar) which are other dark beings of the Old Norse pantheon. The magicians and the witches were in alliance with dark forces. In early Nordic Christian literature the word troll is used in general regarding devils, demons and monsters etc (Raudvere 2003: 38). The witch or the sorceress was the character which was in the zone between the world of man and the world of the supernatural. In many cases it was not people, but astral beings. The Tunrida was a form of witch, but that were often associated with the Mare and nocturnal sexual dreams. Witchcraft largely belongs to the astral levels. This is why the moon and other symbols are pivotal in witchcraft. Since both the word witch and the word hxa comes from Germanic words there has been arguments that witchcraft must be based in the Nordic tradition. Here one views the witchcraft from two main standpoints: 1) a historic view of the witch, or 2) a phenomenological view of the witch. The first is of course interesting for historians and ethnologists, but it is also the view that most modern practitioners of witchcraft are based on. Modern practitioners generally attempt to reconstruct an old initiatoric witchcraft that they believe that they are bringing into practise again. The problem with this is that the material is very limited and that the majority of the sources are from the Christian records. The other viewpoint is the phenomenological, in which certain characteristics seem to be recurrent, for example: the dark and sinister and boundary breaking character of the witch, and attributes such as the wand, the cauldron, the herbs and poisons and the spirits etc. The association with the female is central, even in those cases that we are talking about male practitioners, as in the case of Odin and Seijd. Persisting is also the cases of the forbidden orgies, travels to other worlds, and pacts with dark forces. If we would base our selves on a phenomenological view of the witch, we can find witchcraft in almost all times and cultures. The conception of witches, with certain attributes and characteristics and abilities can be found in most traditions. This view of the witch enables us, unlike what is common in Wicca, to not be based on the conception that the witch was a wise old woman, good of heart and which were misunderstood and persecuted when times changes. The phenomenological viewpoint is based on the thought that the witch, to be called a witch, was dark, sinister and breaking boundaries. The two viewpoints can, partly, be united. If we would assume that the witch in the North was equivalent with the practitioners of Seijd, this can have corresponded to the dark properties of the witch, but at the same time been an important part of society and only at the arrival of the Church been persecuted and killed. Phenomenologically she was a witch with all the characteristics of a witch, which can be found among witches in Africa, China and South America, but historically she had a role in the Nordic society which was altered after the arrival of Christianity. From this perspective it is not, as in Wicca, important to emphasize that the witch did NOT worship the Devil. Rather the opposite, this point of view is based on the fact that the witch always has had contact with dark entities, no matter if called trolls in pre-Christian times and devils in later Christian interpretations. In the concept of being a witch, a connection with dark forces is included. The phenomenological view can also be associated with an astral and psychological view of the witch in which the experience of the identity of the witch is central. For this reason, protocols from witch


trials and church art is interesting, since it reveals the image of the witch that existed in peoples minds. The witches of today must embrace the fact that the witch in ancient times was a dark and sinister figure, otherwise witchcraft becomes something else a farmer cult which is powerful and meaningful in its own right, but not the same as witchcraft. Witchcraft is a universal phenomenon and we can identify the dark practices of the witch in Mesopotamian manuscripts, in anthropological studies from Africa or in the old Nordic traditions. Her practises are examples of a dark intiatory path where she gets in league with the nightside to become independent of principles of cosmos and society. This is the reason why witchcraft belongs to the Nightside or Draconian Tradition, where the forces of the unlimited Chaos rather than the structured Cosmos are the goal of the Initiate. Bibliography Flowers, Edred, Witchdom of the True 1999. Fries, Jan, Helrunar 1993. Hutton, Ronald, The Triumph of the Moon 1999. Kramarae and Treichler, A Feminist Dictionary 1990. Palm, Rune, Vikingarnas sprk 2004. Raudvere, Catharina, Kunskap och insikt i norrn tradition 2003. stling, Per-Anders, Blkulla, magi och trolldomsprocesser 2002.


