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A Ritual of the Heptagram
by Benjamin Rowe
A Ritual of the Heptagram
The magickal circle has the Heptagram inscribed, with its points touching the circle. Topmost point directed east. Glyphs of the planets or other appropriate sigillia should be drawn within the angles of the Heptagram. For invocations, the lotus wand or a planetary wand should be used. Either wand or the sword may be used for banishings.
Circumambulate the magickal circle with the magickal weapon directed outwards.
Make the sign of Osiris Risen. Recite:
I, R, N, I
Yod, Resh, Nun, Yod
Isis, Horus, Set, Thoth
The linking of the Earth with the Stars!
Isis - Nature, the Fullness of Earth! Horus - Warrior, the Triumph of Sol! Set - Apostate, Seed of Rebellion! Thoth - Perfection, Uniting them all!
Go to first point of Heptagram, draw the Heptagram of Saturn, invoking: ShBThAI, unmoving, horizon of perception, by IHVH ALHIM I invoke you!. Go clockwise following the lines of the Heptagram, drawing the Heptagrams of the planets and invoking the divine names & planets in this order:
ShMSh, thou Sun, by IHVH ALVH VDOTh I invoke you!
LBNH, whiteness in night, ShDI AL ChI enlivens you!
MADIM, ruler of forces, by ALHIM GBVR I invoke you!
KVKB, fleet star, ALHIM TzBAVTh moves you!
TzDQ, righteous one, by AL I invoke you!
NVGH, brightness of morning, IHVH TzBAVTh is your god! Complete the hexagram by returning to the first point. 4:
Return to the center of the circle, face east. Recite:
Isis - Nature, the Fullness of Earth!
Horus - Warrior, the Triumph of Sol! Set - Nay-Sayer, Seed of Rebellion! Thoth - Perfection, Uniting them All!
Make the sign of Osiris Risen.
Symbolism and Visualizations.
1: This brief ritual was designed as a general planetary invocation and banishing, to be used when invoking the Heptarchic Royalty and the angels of the Table of the 49 Good Angels. The symbolism of these divine beings is based on the number seven rather than six, with Sol being treated as one among equals, instead of being given a place of primacy. The ritual can also be used as a substitute for the Hexagram Ritual in other, non-Heptarchic workings.
The preferred form of the Heptagram is the G.D. version. Going clockwise from the topmost point, the planets are attributed to the points in the order of their apparent rate of motion, from slowest to fastest. This is identical with the order of their corresponding sephiroth in the Tree of Life. I use this ordering because when the Heptagram is drawn, the planets' points are touched in the order of the days of the week. Thus this version of the Heptagram embodies both macrocosmic and microcosmic aspects of the planetary powers.
The orientation of Heptagram inscribed in the magickal circle is arbitrary. One can make valid arguments for several different orientations, and the magician should use the orientation that fits his own preferences.
To draw the invoking heptagram of a planet, start at the point attributed to the planet and move clockwise. The banishing Heptagram is drawn by starting at the same point and going counter-clockwise. The glyph of the planet is drawn in the center of the completed Heptagram.
2: Points 2 and 3 of this ritual describe a complete cycle. Point 2 represents the raising of the Earth to the stars by expansion of the elementally-based formula of INRI/IRNI to include the entire Tree of Life. Point 3 represents the response of the macrocosmos being fixed in matter.
The spoken portion of point 2 is a revision of the G.D. Hexagram ritual and the keyword INRI to conform with an initiatory system shown to me by the Enochian spirits. This system is described in the chapbook Enochian Temples and the related papers in the Archives. Readers interested in the fine details of the system should consult those documents. Briefly, this system divides the Tree of Life into four sections instead of the three major divisions of the G.D. system, and views initiation as a more dynamic process than the G.D. does. The four stages are:
Isis - Lunar-planetary stage. Corresponds to the Outer Order of the G.D. system. Elemental Earth, astrological Virgo.
Horus - Solar-planetary stage. Corresponds to the transitional grades between the Outer Order and the Order of the Rose Cross, the grade of Adeptus Minor, and the paths between that grade and the full Adept grades. Elemental fire, astrologically Sol/Aries.
Set - Solar-systemic stage. Corresponds to the full Adept grades, and the paths connecting these grades with the grades of Magister Templi and Magus. Elemental water, astrologically Scorpio.
Thoth or Nepthys - Cosmic stage. Corresponds to the “Secret Chiefs” of the G.D., or the Order of the A.A. in Crowley's system. Normally Thoth is attributed to the last I of IRNI as ruler of the Sphere of the Fixed Stars. In this ritual Nepthys, in her aspect as a goddess of perfection, is substituted to maintain a balance between the masculine and feminine forces. Elemental Air, astrologically Mercury / Aquarius (Thoth) or Libra (Nepthys).
Thelemic magicians might want to consider the correspondence between these four gods and the thelemic quadruplicity of Babalon, Horus, Hadit, and Nuit. There is also a strong correspondence between the IRNI formula and the fixed zodiacal signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.
The ritual begins with the sign of Osiris because it is Osiris, humanity, that passes through these four stages of initiation. The sign of Osiris Risen is used instead of Osiris Slain because Man must have conquered the worlds of the elements and become the Pentagram before he can enter into the purely planetary realms. The magician affirms that he has accomplished this task by giving the sign.
