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The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram was first published in The Collected Works
of Aleister Crowley Volume I (1905) as a footnote to his poem The Palace of the
World. He ended this footnote with: "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."
It was published again in Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae sub-figura VI (1909), as

i. Touching the forehead, say Ateh (Unto Thee),

ii. Touching the breast, say Malkuth (The Kingdom),
iii. Touching the right shoulder, say ve-Geburah (and the Power),
iv. Touching the left shoulder, say ve-Gedulah (and the Glory).
v. Clasping the hands upon the breast, say le-Olahm, Amen (To
the Ages, Amen).
vi. Turning to the East, make a pentagram (that of Earth) with the
proper weapon (usually the Wand). Say (i.e. vibrate) IHVH.
vii. Turning to the South, the same, but say ADNI.
viii. Turning to the West, the same, but say AHIH.
ix. Turning to the North, the same, but say AGLA (Pronounce:
Ye-ho-wau, Adonai, Eheieh, Agla).
x. Extending the arms in the form of a Cross say,
xi. Before me Raphael;
xii. Behind me Gabriel;
xiii. On my right hand Michael.
xiv. On my left hand Auriel;
xv. For about me flames the Pentagram,
xvi. And in the Column stands the six-rayed Star.
xvii-xxi. Repeat (i) to (v), the Qabalistic Cross.

This ritual was given to Neophytes in the Order of the Golden Dawn.

It is generally assumed that this ritual was created by S. L. MacGregor Mathers

for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. However, it would seem that the main
prototype for the Qabalistic Cross comes from Eliphas Levi:
For example, the initiate said, raising his hand to his forehead, For thine,
then added is, and continuing as he brought down his hands to his breast,
the kingdom, then to the left shoulder, the justice, afterwards to the right
shoulder, and the mercy then clasping his hands, he added, in the
generating ages. Tibi sunt Malkuth et Geburah et Chesed per aeonas a
sign of the cross which is absolutely and magnificently kabbalistic, which
the profanations of Gnosticism have completely lost to the official and
militant Church. This sign, made after this manner, should precede and
terminate the conjuration of the four. (Transcendental Magic)
It should be readily apparent that the usual Trinitarian formula ["In the Name of
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit"] has here been replaced by the
doxology of the Lord's Prayer, liberally translated to correspond to the Tree of Life.

In the first issue of Phyllis Seckler's In The Continuum, part (ii) was changed to:
"Touching the breast, say Aiwass; Touching the genitals, say Malkuth" and the rest
follows as in (iii-v). Although it doesn't appear in any of Crowley's published
writings, evidence that he may have implemented this addition can be found in the
autobiography of Betty May (Tiger Woman), where she describes her stay at the
Abbey of Thelema:
Clouds of incense hung about the room everywhere. When all were
assembled, the Mystic rose from his seat, and taking one of the swords from
the side of the brazier, held it pointing towards the altar while he intoned an
invocation in a language with which I was not familiar. From hearing it
every day, however, the sounds remain fixed in my memory. 'Artay I was
Malcooth--- Vegabular, Vagedura, ee-ar-la--- ah moon.' The last was a
high-pitched note in contrast with the rest of the chant.
(We can assume that "Ateh Aiwass Malkuth--- ve-Geburah, ve-Gedulah, le
Olahm--- Amen" was what she actually heard.)

When making the Qabalistic Cross, one should say "Ateh Malkuth, ve-Geburah,
ve-Gedulah le-Olahm" continuously while touching the points on the body;
"Amen" would be, as Betty May writes, "a high-pitched note in contrast with the
rest of the chant."
To the beginner I would even recommend trying this at first: say "For thine is the
Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, Forever" IN ENGLISH while crossing
oneself, in the same way that members of the Roman Catholic Church cross
themselves and chant the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer. Get familiar
with the rhythm of it. Feel free to get dramatic with your intonation if you choose,
but the most important thing is to learn to say it like you mean it. Once you grasp
that, THEN begin to use the Hebrew words, saying them with the exact same
attitude and intonation as you did in English. It should only take 10-12 seconds to
do the entire Qabalistic Cross.

