Experiments with the Second Enochian Key
by Benjamin Rowe
Copyright 1987, 1992 by Benjamin Rowe
The proper use of the Second Enochian Key or Call has apparently not yet been established. The Golden Dawn and Aurum Solis methods of using the Enochian system give entirely different uses for the Second Key, and neither has a substantive rationale for their particular use. This paper summarizes my attempts to determine the proper use of the Second Key through experiment, and the conclusions reached as the result of those experiments.
In the Golden Dawn system, the Second Key is used solely to invoke the spirits of the column attributed to the element of spirit in the Tablet of Union. Gerald Schueler repeats this, and adds “as well as for all other angels”. It is unclear whether he intends this to mean just the other squares of the Tablet of Union, or all the other angels of the Enochian system. At another point in his book, Schueler implies that the names in the Tablet of Union can be rotated in a manner similar to the Kerubic Angels of the Lesser Angles to produce names of subsidiary angels. This tends to support the former view.
The Aurum Solis system uses the Second Key as a preliminary to the Call of the Thirty Aethyrs. Alternately, it can be used alone with the invoking name PARAOAN, made up of the “free letters” not used in forming the names of the Angels of the Aethyrs. The A.S. considers the Second Key as invoking an aspect of the “Lower Mother”, presumably meaning Malkuth.
All of these uses seem to have been arrived at by process of elimination. I found none of them to be entirely satisfying or productive of results in my own workings.
Examination of the Second Key shows it to have a strong elemental aspect. These lines obviously relate to fire, water, earth, and air:
“…whom the burning flames have framed within the depth of my jaws; “Whom I have prepared as cups for a wedding, or flowers in their beauty for the chamber of righteousness; “Stronger are your feet than the barren stone, “And mightier are your voices than the manifold winds!”
Unfortunately, this elemental aspect applies equally well to both the G.D. and A.S. interpretations, as well as any number of other interpretations. Both systems appear to rely on parts of the preceding line of the call to support their choice of use.
“Can the wings of the winds understand your voices of wonder, ye Second of the First…”
The G.D. founders apparently took the phrase “Second of the First” to mean “coming immediately after the First”, or immediately after God. The column of spirit in the Tablet of Union being the most “spiritual” of the forces in the Tablets in their system, they applied the Second Key to this column. But if the Second Key is invoking the highest aspect of the Tablet of Union, then what is the First Key, with its precedence over the Second, meant to invoke? Not God; the Angels told Dee specifically that the First itself is only invoked by an unspoken key.
The A.S. system apparently takes the phrase “wings of the winds” and interprets this to refer to the Angels (i.e. winged ones) of the Aethyrs. This is plausible on the surface, since the names of the angels of the Aethyrs are formed by overlaying sigils on the Elemental Tablets. However, the description of these angels that was given to Dee implies that they are of a high character that would contradict the elemental aspect of the second key:
“They are governed by the 12 angels of the 12 Tribes, which are, in turn, governed by the 7 that stand before the presence of God.” This quote would indicate an astrological character, not elemental.
“They are all spirits of the Air, not rejected, but dignified.”
“Unto them, the province of eternal judgement is already opened.”
Add to this the fact that all of the Aethyrs except the lowest are divided into three parts, not four, and the prima facie case for the A.S. method is destroyed, though the quotes suggest no alternative. Examination of the Key of the Aethyrs shows that Key precisely reflects the nature of the Aethyric Ministers as it is described elsewhere in Dee's records. Use of another key as part of their invocation seems superfluous.
The G.D. method fits with the elemental character of the Second Key, but I find it objectionable for what amount to aesthetic reasons. Why should an whole Key be devoted to the invocation of only four letters, which are not specially distinguished from the other twenty letters of the Tablet of Union? Elsewhere in the Tablets separate parts, the names of angels and gods with specific, distinctive characters, are carefully and regularly delineated. There seems to be nothing in Dee's records that would indicate that the first letters of the four names are in any way “higher” or otherwise special with respect to the other letters.
