Lately, I’ve been working out the formula for a set of Zodaical invocations. The seeds of the system come from a Ritual of Aries in the Ciceros’ invaluable book, Secrets Of A Golden Dawn Temple (Llewellyn, 1992, pp.428-434). I was struck by the thought that a series of rituals, each month, invoking the forces of each Sign, would set a valuable current into operation in the magician’s life.
There is no set intention to this ritual formula. You could invoke Aries as the setting for a seasonal feast, celebrating the return of Spring in the guise of the prideful and gamboling Ram, and consuming a eucharist of roast lamb and spring wine. If you needed a shot of Leo, to bolster a sagging self-esteem, a private version of the ritual, dedicated to filling you with the Solar strength of the Lion, would be equally suitable. The formula could be used as the basis for the consecration of a magical weapon specific to a given Sign, such as a set of scales sacred to Libra.
The dynamics and flexibility of the ritual reflect the genius of the big guns - Crowley, Mathers, and many more - who gave us tools like these in such a useful, modular form, rather than any particular virtue of mine. The formula presupposes that the magician has hands-on familiarity with some basic tools, especially:
- the Lesser, Greater, and Supreme Rituals of the Pentagram (or equivalent)
- the Lesser and Greater Rituals of the Hexagram (or equivalent)
- the Middle Pillar Ritual (or equivalent)
- the classical symbols of astrology: the Signs and Planets, their names, relationships, and sigils.
These fundamentals are in Libri 0, 5, 25, 36, and 777, and should be supplemented by any good book on Golden Dawn practice (Regardie, Kraig, Cicero). Equivalents in different systems - Aurum Solis, Wiccan, etc. - must be left to the ingenium of the magician, if he or she works within those models.
The Times and the Heavens
The basic form of the ritual is meant to be performed as closely as possible to the time that the Sun enters that Sign.
Alternatively, choose one of the planetary hours of the ruler of the Sign.
The ritual may be used at other times, whether the Sun is in the Sign or not, in order to invoke the specific energy of that Sign. In this case, it seems appropriate that it be performed in the day and hour of the ruling planet.
Prepare a chart showing the heavens for the time of the ritual, so that you know the location of the Sign relative to the altar. While casting it yourself is valuable for the exercise, various Camp members have freeware or shareware astrology programs which can be made available to you, and which certainly take some of the drudgery out of the process. You need to know the position of the Houses at the time of working, and the location of the planet that rules the Sign on the chart as well.
When determining the direction of the Sign relative to your altar, keep in mind that the Ascendant is East. Put down the chart with the Ascendant pointing to the East, and you will immediately see where to turn in order to face the Sign during your invocations.
The Altar and Temple
Your altar should include the appropriate tools for your general mode of working. The principle weapon might either be one linked directly to the Zodaical forces, such as a Lotus Wand, or the elemental weapons, using the one appropriate to the affinity of the Sign for your principle tool.
Have a cup of water, with a pinch of salt, ready for the purifications. Prepare a censer with incense appropriate to the Sign for consecration.
Other appropriate materials might include:
- a talisman with the sigil of the Sign drawn on it in the flashing colors, or a metal talisman engraved with suitable sigils
- the Atu corresponding to the Sign
- a eucharist, if desired, either appropriate to the Sign or a general one.
Additional symbols or images corresponding to the Sign may be placed as your ingenium directs in the temple. A banner or card painted with the Sign, its Names and their sigils, and other appropriate images, may be placed in the direction where the Sign resides in the heavens.
Appropriate music may be played before or during the ritual.
Study the lore of the Sign. What is its general meaning? What is its native house? How does it influence the definition of that house in a chart? How does it operate in the other houses? What is its significance as a Sun Sign? Rising Sign? How does it combine with the influence of the planets when it contains them?
If you don’t already have it, get your natal chart. Study the influence of the Sign in your chart. How does it manifest in your life? What are your needs relative to this Sign? Is it a strong influence, or is it absent or ill-aspected, requiring balancing? This will help you decide just how to write your specific invocations for the ritual.
I provide two general openings here. The “Golden Dawn” method is taken bodily from the rituals that the Adeptus Minor uses to consecrate his working tools: the Lotus Wand, Sword, Rose Cross, etc. It is less elaborate than the Ritual of the Watchtowers, and seems more suitable in that it does not focus the attention upon the sphere of the Elements as elaborately as that opening does.
Give a battery appropriate to the planet ruling the Sign. Proclaim the challenge of the opening: “Hekas, hekas! Este bebeloi!” These were, traditionally, the opening words of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Perform the Lesser Banishing Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram.
Asperge to the four quarters, with the words “And therefore first the priest who governeth the works of fire must sprinkle with the lustral waters of the loud resounding sea.”
Cense to the four quarters, with the words “Then, when all the phantoms have been banished to their abodes, thou shalt see that holy and formless fire, that fire that darts and flashes through the hidden depths of the Universe, hear thou the voice of Fire.”