For a few decades, there has been a trend among magicians (mostly influenced
by Israel Regardie) to completely separate and "vibrate" each word of the
Qabalistic Cross. Although each individual magician is perfectly free to follow this
method if they prefer, I would never teach this as being "THE PROPER WAY" like
so many others do. To me, it just sounds like an affectation, and I haven't found
anything in the writings of Crowley or the original Golden Dawn that prove that
any words of the Lesser Pentagram Ritual are vibrated EXCEPT the four God-
names. It would seem that Regardie just decided that the Hebrew language was so
sacred that each and every Hebrew word should be vibrated when used in ritual.
According to the Z1 document of the Golden Dawn:
Standing with arms out in the form of a Cross, when the breath has been
imaginatively sent to the feet and back, bring the arms forward in The Sign
of the Enterer while vibrating the Name out into the Universe. On
completing this, make the Sign of Silence and remain still, contemplating
the Force you have invoked.
This is the secret traditional mode of pronouncing the Divine Names by
vibration, but let the Adept beware that he applies it only to the Divine
Names of the Gods. If he does this thing ignorantly in working with
Elemental or Demonic Names, he may bring into himself terrible force of
Evil and Obsession.
As stated before, one should say "Ateh Malkuth, ve-Geburah, ve-Gedulah le-
Olahm" continuously, instead of "AAAAHHHHHHH-TAAAAAAAHHHH!!!
MAAAAAHHHHHLLL-KOOOOOOOOT!!!" and so forth, as it is commonly
taught these days. There is no need for any exaggerated separation of the words. If
it would have sounded awkward or weird in English ("THOOUUU AAAAART!!!
THEEE KIIIIIINNG-DOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!"), it seems reasonable that it
would not be any less so in Hebrew. It REALLY should only take 10-12 seconds
to do the ENTIRE Qabalistic Cross.
Another odd invention of Regardie is his preliminary step to the Qabalistic Cross,
in which he recommends that the student visualize the Yechidah as a spherical
form of light above the head, from which the forefinger then draws the light down
to the forehead before "vibrating" the words. But the Yechidah is not above the
head. It is not separate from the head. It is a part of the head and corresponds to the
crown of the head. Regardie's gesture reeks of self-abasement and superstition. As
I said before, each individual magician is perfectly free to follow this method if
they prefer, but this is completely unnecessary. Read The Palace of the World
verse 2 and its footnote:
The pale and holy maiden horn*, In highest heaven is set.
My forehead, bathed in her forlorn Light, with her lips is met;
My lips, that murmur in the morn, With lustrous dew are wet.
[*The moon, as before, signifies Aspiration to the Highest.]
With the Tree of Life placed on the magician's body, the forehead corresponds to
the path of Gimel. The Book of Lies explains that Gimel is "the letter of the
Aspiration, since Gimel is the Path that leads from the Microcosm in Tiphareth to
the Macrocosm in Kether." The Yetziratic attribution of Gimel is the Moon (Liber
777 column CLXXVII). Since touching the forehead symbolizes Aspiration to the
Highest, Regardie's preliminary gesture is redundant.


Crowley's Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram begins:

You are supposed to be standing at the intersection of the paths of Samekh
and Peh. You are facing Tiphareth (the Sun), thus on your right hand is
Netzach (Venus) on your left hand Hod (Mercury), and behind you Yesod
(the Moon).
In the Neophyte Ritual of the Golden Dawn, "The place of the Hegemon is
between the two pillars, whose bases are in Netzach and Hod at the intersection of
the paths of Peh and Samekh in the symbolic gateway of the Occult Science..." The
Hegemon is "the representative of the Gods of Truth and Justice" and "the
translator of the Higher Self" who prepares the Candidate, leads the Candidate, and
speaks for the Candidate during his initiation. It is at the intersection of Samekh
and Peh that the Candidate gets his final consecration as a Neophyte. And the
Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram was given to the Neophyte of the Golden Dawn.
PUBLICATION FOR PROBATIONERS, "Issued by authority of the Master
Therion" and distributed by Frater Progradior (Frank Bennett), included precise
instructions on how to make the Banishing Pentagram of Earth. [In the Lesser
Ritual of the Pentagram, ONLY the Pentagram of Earth is used, and it is used in all
four quarters.]
To make the Pentagram, act thus:
Bring the right hand, with forefinger extended, towards the outer side of
left hip.
(a) Sweep it upwards till vertically in front of centre of head.
(b) Sweep it downwards towards outer side of right hip.
(c) Sweep across and upwards towards the outer side of left shoulder.
(d) Straight across towards outer side of right shoulder.
(e) Across and downwards towards outer side of left hip, or starting point.
Thus, that symbol of Great Power, the Five Pointed Star, is traced in the air.
In doing this figure, the arm must be kept quite rigid throughout; and in
turning to the Cardinal points a straight line must be drawn from Pentagram
to Pentagram, by keeping the arm pointed straight outwards.