Frater Yechidah nosticism is a huge area of religious and spiritual tradition that has been confused, misinterpreted, and even demonised throughout the years. We have never been so fortunate as today, with a revitalisation of interest in this subject stemming from the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library of ancient Gnostic texts in Egypt in 1945 and the general reinvigoration of Esotericism in the West in the last two hundred years. The followers of this religion, while differing on many key issues of belief and practice, held a common belief in Gnosis (Greek for Knowledge), a kind of spiritual experiential knowledge of the Divine in the here and now, as apposed to in the Afterlife. Much of this was an amalgamation of key beliefs at the time, influenced to differing degrees by Platonism, Neo-Platonism, Stoicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and the Pythagoreans. The term Gnostic is actually misleading, because most of the ancients that we would now consider under this term would not have actually called themselves this. The first occurrence of this word comes from the Sethians (followers of the biblical Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve), who were one of the major sects. We also have limited information on the ancient form of Gnosticism, with most of our information stemming from key heresiologists of the day (Irenaeus, etc.), who certainly would not have coloured them in an unbiased or favourable light. Luckily the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library and other key Gnostic codices has given us primary material from the ancient Gnostics themselves to use and study. The earliest known text that we have from Gnostic sources is the Gospel of Thomas, which dates from early in the second century CE. This text, a compilation of 114 logoi (sayings) of Jesus, forms the groundwork of many other texts that followed, and correlating verses can still be found, albeit sometimes greatly edited, within our modern incarnation of the Bible. While the beliefs of the different Gnostic sects were as varied as the groups themselves, there have been some common threads or predominant themes and concepts that are worth mentioning. The Gnostic view of Divinity usually postulates that there is an All Father, an incomprehensible all-permeating divine being/principle, known to some as the Father, the Monad, or simply the One. From this Nothingness (somewhat equivalent to the Three Veils of Negative Existence in Qabalah) was created Something, and this Something was the first Feminine Principle, known variously as Ennoia (Thought), Charis (Grace), or Sige (Silence). From the union of these came a succession of Aeons (divine emanations, or gods), delineated differently according to the sect in question, but there is often a common view that the last and lowest of these was Sophia (Greek for Wisdom, the Divine Spark active in everyone), who, jealous of the Monads ability to create, created beings of her own, the Archons (Creators). These, in turn, became jealous of Sophias power to create and created the Earth and the race of man (very much in the manner of Genesis in the Old Testament). Then, the chief of these Archons, the Demiurge (known also by the names Yaldabaoth, Saklas, and Samael), being increasingly megalomaniacal, proclaimed himself as the One God, failing to acknowledge the One above him. Sophia was dismayed by this event and travelled down through matter, impregnating herself within the souls of man (as the Holy Spirit) in order to provide the potential of returning to the One. Then the One


sent down the Logos (the Christ) to rescue her, and here it was that Jesus was born, teaching the way of Ascension by example (follow me meaning do as I do), freeing and rescuing Sophia, so that she (and humanity through her) may return to the pleroma (Fullness) that constitutes the higher spiritual realms where the Aeons reside. While the mythologies of each sect differ greatly, Modern Gnosticism mainly comes in a Valentinian form, with the main leading body being the Ecclesia Gnostica, currently led by Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, though there are many other groups springing up. There are also a large body of esoteric schools that have adopted the title, but most of these base it on the concept of Gnosis alone and have little bearing on the original teachings of the Gnostics. However, Gnosticism as a religion is slowly regaining some of its popularity (through the recent obsessions with The Da Vinci Code and the Gospel of Judas, for example), and some of its main concepts have been accepted throughout most esoteric work but while there is a rich system of mythology for each tradition to immerse in, the key concept of Gnosis itself will always outweigh any cultural difference in the ultimate goal for experiential knowledge of the Divine.



Brian M. Walsh
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 and the Stone of the Wise. Aleister Crowley