Starting in the North, circumambulate three times deosil (clockwise), giving the Saluting Signs of 0=0 upon passing the East - that is, stop in the East, and continuing to face in the direction you were traveling, give the Sign of the Enterer, then the Sign of Silence.
Go West of the altar, facing East, and perform the Adoration:
Holy art thou, Lord of the Universe (give Sign of Enterer).
Holy art thou, whom nature hath not formed (give Sign of Enterer).
Holy art thou, the vast and mighty One (give Sign of Enterer).
Lord of the light and of the darkness (Sign of Silence)
Give a battery appropriate to the planet ruling the Sign and proclaim the challenge of the opening: “Procul este profani.Bahlasti! Ompehda!” This is taken from Liber Israfel, where Therion combined the opening of the Ausonian Mysteries (“Begone, O Profane Ones”) with the curse on the crapulous creeds from Liber AL.
Perform the Star Ruby and Star Sapphire.
Asperge to the four quarters, with the words “Asperges me, Therion, hyssopoe et mundabor; lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.” (“Thou shalt purge me, Therion, with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”).
Cense to the four quarters, with the words “Accendat in nobis, Therion, ignem sui amoris et flammam aeternae caritatis.” (“Inflame in us, Therion, the fire of your love and the flame of eternal devotion.”)
Alternatively, the words of the Gnostic Mass may be used. Mix salt into the water, saying “Let the salt of the Earth admonish the water to bear the virtue of the great sea.” (Genuflect) “Mother, be thou adored.” Asperge, saying “Be the magician pure of body and soul.” Place incense in the thurible, saying “Let the fire and air make sweet the world.” (Genuflect) “Father, be thou adored.” Cense, saying “Be the magician fervent of body and soul.”
Circumambulate three times deosil, saluting by the Sign of the Enterer upon passing Boleskine. Standing in the Sign of Ptah Erect (straight up, clasping hands, usually holding a wand, upon the breast), perform the First Gesture of Liber Reguli.
Obviously, whatever is appropriate to your preferred mode of working can be used. Or one could perform the opening in the Elemental grade appropriate to the Sign, from the GD initiations (see also Liber Chanokh, which records these openings).
These are intended to bring the basic forces of the Sign and its ruling planet into play within the temple, before they are given direction in the Invocation Proper. Keep in mind that as you are filling your place of working with these energies, so also are you opening yourself to their influence, raising your awareness to the place where they are the governing reality, and making of the temple the “place between the worlds.”
Charging the Space
Perform the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram (SIRP), or alternatively proceed to perform Liber Reguli in full.
Recite an invocation of the Most High, that the influence of the Sign may be manifested within you, and bring its energies to the fulfillment of your true Will.
Invoking the Sign
Perform the SIRP in each quarter, invoking the Sign. in each - that is, if invoking Aries, use the Supreme Pentagrams for Fire in each quarter, with the sigil of Aries in the center of the elemental Pentagram.
Invoking the Ruler
Perform the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram for the planet ruling the Sign. That is, perform a standard Lesser Invoking Hexagram Ritual, but instead of beginning the Hexagrams from the topmost point (attributed to Saturn), begin at the point attributed to the planet that rules the Sign. Of course, you’ll still be using the Saturnian Hexagrams if the ritual is invoking Capricorn or Aquarius, which Saturn rules.
THE INVOCATION PROPER
Face the direction in which the Sign resides at the time of the working, Trace the Greater Invoking Hexagram of the ruling planet of the Sign. After tracing the sigil of the planet in the center of the star and vibrating the appropriate Divine Names, trace the sigil of the Sign as well and vibrate the permutation of Tetragrammaton that governs it. (The qabala applies 12 variations of the Divine Name, YHVH, to the Signs - thus Aries is governed by YHVH, Taurus by YHHV, and so on - these will be provided with the specific data for each Sign. They may also be found in the Fifth Knowledge Lecture of the Golden Dawn)
Deliver an invocation calling upon the Powers of that Sign, by the permutation of the Divine Name, the ruling Archangel, and such other attributes as seem meaningful to you. These may include: the sigils (GD style) for the Names invoked, the praesigilla (Aurum Solis style) of the planet and Sign, the sigil of the Divine Name from the kamea (Agrippa, by way of the GD) of the ruling planet, the Hebrew letter of the Path attributed to the Sign, the Atu, the Names, Gods, and Images of the Sign in classical cultures, especially those meaningful to the individual magician, and may include references to myths regarding the formation of the Sign, or the physical constellation or stars which give it its particular name and qualities. Quotations from relevant texts, ancient or modern, may be included.
The invocation may be short, hierarchical and to the point, or ample and lyrical, as seems good to the magician, but should in any event rehearse the Names used in the preliminary invocations, building upon the foundation laid during that part of the rite.