The full instructions for the Vibration of God-names in Liber O (section III parts
3-6) should be consulted and studied with the most minute critical care. At this
point, special attention should be given to part 4:
(a) Stand with arms outstretched. [The Sign of Osiris Slain]
(b) Breathe in deeply through the nostrils, imagining the name of the God
desired entering with the breath.
(c) Let that name descend slowly from the lungs to the heart, the solar
plexus, the navel, the generative organs, and so to the feet.
(d) The moment that it appears to touch the feet, quickly advance the left
foot about 12 inches, throw forward the body, and let the hands (drawn back
to the side of the eyes) shoot out, so that you are standing in the typical
position of the God Horus, and at the same time imagine the Name as
rushing up and through the body, while you breathe it out through the
nostrils with the air which has been till then retained in the lungs. All this
must be done with all the force of which you are capable.
(e) Then withdraw the left foot, and place the right forefinger upon the lips,
so that you are in the characteristic position of the God Harpocrates.
This is obviously a rewording of the instructions from the Z1 document, which
was partially quoted before:
Let the Adept, standing upright, his arms stretched out in the form of a
Calvary Cross, vibrate a Divine Name, bringing with the formulation thereof
a deep inspiration into the lungs. Let him retain the breath, mentally
pronouncing the Name in his Heart, so as to combine it with the forces he
desires to awake thereby; thence sending it downwards through his body
past Yesod, but not resting there, but taking his physical life for a material
basis, send it into his feet. There he shall again momentarily formulate the
Namethen, bringing it rushing upwards into the lungs, thence shall he
breathe it forth strongly, while vibrating that Divine Name. He will send his
breath steadily forward into the Universe so as to awake the corresponding
forces of the Name in the Outer World. Standing with arms out in the form of
a Cross, when the breath has been imaginatively sent to the feet and back,
bring the arms forward in The Sign of the Enterer while vibrating the
Name out into the Universe. On completing this, make the Sign of Silence
and remain still, contemplating the Force you have invoked.
"The Sign of the Enterer" is the same as "the typical position of the God
Horus" and the "Sign of Silence" is "the characteristic position of the God
Harpocrates" in Liber O. The photo called "Blind Force" shows Crowley in
the Sign of Horus.

In Telesmatic Images and Adonai, Mathers further offers the following advice:
In vibrating the Divine Names, the Operator should first of all rise as high
as possible towards the idea of the Divine White Brilliance in KETHER
keeping the mind raised to the plane of loftiest aspiration. Unless this is
done, it is dangerous to vibrate only with the astral forces, because the
vibration attracts a certain force to the operator, and the nature of the force
attracted rests largely on the condition of mind in which the operator is.
The ordinary mode of vibrating is as follows: Take a deep and full
inspiration and concentrate your consciousness in your heart, which
answers to Tiphareth. (Having first, as already said, ascended to your
Kether, you should endeavour to bring down the white Brilliance into your
heart, prior to centering your consciousness there.)
Then formulate the letters of the Name required in your heart, in white,
and feel them written there. Be sure to formulate the letters in brilliant white
light, not merely in dull whiteness as the colour of the Apas Tattwa. Then,
emitting the breath, slowly pronounce the Letters so that the sound vibrates
within you, and imagine that the breath, while quitting the body, swells you
so as to fill up space. Pronounce the Name as if you were vibrating it
through the whole Universe, and as if it did not stop until it reached the
further limits.
It would seem that this very advice influenced Israel Regardie's preliminary step
to the Qabalistic Cross (his trademark invention, involving Yechidah as a sphere
above the head, from which light is drawn down to the forehead). Still, not only
has this trend increased in popularity, but the movement of the gesture itself has
become grossly exaggerated. I've even seen some OTO members reach all the way
above their heads as far as their arms will physically reach to make this gesture,
although I cannot fathom why. Regardie also asserts that it was a tradition to
vibrate the words of the Qabalistic Cross, but it is more likely that he himself
created this tradition, as Mathers' words clearly contradict this. The Hebrew
Alphabet does not automatically make something MAGIC.