anishing rituals can be roughly broken into three analytical stages or headings. The first of these is the rite of alignment. Rites of Alignment such as the qabalistic cross create balance in the magician, assist in the building of the Life Tree in the aura and help a shift in consciousness at the beginning of ritual by building a bridge from Assiah (physical) to Yetzirah (astral) consciousness. Following this comes the rite of banishing, for example the use of the earth banishing pentagram in the LBRP and the vibration of the holy names to clear the space. One is both clearing the space, as the name suggests, yet also charging it in a manner conducive to further work. The banishing is then strengthened by a conscious building of the four points in the circle through Briatic forces. Thus we have three headings under which we may dissect this ritual - alignment, banishing and strengthening. To finish the ritual we also add an affirmation and a further alignment. ALIGNMENT The inner mechanisms of occult science find some kinship in the science of psychology. In the realm of psychology there is the idea of the complex, an idea seeded in the subconscious, which although without any immediate presence in the conscious, forms a strong influence on the thought processes of the conscious mind, and the physical activities stemming from it. Complexes are most often of a non-deliberate nature and can be quite debilitating. For example a child who almost drowns at a young age grows up and has no conscious memory or explicit knowledge of the event, but none the less has a debilitating phobia of swimming and large bodies of water. Complexes can also be built as deliberate and positive influences on our life. Through the language of the subconscious, being symbol and gesture, we hold the potential to build ideas of our higher ideals which echo forth into our daily actions. As esotericists we acknowledge the affirmations which stream forth from our intention echoes into the spiritual worlds. By aligning ourselves with a primary schematic of the supernal soul we not only project into the infinite expanse of the divinity, but we also tap into the life power which engenders change in our lives. The dynamic of alignment found in rituals such as the Qabalistic Cross and the Calyx10 further builds, through its streaming forth, not only an immediate effect on the conscious mind, but also upon the etheric body. The etheric, or life body is often observed as an auric field surrounding the body. The auric body is strengthened by,

The Calyx is an equivalent to the Qabalistic Cross of the Golden Dawn used in the magical order Aurum Solis. In the longer version of this paper this ritual is also given a thorough analysis.



and made radiant from the building of the tree in the aura. The aura is strengthened by all rites of alignment that stream forth to the supernal soul. In the work of building the tree in the aura, the temple of the body finds its equivalent development in its astral counterpart. The alignment is finally a balancing of the various cosmological forces at play in the ritual of the esotericist. For example a clear space is defined in the beginning of the ritual, a ritual of a specifically mercurial nature is performed in the space created, and at the end of the ritual when the alignment is performed it balances any excessive mercurial energies in the ether body of the esotericist. The Golden Dawn Qabalistic Cross In the sequence of the LBRP we first come to an alignment which is expressed through the Qabalistic Cross. The words and the gestures of the qabalistic cross are intimately familiar to those raised in the Christianised world, for indeed the gesture forms the cross, and the translation of the words form a sleight variant on the closing of Our Lords Prayer. Of its purpose Israel Regardie said:
That it is utilised in magical practice due to the fact that it constitutes an ideal method of equilibrating the personality and raising the mind to the contemplation of higher things

The name Ateh, meaning thou art is vibrated while the esotericist touches their head. This can be seen as a reference to the logos statement of the Judaic God to Moses on Mt. Sinai where Moses is given the divine name of God AHYH AShR AHYH Aye Asher Aye. In modern biblical arguments and indeed in the Western esoteric movement this is commonly translated as I am the I am, but in actuality a more true translation would be I will be who I will be. Now if we, like the Judaic people, make the name I Will Be, AHYH, aleph, heh, yod, heh into He Will Be we are given YHWH, Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh, the formula of the Tetragrammaton. So in making the statement of thou art we not only align with the sephiroth of Kether, but align with the logos through the Tetragrammaton which spans the length of the tree, each of the letters in one of the four worlds. From the crown of Kether there is an alignment with the sephiroth, yet also a streaming forth, travelling down the tree. , Ateh has a gematric value of 406. Thelemites add the vibration of the name of Aiwass, the Holy Guardian Angel of the Master Therion, or the name of their own HGA if it is known to them. This occurs whilst touching the chest, the area of the sephiroth of Tiphereth. The streaming forth from Kether follows down to the feet to which the esotericist points whilst vibrating Malkuth. Malkuth translates as the kingdom. , Malkuth has a gematric value of 496. So we turn to the imagination of the tree on the body. When coming to the point of vibrating Ve-Geburah, the power, we are given the image of a light growing in the right shoulder, penetrating the breast and following to the left shoulder, where veGedulah, the glory, is vibrated. -, Ve Geburah has a gemetric value of 6-216.

-, Ve Gedulah has a gematric value of 6-48.