It seemed that it would be possible to determine the correct use of the Second Key by experiment. Examination of my previous experiments with the Keys and Tablets might point up a useful approach.
One of my prior experiments had involved invocations of all the Kerubic angels of the Tablet of Earth, which are clearly of an elemental nature. In that work, I had followed a consistent pattern in my invocations. First, I performed a banishing using the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram. This was followed by an invocation of the element of the Tablet using the Greater Ritual, and then Crowley's elemental invocation from Liber LXXXIX vel Chanokh. The invocation was completed by reciting the First Key, the Key of the Element, and the Key of the Lesser Angle in order. Then the God-names of 3, 4, and 5 letters were invoked, followed by the Elemental King (name of 8 letters), the god-names of six and five letters for that Lesser Angle, and the name of the Kerubic angel.
One would expect that this procedure would produce purely elemental results. Examination of the record showed that the results were always consistent with an elemental framework. But within this frame, there was a consistent intrusion of astrological symbolism. That is, the element of earth was frequently represented in terms of the three earthly zodiacal signs. Similarly for air, water, and fire in their respective Lesser Angles of the Earth Tablet.
The last square of the Watery Lesser Angle depicted Water of Earth almost entirely in terms of the planets Mars (ruler of Scorpio), Uranus (exalted in Scorpio), and Pluto (similar in action to Scorpio). The Airy Lesser Angle contained a hidden initiation ritual, which started out presenting Man as the Pentagram, but then went into a detailed examination of Air as ether, elemental spirit. Finally, the man was taken on a complete circle of the zodiac, backwards from Pisces to Aries. There were also significant intrusions of planetary symbolism in this Lesser Angle.
In the Lesser Angle Earth of Earth, where one would normally expect the elemental aspect of the symbolism to be at its peak, instead the visions took place almost entirely in planetary terms, with “Earth” being interpreted by the angels as the planet Earth, rather than strictly as the element.
It then occurred to me that another part of the Earth Tablet experiments had substantially duplicated the symbolism of the Airy Lesser Angle. That time I had invoked each of the Seniors of the Earth Tablet in turn, and recorded the results verbatim in The Book of the Seniors. That record also showed the symbolism of the man as pentagram passing backwards through the signs of the zodiac. The only difference between the Lesser Angle and the Seniors was that the former interpreted “man” in terms of the individual while the latter interpreted “man” in terms of the human race as a unit.
The only factor common to both sets of invocations was the use of the First Key. I noted that the results for the Seniors were substantially clearer in exposition than the Kerubic visions, and that there were no intrusions of purely elemental symbolism into the visions of the Seniors. Assuming that no higher power had been overriding the normal action of the Enochian intelligences, this led me to the conclusion that the First Key is intended to be used only in invocations of the parts of the Tablets embodying astrological forces; that is, the three Names of God, the Elemental King, and the Seniors. The use of that Key with the Lesser Angles resulted in an overlay of the symbolism normal to the Seniors on the elemental symbolism of the Angles.
So, if the First Key is to be used with the King and Seniors, it follows that the Second Key is not to be used with those intelligences. A large portion of the Tablets was thereby removed from consideration. The next step was to determine which of the remaining possibilities is the correct one.
To start, I decided to see what effects would be produced by invoking the Second Key in the presence of charged talismans of the Tablet of Union and the Great Table composed of the four elemental Tablets and the Tablet of Union names.
The Tablet of Union talisman was charged by invoking each of the names in turn using the pentagram ritual and the pentagrams of Spirit. Each name was invoked on a successive day, and all four were invoked and the accumulated charge directed into the talisman on the fifth day.