From section III part 4 (d) of Liber O, many interpret "imagine the Name as
rushing up and through the body, while you breathe it out through the nostrils with
the air which has been till then retained in the lungs" as meaning that the Vibration
of the God-name is not physically vocalized out loud. Perhaps that is exactly what
Crowley meant, but other instructions were clearer and simpler: "intone the name
IHVH, pronounced Ye-Ho-Wau, imagining that it rushes forward with the breath.
Vibrate this name with a strong voice, imagining that the voice carries to infinity in
the east." [These instructions dated January 15, 1947 are currently
unpublished.] Vibrating silently/mentally is a certainly a practical option if the
magician lives with others who don't also practice Magick, and rarely has the
chance to be completely alone in the house.
Every magician is free experiment with either method (or both) to find which
works best for them. But regardless of which method is chosen, it is of the utmost
importance to heed the statement: "All this must be done with all the force of
which you are capable." Each God-name should only take about 3 or 4 seconds to

Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram continues with:

You take one step with the right heel in the hollow of the left foot towards
Tiphareth and vibrate the Divine Name as given in the ritual. You then carry
round the point of the Wand towards Netzach, then take a step again (always
recovering after each forward step so that you remain in the centre) and
vibrating the Divine Name as before. Continue the process facing Yesod and
vibrating; then Hod, and vibrating; but carry the point of the Wand round to
Tiphareth so as to complete the circle.
When you begin, you should be standing with your feet a few inches apart. Just as
the God-name touches your feet, your right foot pivots clockwise; the big toe goes
from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock and the heel is at 9 o'clock, where it will be in the
hollow of the left foot. This is the moment that you bring your hands up to the side
of the eyes, just before you advance the left foot about 12 inches. Notice the
position of Crowley's right foot in the "Blind Force" photo.
[Where it says Wand, beginners should use the forefinger as stated in Frater
Progradior's instructions. Later, the Magick Dagger may be used for banishings.]

In his introduction to The Kabbalah Unveiled, Mathers briefly discusses the four
tetragrammatic names:
The name of the Deity, which we call Jehovah, is in Hebrew a name of
four letters, IHVH; and the true pronunciation of it is known to very few...
Therefore when a devout Jew comes upon it in reading the Scripture, he
either does not attempt to pronounce it, but instead makes a short pause, or
else he substitutes for it the name Adonai, ADNI, Lord. The radical meaning
of the word is 'to be,' and it is thus, like AHIH, Eheieh, a glyph of existence...
[AGLA] is not, properly speaking, a word, but is a notariqon of the sentence,
AThH GBVR LOVLM ADNI, Ateh Gebor Le-Olahm Adonai: 'Thou are
mighty for ever, O Lord!' A brief explanation of Agla is this: A, the one first;
A, the one last; G, the Trinity in Unity; L, the completion of the great work...
Therefore, as the Son reveals the Father, so does IHVH, Jehovah, reveal
AHIH, Eheieh. And ADNI is the Queen 'by whom alone Tetragrammaton can
be grasped,' whose exaltation into Binah is found in the Christian
assumption of the Virgin.