Thus we are given the image of the cross. This is strengthened with the interlocking of the hands at the chest and the vibration of Le-Olahm Amen, meaning forever, unto the ages. With this the image of the solidification of the cross of light in the aura, and


the affirmation of the structures eternity, both as an archetypal form, and as a continuing structure in the life body of the esotericist. The ritual form of the qabalistic cross has its immediate origins in the hermetic order of the Golden Dawn, a highly influential esoteric order formed at the end of the 19th Century which represented a convergence of several streams of esoteric thought. That said, it has origins much older. The most immediate parallel can be found in Our Lords Prayer (Gospel of Matthew Chapter 6: Verses 9-13), a central pillar of the Christian system, which has almost identical wording. A parallel is also to be found between the physical gestures of the Qabalistic Cross and the Christian equivalent of the Sign Of The Cross in that both form a cross on the body (and in the life body). However, the orthodox Christian form works with the touching of the left shoulder first, and then the right. This should not be seen as empty symbolism, but as a divergence of philosophy. Growing up in an Orthodox Christian religion the image of God was always somehow out there, an idea and an entity of great mystery, intrigue and awe. This stems from the 2nd Commandment given to Moses which stated thou shalt not make thee any graven image. This is further affirmed in the Merkavah mystics, whose exponents passed through a series of chambers in shamanic states of consciousness, towards the goal of gaining entry to the throne of God and looking upon His face. Of its exponents, it was said the experience killed them or drove them insane. The Catholic church has further said that any image you may have of God is more unlike God than like God. The implication is that one cannot know God or look upon His face. Based on this thesis, when orthodoxy looks at God on the tree, he is placed facing away from us. So if one has an image of the tree in front of them, whilst facing it, at the left shoulder is the power, Geburah, and the right the Glory, Chesed. It is as if a mirror image, depicting a real image, yet also somehow unreal in its inversion. From the viewpoint of the esotericist the tree represented in the qabalistic cross is a building of the tree in the aura. This is building the image of God in the aura, not as something cut off and distant, but as eminent. It is not looking towards a distant light but shining a light outwards, an active part in the great work, the divine work. BANISHING The temple not made with hands, the etheric body, serves as a working space for safe ritualism. Under the previous heading we have opened up a channel to the supernal intelligence spanning the four worlds of the tree. In looking at banishings we are using a complete set of forces to clear the working space, which is in turn an expansion of the etheric body of the esotericist or the group etheric presence of a lodge. The most common of these forces used is that of the four elements, although this process can also be done with planetary and zodiacal symbols. Of these forces, an entire set is generally used to clear completely this space. The forces, being in the case of the LBRP the elements, are placed around the esotericist forming a circle. Lesser Banishing Of The Pentagram Part 1


We now come to banishing. In banishing a complete set of forces are used to clear a space. The forces, being in the case of the LBRP the elements, are placed around the esotericist forming a circle. The Lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram uses both a banishing pentagram and one of four divine names in each of the four directions. The mechanisms of this process form a dramatic, well thought out ritualism, the same basic structure in each quarter starting in the east. First a banishing pentagram is drawn. The banishing pentagram in question is the banishing pentagram of earth starting at the imaged bottom point on the left before you tracing upwards to the utmost point, and continuing from there. This will be repeated in each quarter, yet uses the Earth banishing pentagram each time, referring to the four sub elements of Malkuth - Air of Malkuth, Water of Malkuth, Fire of Malkuth and Earth of Malkuth. This is after all creating a temple of the physical body. After this the hands are withdrawn to the shoulders, palms at either side of the head. During this time proper breathing is practiced while an image of the seal of the pentagram sealing the direction is visualised. Stepping forward with the left foot the divine name given is vibrated on an out breath as the out breathing is accompanied by a pushing forward of the hands, as if to throw this name through the centre of the pentagram. The name should be imaged as if a wind, blowing out any unwanted energies from in front of the esotericist, hitting the far wall beyond the pentagram. The esotericist can also direct this power through using a ritual dagger and stabbing of the centre, or through the projective mudra used by Thelemites, placing thumb projecting between the first and second fingers, all the fingers clasped into a closed fist. The esotericist then steps back again performing the sign of silence, the image of the Godform of Harpocrates, the silent God with the finger over the lip, sealing again the aura after the streaming forth of the Godname. Aleister Crowley states both the LBRP and the assumption of the Godform of Harpocrates are necessary for building an impregnable temple. The esotericist circles to the next quarter with an imagination of an etheric line carried from the centre of the previous pentagram to the centre of the next quarter. The same ritualism is followed for each quarter. Until the esotericist is again facing East. The names used in each quarter are as follows- Yod Heh Vau Heh unto the East, Adonai to the South, Eheieh (Aye) to the West, and AGLA to the North.