The first three spoken lines are an abstract analysis of the keyword, along the same lines as the G.D. Hexagram Ritual. The next line celebrates both action of the IRNI formula and the purpose of the ritual. IRNI links the Earth with the stars by encompassing the Tree. The ceremony links the Earth with the stars because the sephiroth with planetary attributes lie between Malkuth and Chokmah, sphere of the fixed stars. The line also links the abstract preceding three lines with the concrete and qualitative descriptions of the following four lines, to make the holy seven that is the basis of the ritual.
The final four lines describe the attributes of the four initiatory stages and the corresponding parts of the Tree through commemoration of the relevant characteristics of the gods. As these lines are recited, the gods should be visualized at the four quarters, in backgrounds suggestive of the qualities mentioned. For instance, Isis could be seen standing amidst lush vegetation, Horus standing above a battlefield strewn with the bodies of his enemies, etc.
3: In invoking the planets, the lines of the Heptagram are followed in order to tie the planetary powers to the Earth. Invoking each point in order clockwise does not seem to produce as stable a manifestation. The large Heptagram within the circle can be viewed as the Heptagram of Earth, and the invoked powers as its sub-aspects. The magickal image of the planet or its sephira should be visualized standing beyond each Heptagram after it is drawn.
The invocation of the planets uses the Hebrew planet names and god-names. The English following each planet's name is a loose translation of the Hebrew inserted purely for emphasis. The variations in phrasing in the invocations of Luna, Mercury, and Venus (“enlivens you”, “moves you”, “is your god”) are a cabalistic pun on the old Theosophical phrase concerning the worlds in which the uninitiated man “Lives, and moves, and has his being”. The sephiroth corresponding to these planets are the cabalistic equivalents of the Theosophical worlds.
The planet names are used first, to emphasize that the planets are not merely points of light in the sky expressing the Assiatic aspect of cosmic forces, but the bodies of beings expressing themselves in all four worlds; beings whose power and nature qualifies them as gods in their own right.
Our magickal conception of the universe should always conform to the known facts of physical reality. Prior to the advent of space travel, our subjective experience of the planets as moving points of light was more or less in conformance with the limited objective view. But telecommunications and space probes have now provided us with a clearer perspective on their true nature. The subjective experience is now shown to be only a product of our relative locations in space.
But while the new objective view invalidates the naive subjective view of the planets, it actually enhances the magickal view of their natures. Each of the known planets has at least one outstanding physical characteristic that is a perfect correspondence to the traditional magickal view of its nature and powers. For instance, Saturn's rings are a graphic symbol of its restrictive and limiting nature. Mars' surface is covered with iron, the traditional metal of the planet. Mars also has the largest volcano in the solar system, an order of magnitude larger than any on Earth, confirming the traditional violence of its nature.
A similar alteration must be made in our view of the Earth. She is still the sphere of the Elements - nowhere else in the solar system are they as active as here. Her place as the life-holder is also still secure. But the traditional magickal view of the Earth as the material pole of the matter-spirit duality has to be modified.
Our space explorations have shown that matter is much the same elsewhere in the solar system as it is here. There is no reason to think that this sameness can not be extended to the rest of the universe. The Earth is in no way more “material” than any other place. Our perception of the Earth as different in some way from the rest of the universe is purely subjective, and completely relative.
Further, matter itself has proven to be much different from the naive subjective view. Beneath its seeming palpability is another world of sub-atomic particles; and the further scientists delve into that smaller world, the more it seems that there might be an even smaller world, and smaller worlds yet beyond that one.
The same is true in the physical macrocosm. We have pushed our conception of the universe to the theoretical limits of direct knowledge, but our knowledge and the very structure of our conception is beginning to demand that we conceive that universe as being but a limited, relatively local phenomenon, a bubble in some meta-universal stream of activity.
So our view of the physical universe is proving to be only a slice, a range of phenomena in a continuum whose true limits are beyond our perception, perhaps beyond our ability to conceive. Following the law of correspondences the subjective spirit-matter duality described by the Tree of Life must also be seen as a section of a larger continuum; beyond the horizon of our perception in both the spiritual and material directions must exist other realms as yet unperceived. Neither Malkuth nor Kether is an absolute limit to existence, but both are merely the horizon beyond which we can not presently see. Malkuth may be seen as the Kether of some sub-microcosmic Tree, and Kether the Malkuth of a larger Tree.
Under this conception, we must abandon the idea of the Earth being irrevocably tied to Malkuth. Viewed from the spatial perspective she actually encloses the elements, and the life she holds, within herself. Therefore she is properly placed in Binah. Under this same conception Saturn, representing limitation, the “horizon” beyond which we can not see but only speculate, can be taken out of Binah and more properly placed in Malkuth.
The astrological characters of the two planets have always supported such a move – a fact that has been indirectly recognized by many writers as early as the Golden Dawn era. There is no obvious reason why the change has not been proposed formally before now. Perhaps it is the fact that the Hebrew divine names are the only truly effective means of evocation that has been available, and the Hebrew system is based entirely on the naive, subjective view in which the Earth was an infinite expanse of stone totally separated from the ethereal realms above. The only system of comparable effectiveness, the Enochian system, as yet lacks a framework for invoking the powers of the planets themselves, though the Heptarchy provides an avenue to those powers through angelic intermediaries.
Copyright 1990, 1992 by Benjamin Rowe
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