According to Liber 777 and Liber O, IHVH is the God-name of Air, ADNI is the
God-name of Earth, AHIH is the God-name of Spirit (Active) and AGLA is the
God-name of Spirit (Passive). The God-names of Fire (ALHIM) and Water (AL)
are not used in the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram at all, just as only the Pentagram
of Earth is used. However, it should be noted that in the Greater Ritual of the
Pentagram, the magician begins by drawing in the East the Pentagram of Spirit
(Active) and then the Pentagram of Air. In the North, after using the appropriate
Pentagrams and God-names in the South and West, he draws the Pentagram of
Spirit (Passive) followed by the Pentagram of Earth. It is of the utmost importance
that one studies these variations, as complicated and confusing as they are.


It is alleged that this part of the ritual originated as a Jewish prayer, documented
by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in The Hirsch Siddur: "In the Name of God, the
God of Yisrale: may Michael be at my right hand, Gabriel at my left, Uriel before
me, Raphael behind me, and above my head, the presence of God."
Joshua Trachtenberg, commenting on the above prayer, writes: "This is nothing
more than a Jewish version of the ancient Babylonian incantation, 'Shamash before
me, behind me Sin, Nergal at my right, Ninib at my left'..." (Jewish Magic and
In Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Second Book of Occult Philosophy (1533),
Michael is the Archangel of Fire in the East, Gabriel is the Archangel of Water in
the North, Raphael is the Archangel of Air in the West, and Uriel is the Archangel
of Earth in the South.
Here it gets tricky, and a bit confusing.
1)The positions of the archangels in the Ritual of the Pentagram are clearly
different than those of Hirsch or Agrippa, but their assigned Elements in the ritual
ARE consistent with Levi's Conjuration of the Four.
2) Raphael is also the archangel of Tiphareth, and Gabriel is the archangel of
Yesod (Liber 777 column XCIX); this would be consistent with Notes on the
Ritual of the Pentagram. However, in his footnotes to The Palace of the World,
Crowley writes: "Michael, Lord of Hod, an Emanation of a watery nature" and
"Auriel, Archangel of Netzach, to which fire is attributed." But Michael is the
Archangel of Fire and he is at the right hand, where Netzach is supposed to be.
And the Archangel of Netzach is Haniel ("Joy of God"); Auriel ("Light of God") is
not attributed to any of the Sephiroth. So we have to assume that the young poet
Crowley was trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
3) With the exception of IHVH/Raphael/Air, the other God-names, Archangels
and Elements do not match up with their traditional correspondences. At best, I can
only guess that the Elements are all supposed to be counter-balanced with each
other in one way or another, intentionally or by accident.

Crowley ends Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram with:

You can figure out for yourself the forms of the angels, or rather
Archangels. For instance, Raphael, commencing with an 'R' will have a
head of solar glory and the Peh which follows shows that the rest of him is
martial: the 'AL' which concludes the name (in the case of most angelic
beings) indicates that they wield the sword and the balance.
By "AL", he means Aleph/Air/the Sword and Lamed/Libra/the Balance (as in the
Scales of Justice). Resh, the first letter of Raphael, corresponds to the Sun. Gimel,
the first letter of Gabriel, corresponds to the Moon. Michael (Archangel of Fire)
begins with Mem (attributed to Water), as Auriel (Earth) begins with Aleph (Air). I
personally imagine that the attire of all four are similar to the famous Guido Reni
painting of Michael.
As he has a red cloak, you can imagine that Raphael's is yellow, Gabriel's is blue,
and Auriel's is green. I see Raphael as having a warrior's body; Michael as having
an androgynous torso (Yod/Virgo) and powerful legs (Kaph/Jupiter) as he does in
Reni's painting; Auriel as having beefy shoulders (Vau/Taurus) and classic
chiselled torso (Resh/Sol), but feminine yet sturdy legs (Yod/Virgo); and Gabriel
as having the same torso and legs as Auriel but with Mercurial arms, a typical
swimmer's body.