, YHVH is the most holy name of God in the Jewish tradition, and corresponds
to the sepiroth of Chokmah. It has a gematric value of 26 or 13x2, unity in division. Its further significance is touched upon in the previous section. As the Godname which spans the length of the tree, the schematic of God, vibrated to the East it stands as our illuminating light.

, Adonai, the name meaning lord is connected with Malkuth, the kingdom and
the significance of this name is the implication of divinity in flesh. It further speaks this through it gematric value of 65, the same number as the esoteric formula of LVX. This relationship will be later looked at.

, Eheieh or Aye, I Will Be, is the God name of Kether. It has a gematric value
of 21. From dawning in the East and the height in the South, the sun finds its journey ended in the West. So it represents a journeys end, a completion of sorts.


, AGLA, as opposed to the other names, is not a God name corresponding to a sephiroth, or even a God name by a traditional understanding, but an abbreviation for
Atoh Gebor Le olam Adonai ( ) which translates as Thou art great forever Lord. AGLA has a gematric value of 35, and the expanded form has a value of 858. In the darkness of the north this formula stands as a powerful exclamation of belief even in the darkest hour. It is at this time of darkness we are forced to look inwards for the inner light of divinity, the spirit flame of shin. STRENGHTENING The space has now been cleared through a Atzulithic force, the Godnames, but it is necessary to hold this space from these forces reentering. In the LBRP this is done through a Briatic force, the Archangels. In clearing the space an active force is used, but for the maintenance of this state a more passive force is called upon. The archangels refer to the elemental quarters as follows: East - Air - Raphael South - Fire - Michael West - Water - Gabriel North - Earth - Aurial Lesser Banishing Ritual Of The Pentagram Part 2 The space has now been cleared through a Atzulithic force, the Godnames, but it is necessary to hold this space from these forces reentering. At this point we are strengthening. In the LBRP this is done through a Briatic force, the Archangels. Unlike the Godnames, the names of the archangels are vibrated whilst stationary facing the East. This is often done in either cross or pentagram formation.

, Raphael literally translates as Healing Of God. The name has a gematric

value of 311.

, Gabriel translates as mighty one of God. The name has a gematric value
of 246.

, Michael translates as like God. The name has a gematric value of 101. , Auriel translates as the Flame of God. The name has a gematric value of
248. The double vowel sound at the end of the names is essential. For example, in common conversation one often speaks of Michael as a double syllable word. But the name Michael is Mich-a-el, he who is like god, and this last el is the Hebrew for God. Thus we are acknowledging through this manner of pronunciation the divine nature of these beings. The image of the archangels can be imaged at each of the quarters in their appropriate colours and may also have the ritual tool of the quarter. The archangels stand as gatekeepers of the four quarters, keeping the gate closed to unwanted forces and allowing a controlled channel to any elemental forces being worked with. The pentagram, the five pointed star is a symbol of protection but through the use of Gemetria we find the number five is also related to the Hebrew word bahbah meaning