On the sixth day, I meditated on the charged Tablet until I could clearly see the energies in its astral double. I then invoked the Second Key, and directed the generated force so that it lay over the talisman. The result was a slight brightening and clarification of the twenty squares corresponding to the sub- elements. No particular effect was seen on the leftmost column attributed to spirit. It appeared to get
slightly weaker, but that could be accounted for by the contrast with the other squares. The energies were maintained in contact with the talisman for a period of ten minutes with no other effect being observed.
I then invoked the four names of the Tablet of Union again and observed the effect. In this instance, there was a definite dispersal of force from the leftmost column of the talisman, and the intensity of the forces in the other squares increased substantially. I also noted that the interaction of the Key with the talisman produced a sense of twisting or distortion, as if the Key's energies were trying to reshape the talisman energies to another form, to break them up into individual squares and set those squares in a different order.
Conclusion: The results invalidate the use of the Second Key proposed by the Golden Dawn system. There does appear to be some sympathy between the Tablet of Union equivalents of the sub-elements and the Second Key, but not in the order they take in that Tablet.
The Great Table talisman was charged by invoking the Third through Eighteenth Keys in order on successive days. The Third through Sixth Keys were invoked twice, once with the First Key, and using only the Three Names of God, the Elemental King, and the Seniors. The charges from these invocations were directed into the Great Cross of each Tablet.
Following this, these keys were invoked again, without the First Key, using the Three Names of God, the Elemental King, and all the names from the Lesser Angle of the pure element in each Tablet. The Kerubic names were rotated through their four phases, while the Servient names were not, following Dee's system. Each name's force was directed to the appropriate section of the Lesser Angle as it was invoked. This second procedure was also used for the Seventh through Eighteenth Keys, and the corresponding Lesser Angles. Finally, the Tablet of Union names were invoked and directed into the Black Cross on the Great Table.
I meditated on the Great Table until the energies with which it was charged were visible to astral sight. Then I recited the Second Key and directed the generated forces to surround the talisman.
There was an immediate enhancement of the forces in the Lesser Angles, which developed an intense radiatory quality that could be felt as well as seen with the astral sight. The Great Cross of each Tablet seemed to recede into the background. Within each Tablet, I could see energy flows passing from one Cross of ten letters to the next, from one group of Kerubic squares to the next, and from one group of Servient squares to the next. Each of these groups as a category became distinctive in some way that superseded their attribution to the Lesser Angles. The precedence of each group over the next also became quite clearly observable, though I can not describe how this was so.
I recited the Second Key again to increase its force, and observed a highly complex flow of force within the talisman. While the previously-described energy flows continued, there also appeared to be a flow in both directions along each rank and column of the Great Table. These flows of force, while strictly linear, interacted to produce a sense of a circular flow around the Great Table which ignored the boundaries of the Tablets and Lesser Angles. Where the flows intersected at each square, there was a flashing of light. Simultaneously there was a sense of strengthening of the bonds holding the various parts of the Great Table in their square formation.
These observations led me to believe that the Second Key was intended to be used with those parts of the tablets that relate strictly to the four elements; that is, those angels that are part of the Lesser Angles. Note that in Dee's system for using the Tablets, the Lesser Angles are invoked as if they were separate from the rest of the Tablet. The three God-names of 3, 4, and 5 letters are not used, nor are the elemental King or the Seniors. Instead the angels are invoked using only the god-names of the Cross of ten letters.
Further consideration brought the hypothesis that if a particular Lesser Angle is to be considered apart from the Tablet it is in, then the G.D. procedure of using the Key governing the Tablet, then the Key governing the Lesser Angle when invoking a Lesser Angle would be invalid. Instead, the Third through Sixth Keys would be treated as if they were co-equal with the Seventh through Eighteenth, and governed only the Lesser Angles they related to.