The order of the Elements of the Archangels-- Air/East, Fire/South, Water/West,

Earth/North-- follow the formula of F.I.A.T. Flatus (F) means air, Ignis (I) means
fire, Aqua (A) means water, and Terra (T) means earth. "Only in the end shalt thou
give up thy sap when the great God F.I.A.T. is enthroned on the day of Be-With-
Us." (Liber A'ash) But since the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden
Dawn were all originally members of Societas Rosicruciana In Anglia, it is very
likely that they simply took this arrangement from that Order's Theoricus ritual:
The four Ancients are seated at the centre of the Temple, behind their pillars,
each facing his own cardinal point, thus forming the Cross of the Four
the Ancient of Earth, clothed in a black robe, faces North.
the Ancient of Water, in a blue robe, faces West.
the Ancient of Air, in a yellow robe, faces East.
the Ancient of Fire, in a red robe, faces South.
It is also interesting to note that the passwords in this ritual are "Fortitude" for
Air, "Ignigene" for Fire, "Aquaticus" for Water, and "Terrigena" for Earth, and in
the ritual it is proclaimed that these are specifically associated with the word F I A
T. It also states:
This Cross is named the Cross of the Elements; it consists of a central
white square and four arms of equal length around it. They are coloured
Red, Blue, Yellow and Black, the Red of Fire is above, the Black of Earth is
below, the Blue of Water is on the right, and the Yellow of Air is on the left;
this is the position of the four Ancients in the Temple in this Grade.
This would explain the placement of the elements on the Cross at the bottom of
Diagram 54 from The Temple of Solomon the King.
Many magicians today claim that this arrangement is simply based on the Four
Winds according to Claudius Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos; and the Z1 document seems to
confirm this in a brief sentence (also quoted in The Temple of Solomon the King).
However, Ptolemy's attributions are inconsistent with those of Aristotle (whose
"qualities" of the Classical Greek Elements are used in the very first item of the
Golden Dawn's First Knowledge Lecture) and Cornelius Agrippa. More than likely,
it was just an improvised adaption for the sake of conformity.

In the Golden Dawn's Ritual of the Pentagram (according to Regardie's Stella

Matutina book), the initiate then says: "BEFORE ME FLAMES THE
Crowley changed the words, he also introduced a slightly different magical
formula: It flames both above and beneath the magus, who is thus in a cube of 4
pentagrams and two hexagrams, 32 points in all. And 32 is AHIHVH, the sacred
word that expresses the Unity of the Highest and the Human. (Footnote 18 from
The Palace of the World.)
Oddly enough, Crowley designed the A.'.A.'. Probationer's robes with a scarlet
Pentagram in front, and a Hexagram on the back that resembles the GD Banner of
the East.

The novice of Magick who accepts the Law of Thelema should memorize the
Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram as soon as possible, then practice it
every day for at least an entire year. According to Liber O, the Pentagrams (and
circle connecting them) should "appear in flame, in flame so near to physical that it
would perhaps be visible to the eyes of a bystander, were one present." Then, the
Thelemite should study and learn to perform Liber XXV (The Ritual of the Star
Ruby); many have chosen to replace the Liber O version with that of Liber XXV,
or to even bypass the former altogether. Whatever one choses to do, it is essential
that the other Pentagrams in Liber O are committed to memory for later use in
astral work, Liber V vel Reguli, Liber Samekh, and other magical practices such as
those of Liber Chanokh.
There are those among certain Thelemic circles who insist that the Lesser
Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and the Ritual of the Star Ruby are completely
separate rituals, used for completely different purposes. But Crowley's very words
suggest otherwise. Magick in Theory and Practice, Appendix I, Section 3 clearly
defines Liber XXV as "An improved form of the lesser ritual of the Pentagram."
Below, in these two quotes from Magick in Theory and Practice, the first implies
that the student is given an option between the form in Liber O (published in
Equinox II) and the Star Ruby (published in Liber 333); the second specifically
states "'The Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram' (as now rewritten, Liber 333, Cap.

The habitual use of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (say,
thrice daily) for months and years and constant assumption of the God-form
of Harpocrates (See Equinox I, II and Liber 333, cap. XXV for both of these)
should make the 'real circle', i.e. the Aura of the Magus, impregnable.

It is usually sufficient to perform a general banishing, and to rely upon the

aid of the guardians invoked. Let the banishing therefore be short, but in no
wise slurred for it is useful as it tends to produce the proper attitude of
mind for the invocations. 'The Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram' (as now
rewritten, Liber 333, Cap. XXV) is the best to use.