gate. The archangels stand as gatekeepers, keeping the gate closed to unwanted forces and allowing a controlled channel to any elemental forces being worked with. AFFIRMATION In the Siddur, a daily Jewish prayer book it gives a similar text to the above strengthening with an additional and above my head the divine presence Equally the Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Formations gives the creation of space through the speaking of combinations of Hebrew letters, marking not four but six directions - to the North, South, East and West, and above and below. In affirming we are declaring our place, the place of God, and how these two relate to each other. Lesser Banishing Of The Pentagram Part 3 In the ritual the esotericist spreads the arms and legs to either side and boldly declares about me flames the pentagram. As this is done a flaming blue pentagram is pictured on the body as in the image of man as a pentagram by Leonardo De Vinci. And continuing with and in the column shines the six rayed star whilst envisioning a hexagram both above and below which forms a column of light. The version I list here differs from the version given by Israel Regardie. In his version he places a single hexagram behind the esotericist and behind me shines the six rayed star. This places the esotericist between the symbols of the microcosm and the macrocosm. In this version, which to the best of my knowledge comes via Aleister Crowley, there is a column of light activated automatically through banishing and strengthening the four elements. The above and below is unbanished but forms a pillar of the spirit or aether. In doing so we have defined the six directions of Sepher Yetzirah. As a final note, the enumeration of the Aleister Crowley version of 4 times 5 for the quarters, and two times 6 brings us to a total of 32, the number of paths including sephiroth on the life tree. This forms an apt symbol of the microcosm in the microcosm. The numeration of 6 and 5 further elaborates the place of man in relation to the cosmos. Standing in this column of light the esoteric formula of LVX stands to elucidate the nature of the divine light, the all pervading power, connecting microcosm and macrocosm. L.V.X. primarily stands for the Latin word Lux meaning light and we as workers of the divine light use it as a many tiered symbol of our work. Within these three letters we see the hidden forces of God and man manifest through the hidden mystery of number. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras believed the nature of God was expressed in number and translated into word, every word linked to an aspect of the divine will. In the word L.V.X. the L has a value of 50, V a value of 5 and X a value of 10 in the Roman system of numerology making the combined value of LVX 65. The numbers five and six are corresponded to the pentagram and the hexagram respectively. The pentagram represents the four constituents of the body of man, being the air, water, fire and earth of the Greek elemental system. These are expressed by the most holy of Hebrew God names, the Tetragrammaton , Yod-Heh-Vev-Heh, the letters representing fire, water, air and earth respectively. But the pentagram has a


fifth point, represented by the additional character in the Pentagrammaton, Yod-HehShin-Vev-Heh. Shin is the symbol of spirit and in the context of the Pentagrammaton, the letter is spirit manifest in the physical. This force is attributed to the Christios, Horus, Aradia and other manifestations of spiritual impulses in the physical body of man. It is the God with us, Emanuel. It is the I AM force which forms the cosmic tapestry encapsulating everything. The hexagram or the shield of David shows two triangles, one upright, one invertedthey represent the elements of fire and water, and esoterically speaking the combination of all opposites. It represents the combined cosmic forces surrounding man, forces commanded by his higher purpose, man manifesting the spirit in flesh. The inner divinity, being the indwelling God force, commands the cosmic forces surrounding. The initiated man is the microcosm and all the work and spiritual ascension occurring in him is manifest in his surroundings, the macrocosm. This command is not one of material indulgence, but one of a spiritual cohesiveness. It is ultimately the same work for every initiate of the Western mysteries because although there are many traditions, and many ways in which this spiritual manifestation is expressed, it is the same cohesive spiritual impulse known variously as Christ, Horus, the Higher Guardian Angel, and the Higher Self. Using this Gemetria we find the name ADNI, Adonai, translating from the Hebrew as Lord has a value of 65 also. When using Gemetria words with the same numerological value are considered to be of the same spiritual nature. In this case the literal translation of the name Adonai tells us a lot about the unique relationship between the indwelling divinity and the larger universe, the microcosm and the macrocosm. It speaks to the one cohesive nature of both, both are manifest from and manifestations of the one spiritual force commonly known as God. 65 is also the numerological value of the Hebrew word HIKL, or Haikal meaning temple. In the qabalistic text The Book Of Formations we are told the temple is located at the centre. The temple, known variously as the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Holy Of Holies and the Vault Of The Adepti, was said to be central to Jewish temple architecture. In the Temple of Solomon just such a room was built, but for us, in real and tangible terms the Temple is the temple of the individual and our own sanctity as individuals. In the mythologies of the building of the temple of Solomon a stone which was rejected for the building became the keystone, the throne of Shekinah which was the very centre of the temple, located in the Sanctum Sanctorum. The Shekinah is the radiant presence of God, the God we each encounter. So we see that which we have discarded becomes the very foundation stone of the spiritual. In an age which has seen so much dwelling on ascension, on raising up to God we see the dwelling place of God as within. In the ritual of the Lesser Banishing Of The Pentagram and as active light workers we are affirming that all wisdom and power is of the one power. Furthermore we affirm the one light is the wisdom and power of the one God seated firmly in the heart of man. Thus the purpose is to manifest the light in the macrocosm, in the cosmos and in our fellow man, a light shining from the temple not made with hands, the human being. ALIGNMENT (AGAIN) The Qabalistic cross is performed again to come back to centre and ensure the forces just worked with are brought into balance. ***


