Chapter XIII Of the Banishings: And Of the Purifications.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and had better come first. Purity means singleness. God is one. The wand is not a wand if it has something sticking to it which is not an essential part of itself. If you wish to invoke Venus, you do not succeed if there are traces of Saturn mixed up with it.

That is a mere logical commonplace: in magick one must go much farther than this. One finds one's analogy in electricity. If insulation is imperfect, the whole current goes back to earth. It is useless to plead that in all those miles of wire there is only one-hundredth of an inch unprotected. It is no good building a ship if the water can enter, through however small a hole.

That first task of the Magician in every ceremony is therefore to render his Circle absolutely impregnable.1)

If one littlest thought intrude upon the mind of the Mystic, his concentration is absolutely destroyed; and his consciousness remains on exactly the same level as the Stockbroker's. Even the smallest baby is incompatible with the virginity of its mother. If you leave even a single spirit within the circle, the effect of the conjuration will be entirely absorbed by it.2)

The Magician must therefore take the utmost care in the matter of purification, “firstly”, of himself, “secondly”, of his instruments, “thirdly”, of the place of working. Ancient Magicians recommended a preliminary purification of from three days to many months. During this period of training they took the utmost pains with diet. They avoided animal food, lest the elemental spirit of the animal should get into their atmosphere. They practised sexual abstinence, lest they should be influenced in any way by the spirit of the wife. Even in regard to the excrements of the body they were equally careful; in trimming the hair and nails, they ceremonially destroyed3) the severed portion. They fasted, so that the body itself might destroy anything extraneous to the bare necessity of its existence. They purified the mind by special prayers and conservations. They avoided the contamination of social intercourse, especially the conjugal kind; and their servitors were disciples specially chosen and consecrated for the work. In modern times our superior understanding of the essentials of this process enables us to dispense to some extent with its external rigours; but the internal purification must be even more carefully performed. We may eat meat, provided that in doing so we affirm that we eat it in order to strengthen us for the special purpose of our proposed invocation.4)

By thus avoiding those actions which might excite the comment of our neighbours we avoid the graver dangers of falling into spiritual pride.

We have understood the saying: “To the pure all things are pure”, and we have learnt how to act up to it. We can analyse the mind far more acutely than could the ancients, and we can therefore distinguish the real and right feeling from its imitations. A man may eat meat from self-indulgence, or in order to avoid the dangers of asceticism. We must constantly examine ourselves, and assure ourselves that every action is really subservient to the One Purpose.

It is ceremonially desirable to seal and affirm this mental purity by Ritual, and accordingly the first operation in any actual ceremony is bathing and robing, with appropriate words. The bath signifies the removal of all things extraneous to antagonistic to the one thought. The putting on of the robe is the positive side of the same operation. It is the assumption of the fame of mind suitable to that one thought.

A similar operation takes place in the preparation of every instrument, as has been seen in the Chapter devoted to that subject. In the preparation of the place of working, the same considerations apply. We first remove from that place all objects; and we then put into it those objects, and only those objects, which are necessary. During many days we occupy ourselves in this process of cleansing and consecration; and this again is confirmed in the actual ceremony.

The cleansed and consecrated Magician takes his cleansed and consecrated instruments into that cleansed and consecrated place, and there proceeds to repeat that double ceremony in the ceremony itself, which has these same two main parts. The first part of every ceremony is the banishing; the second, the invoking. The same formula is repeated even in the ceremony of banishing itself, for in the banishing ritual of the pentagram we not only command the demons to depart, but invoke the Archangels and their hosts to act as guardians of the Circle during our pre-occupation with the ceremony proper. In more elaborate ceremonies it is usual to banish everything by name. Each element, each planet, and each sign, perhaps even the Sephiroth themselves; all are removed, including the very one which we wished to invoke, for that forces as existing in Nature is always impure. But this process, being long and wearisome, is not altogether advisable in actual working. 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.5)

Only the four elements are specifically mentioned, but these four elements contain the planets and the signs6) — the four elements are Tetragrammaton; and Tetragrammaton is the Universe. This special precaution is, however, necessary: make exceedingly sure that the ceremony of banishing is effective! Be alert and on your guard! Watch before you pray! The feeling of success in banishing, once acquired, is unmistakable.

At the conclusion, it is usually well to pause for a few moments, and to make sure once more that every thing necessary to the ceremony is in its right place. The Magician may then proceed to the final consecration of the furniture of the Temple.7)

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See, however, the Essay on Truth in “Konx om Pax”. The Circle (in one aspect) asserts Duality, and emphasizes Division.
While one remains exposed to the action of all sorts of forces they more or less counterbalance each other, so that the general equilibrium, produced by evolution, is on the whole maintained. But if we suppress all but one, its action becomes irresistible. Thus, the pressure of the atmosphere would crush us if we “banished” that of our bodies; and we should crumble to dust if we rebelled successfully against cohesion. A man who is normally an “allround good sort” often becomes intolerable when he gets rid of his collection of vices; he is swept into monomania by the spiritual pride which had been previously restrained by countervailing passions. Again, there is a worse draught when an ill-fitting door is closed than when it stands open. It is not as necessary to protect his mother and his cattle from Don Juan as it was from the Hermits of the Thebaid.
Such destruction should be by burning or other means which produces a complete chemical change. In so doing care should be taken to bless and liberate the native elemental of the thing burnt. This maxim is of universal application.
In an Abbey of Thelema we say “Will” before a meal. The formula is as follows. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” “What is thy Will?” “It is my will to eat and drink” “To what end?” “That my body may be fortified thereby.” “To what end?” “That I may accomplish the Great Work.” “Love is the law, love under will.” “Fall to!” This may be adapted as a monologue. One may also add the inquiry “What is the Great Work?” and answer appropriately, when it seems useful to specify the nature of the Operation in progress at the time. The point is to seize every occasion of bringing every available force to bear upon the objective of the assault. It does not matter what the force is (by any standard of judgment) so long as it plays its proper part in securing the success of the general purpose. Thus, even laziness may be used to increase our indifference to interfering impulses, or envy to counteract carelessness. See Liber CLXXV, Equinox I, VII, p. 37. This is especially true, since the forces are destroyed by the process. That is, one destroys a complex which in itself is “evil” and puts its elements to the one right use.
See also the Ritual called “The Mark of the Beast” given in an Appendix. But this is pantomorphous.
The signs and the planets, of course, contain, the elements. It is important to remember this fact, as it helps one to grasp what all these terms really mean. None of the “Thirty-two Paths” is a simple idea; each one is a combination, differentiated from the others by its structure and proportions. The chemical elements are similarly constituted, as the critics of Magick have at last been compelled to admit.
That is, of the special arrangement of that furniture. Each object should have been separately consecrated beforehand. The ritual here in question should summarize the situation, and devote the particular arrangement to its purpose by invoking the appropriate forces. Let it be well remembered that each object is bound by the Oaths of its original consecration as such. Thus, if a pantacle has been made sacred to Venus, it cannot be used in an operation of Mars; the Energy of the Exorcist would be taken up in overcoming the opposition of the “Karma” or inertia therein inherent.


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