The invocation shall likewise assume a tenor and direction based upon the magician’s particular intention in invoking the Sign: whether it be celebratory, as a seasonal rite; or therapeutic, adjusting an imbalance in the magician’s nature; or directed to some concrete end, as a working for success in endeavors appropriate to the Sign or season; or aught else, according to the magician’s Will and ingenium.
The use of music, dance, even dramatic ritual, depending on the inclinations and resources of the magician or magicians performing the rite, are not out of place here, and can bridge into the next part of the formula, the Dedication, if it seems effective. For example, to take a simple case, in invoking Libra, one might begin playing the Venus movement from Holst’s “The Planets” (since Venus rules Libra) during the Invocation Proper, and let the music bridge the transition into the contemplation which begins the Dedication.
In short, the emphasis here is on art - effective art, as good as you can make it - which burns the purely magical symbols into your consciousness with that exaltation that is the hallmark of powerful art. If “bells and smells” do it for you, then vibrate and incantate with the best of them. If freeform dance to Crash Worship is the key to your mysteries, or a particular kundalini kriya, then build your ritual engine that way. But remember that you are working to a particular purpose, and with particular symbols, no matter how Dionysiac your approach, and let the symbolic structure of the ritual direct even the most formless explosion of energy. Similarly, no matter how correct your Pentagrams may be, don’t forget that the purpose of the exercise here is exaltation, true ecstasy, and don’t expect a stiffly proper and completely intellectual rehearsal of the proper signs and seals to capture the desired result.
Having completed the invocation, and certain that the forces of the Sign are filling the place of working and inspiring the aura, let the magician stand in the position of the Tau Cross, or some position which helps him or her be as receptive as possible, and vibrate the Permutation of Tetragrammaton four times, energizing the Middle Pillar in the aura, and forging a palpable link with the energy of the Sign in its position in the heavens. Contemplate this connection for some time: as you breathe in, feel the force of the Sign enter your aura - as you breathe out, let the responding force within you flow to the heavens, as a salute, or acknowledgement, or thanksgiving. Maintain the awareness of the Middle Pillar, and especially the white brilliance of the Kether center, during this contemplation, and feel its light tempering and balancing the forces invoked within you, into an harmonious whole. Remain in this contemplation as long as you wish.
If some material basis: a eucharist, or talisman, or other symbol, has been provided to seal the effect of the ritual in the manifest world, the magician should place it on the altar, if it is not already present. Purify and cense the material basis, then trace the Supreme Invoking Pentagrams for the Sign over it, as if standing upright upon it. A brief dedication of the symbol as a vehicle by which the duly invoked Forces of the Sign shall operate in the world of manifestation, enriching the experience of the magician in accordance with the intention of the ritual, is made. The magician now consumes the eucharist, wraps the talisman, etc.
If the magician is performing the ritual to consecrate a magical weapon for future operations of the nature of the Sign, he may, probably should, adapt the formula, expanding the Preliminary Invocation to include the specific intent that the weapon be consecrated at this time, and performing the purification and censing of the weapon at that point, and then using the new weapon for the Invocation Proper, and confirming its new office in the Dedication. According to its nature, the weapon may then be wrapped and put away, or used to banish the Ruler and Sign during the closing.
The Banishing of the Ruler
Trace the Greater Banishing Hexagram of the ruling planet, towards the quarter of the Sign. Then perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram for the ruling planet.
Banishing the Sign
Perform the Supreme Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram for the Sign, tracing its Pentagram in all four quarters.
The General Closing
As with the opening, closing according to the two rubrics I personally use the most often are given. The Golden Dawn method is taken directly from the same source as the opening. The Thelemic one is adapted from various “plain vanilla” sources.
Purify the temple with water and fire, as in the opening. Circumambulate three times widdershins (counter-clockwise), saluting as you pass the East with the Signs of 0=0.
Deliver the License to depart: “I now release any spirits that may have been imprisoned by this ceremony. Depart in peace unto your abodes and habitations, doing harm to none. Go with the blessings of YHShVH YHVShH.” (Trace the Rose Cross with these final two Names).
Perform the LBRH and LBRP. Give the battery and say ‘I now declare this temple duly closed.”
Purify the temple with water and fire, as in the opening. Circumambulate three times widdershins, saluting with the Sign of the Enterer as you pass Boleskine.
Deliver the License to depart: “By Nuit, by Hadit, by Ra-Hoor-Khuit, I say unto all spirits that may have been imprisoned by this ceremony, depart in peace unto thine habitations and abodes, and may the blessing of the Highest be upon thee in the Name of (insert an appropriate Divine Name or Names from the ritual - perhaps the Permutation of Tetragrammaton and the Name governing the ruling planet); and let there be peace between thee and me; and be thou very ready to come whensoever thou art invoked and called, either by a word, or by a will, or by this mighty work of Magick Art.” (This is adapted from Chapter XVII of Liber IV - Part 3, Magick In Theory And Practice)
Perform the Star Sapphire and Star Ruby. Give the battery - or strike 3-5-3 - and vibrate ABRAHADABRA.