Since I already had explored the Kerubic squares using the First Key, it seemed reasonable to test this hypothesis by invoking Kerubic squares using the second key. In order to keep the variables of the experiment to a minimum, a simple procedure was used. First, no preliminary banishing or invocation using the Pentagram ritual would be done. A simple circle would be visualized enclosing the astral area of work to restrict the forces. The Second Key would then be invoked, followed by the Key governing the chosen Lesser Angle. Finally, the Kerubic angels of the squares would be invoked by the power of the god-names from the Cross of ten letters. After the first series of four invocations was done, a second set would be done in which the Cross names would not be used, but instead “archangelic” names would be formed by adding a letter from the Tablet of Union to the angel's name, and the angels would be invoked by the power of their archangels. This latter method follows Dee's usage for the Kerubs.
The visions themselves would be started using the G.D. pyramid system, in which the seer visualizes himself standing on a truncated pyramid whose sides are colored according to the attributes of the square in question. However, in this case only the sides showing the attributes of the Lesser Angle would be colored. The other two sides would be left blank, and would be colored by the angel of the square to show the correct attributes. The top of the pyramid would be the color of the Tablet's element, with the letter of the square shown in the color of the element of the Lesser Angle. The Lesser Angle of Water of Fire was chosen by lot to be the object of the test. The Kerubic squares of the Angle were invoked in order from the rightmost to the leftmost.
Results: I noted in every case that the intensity of the invoked force was significantly stronger than it had been in the previous series using the First Key. And during the weeks the invocations took place, my dreams during the night showed a consistent symbolism based on the number 4.
However, analysis of the visions themselves shows few differences that could not be accounted for by the fact that a different Tablet was used for the test. The elemental aspect of the symbolism was much clearer and alchemical symbolism appeared where it had not done so before. Zodiacal symbolism continued to appear as it had done so in the previous series.
Planetary symbolism was almost completely absent. In the few instances where it did appear, it referred solely to the planets as alchemical metals, and only to those planets that relate to the five lowest sephiroth of the Tree of Life, which are attributed to the elements in the G.D. system. The other planets, including the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, did not appear in any form. This is in distinct contrast to the previous series, which had several repeating themes based on the outer planets. The tendency of the previous series to become increasingly focused on cosmic aspects of existence was entirely absent. The test visions had no elements that referred to events occurring outside the planet Earth.
Allowing the angels of the squares to define their own attributes did have one unexpected result: The symbolism that did appear, while completely consistent for each square, did not match the attributes given in the G.D. system. The G.D. method attributes the Kerubic squares, in order from left to right, to Air, Earth, Fire and Water. In the two test series, the visions showed the squares to be attributed to Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. These latter attributes were not only consistent within each vision, but the last vision of the series contained scenes which confirmed the attributes of all four squares.
Conclusions: The weakening of the squares of the Great Crosses when the forces of the Second Key were applied to the Great Table tends to confirm the idea that the Second Key has more to do with the elemental pole of existence than with the cosmic, as does the concurrent strengthening of the rank/file aspects of the Table's formation. The near-absence of planetary symbolism in the test visions also supports this idea. However, the results are not sufficiently explicit to say that the Second Key should only be used with the purely elemental squares of the Tablets. But it appears more likely that the First and Second Keys represent the positive and negative poles of the continuum within which the Enochian forces are contained. Use of one or the other would tend to skew the results of any Enochian invocation towards the pole represented by the particular Key.
This hypothesis is supported not only by the results of the tests described here, but by the results gained by the Aurum Solis system in using the Second Key with the Key of the Aethyrs. In the A.S. system, the activity of the ministers of the Aethyrs is primarily with respect to events occurring in the material world. Contrast this with Crowley's results using the Key of the Aethyrs without the Second Key. In that case, the results were almost entirely spiritual in nature, with little or no indication that the ministers dealt with material events.
The appearance of attributes for the squares at odds with the G.D. system should not be considered to be an indication of invalidity of the tests. The G.D. attributes of the squares are entirely the work of MacGregor Mathers, and are themselves in disagreement with the few attributes the angels gave to Dee. Further exploration of the squares will be done using this same experimental technique in order to determine whether this pattern shown in the test visions extends to other Lesser Angles.
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