For the reference of those interested in using the LBRP the following brief synopsis of the ritual is included. 1. Starting faced East, touching the forehead vibrate Ateh. 2. Pointing down, covering the genitals, vibrate Malkuth. 3. Touching the right shoulder, vibrate ve- Geburah 4. Touching the left shoulder, vibrate ve- Gedulah. 5. Clasping the hands over the solar plexus (lower chest), say le-Olam, Amen . 6. In the East, make a pentagram. Vibrate Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh (or Ye-ho-wah). 7. Turning to the South, pentagram and vibrate Adonai. 8. Turning to the West, pentagram and vibrate Aye. 9. Turning to the North, pentagram and vibrate AGLA 10. Stand with arms spread in the form of a cross and say; 11. Before me RAPHAEL 12. Behind me GABRIEL 13. On my right hand MICHAEL 14. On my left hand AURIEL 15. (spreading legs to take form of pentagram) For about me flames the pentagram 16. .And in the column shines the six rayed star. 17. Repeat 1. to 5., the Qabalistic Cross. Bibliography
Crowley, Aleister Notes On The Lesser Ritual Of The Pentagram (document) King, Francis & Skinner, Stephen Techniques Of High Magic 1997 Knight, Gareth Practical Guide To Qabalistic Symbolism 2001 Regardie, Israel & Cicero, Chic & Tabatha The Middle Pillar 1998 The previous analysis of the mechanisms of the LBRP is part of a larger paper in process exploring the mechanisms of this and other banishings including ritual forms from the Aurum Solis, qabalistic texts and Thelema.


JOHN-PAUL PATTON is a teacher, poet and occultist, with many years of experience in the field. He works in service to the Orders of A .. A .. and the OTO Foundation in Ireland, adhering primarily to the ethos of Thelema and the Irish magical tradition, while applying an eclectic appreciation of most systems of magical and mystical attainment, from Alchemy to Zen. John-Paul has published in a limited edition The Living Ogam his original and creative research into the magical usage of Ogam. His studies in this field are ongoing, he is currently completing an intensive study on the relations between Ogam and the old Gaelic harp. His work in this area will be presented in a wider publication soon. He is also the vocalist in the heavy rock band Spiral Force ( He has recently been synthesising the philosophies of sex magick and tantra with BDSM. To develop a more wholesome and liberated attitude to sexuality, as the dawn of the New Aeon casts away the shadows of guilt, restriction and ignorance from the past: to reveal a multi-coloured mirad of new possibilities; as part of the battle for absolute individual liberty for all. BRIAN M. WALSH is an esotericist working in the Western tradition. He is linked with several spiritual streams including Pagan expressions, Thelema, Hermeticism and Esoteric Christianity. He works and lives in a lifesharing community with people with special needs, based on the esoteric stream of Anthroposophy. He is also editor of Hidden Spirit Journal. He can be found online at: MIKE FINUCANE has published over 10 scientific articles, working in Ireland, England, and the United States. For several years he has been developing a theory on how magic may function, and is currently researching a book on this subject. Following the scientific approach, he has no affiliations to any particular tradition, although this approach is shared by many Chaos Magicians. At present, he is enjoying a year out, reconnecting with the plants and trees he has planted many years ago in Ireland. Correspondence may be addressed to him at: FRATER YECHIDAH is an Enochian Magician with a strong Gnostic influence to his work. His background includes Golden Dawn work (with a fervent interest in Qabalah), and he now holds the Office of Scribe in the Order of the Sons and Daughters of Light (O.'.S.'.D.'.L.'.), which has a primary focus on Enochian work through its ceremonial facet, the Ordo Dei Aemeth (O.'.D.'.A.'.). He is a keen author and poet, and has published under this and other names. He is studying Audio Visual Media and works as a Martial Arts Instructor part-time, teaching the Korean sword art, Haidong Gumdo. He is Founder and Administrator of Occult Ireland Forums (see ad) and can be contacted via the editor. THOMAS KARLSSON is a historian of religion at the University of Stockholm. He is author of Uthark Nightside Of The Runes and founder of the magical order Dragon Rouge ( He may be contacted via the editorial.