Frater L.L.
0°=0° - A∴A∴
☉ in 8° h
☾ in 12° g


Symbolism of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
 
    The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is an essential practice within A∴A∴, one that the aspirant must be willing to practice daily for essentially the rest of their lives. This is the first step of its symbolism. It is a symbol of dedication, both to oneself and to the Holy Order. I expect that as a Superior in A∴A∴, seeing your Student persevere through the daily practices of the LBRP is something of a good sign, demonstrating their dedication. However, it’s easy to dedicate oneself to something, but it’s much more difficult to dedicate oneself to oneself. As an aspirant/student, this is something that I’ve learned personally. Similar to how I sometimes feed my cat more consistently than I do myself, humans will often push themselves to fill some role in an external system, expecting it to better themselves. Although, they may not give themselves the sort of exaltation they give these external systems. This means that their dedication is somewhat misaligned. Their ability to better themselves is contingent upon how well they better the group to which they are assigned. A∴A∴’s perspective seems to be that the strength of the external system is instead contingent upon how well the individuals better themselves. “Thus ye have star & star, system & system;...”.1

    Although I mention that it’s easy to dedicate oneself to something, this may be more correct as a historical trend. In the modern world, dedication is sometimes seen as a form of bondage. The Jack of all Trades (and thus a master of none) has become the norm, preventing a good portion of the population from understanding the importance of specialty and compartmentalization. This reminds me of a hypothetical situation where an ignorant person meets with some master of some trade, leaving with the idea, “I can do that,” not realizing the years of dedication put into that craft. It makes sense that this would be the case because general competence proves convenient. Dedication and specialization of a single craft can inhibit versatility. The world is very focused on convenience. This makes dedication less viable economically. The dedication to the banishing ritual is a symbol that one is willing to pursue regardless of the inconvenience, (to put it in as material terms as possible.)

           Origins:
    An early influence of the LBRP is the elemental attributions of the quarters. There have been a handful of different elemental attributions to the quarters through history. However, Crowley’s influence would have come through the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. A few of the main founders of the G∴D∴ were members of the order S.R.I.A.2 This included W. W. Westcott, S. L. MacGregor Mathers, and William Robert Woodman. There’s evidence that another S.R.I.A. member, Kenneth Mackenzie, wrote the cipher manuscripts that Westcott acquired after Mackenzie’s death, and were used to found the G∴D∴.3 Within the S.R.I.A. were four passwords, Fortitude (Favonius?), lgnigene, Aquaticus, Terrigena,4 which were presented to the Zelator from the East, to the South, West, and North, implying the same elemental attributions still used within the LBRP. They imply the names of the elements in Latin: Flatus, Ignus, Aqua, Terra, creating the first half of the latin bible phrase “Fiat Lux”,5 meaning “Let there be Light.” The action of moving through the quarters also has a precedent even as far back as Greco-Egyptian Magic. Within PGM XIII of the Greek Magical Papyri is an instruction for the magician to perform certain calls in each of the quarters, although they go counterclockwise.6 Note however that the LBRP is not an elemental ritual. This will be discussed later.

   The origins of the Qabalistic Cross also come from around the same time (although slightly earlier), through the works of Eliphas Levi. He mentions it in both Part 1 and Part 2 of The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic. In Part 1, chapter 3, he mentions it is rare in ancient manuscripts because of how exalted it was. Some people use its rarity as evidence to dismiss what is now known as the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer. Levi instead uses it as a way to demonstrate its value. He presents the doxology in both Greek and Hebrew, even though the original only ever appeared in Greek New Testament manuscripts.7 The Hebrew version seems to be inspired by 1 Chronicles 29:11,8 which has a similar qabalistic structure but was altered to fit the new Greek formula presented by the Gnostics.9 Daniel 2:3710 is also worth noting. In Part 2, chapter 4, he mentions it at the end of the Conjuration of the Four. He mentions explicitly that it “must precede and end the conjuration of the four,” as it is done in the LBRP. In this example, he gives it in both English and Latin, to complement the previous Greek and Hebrew. He writes: “... bringing his hand to his forehead, said: To you; and then added: belongs; and continued while bringing his hand to his chest: the kingdom: then to the left shoulder: justice; to the right shoulder: and mercy. Then one joins the two hands while adding: in the generative cycles. In Latin, Tibi sunt Malchut, et Gevurah et Hesed per aeonas.11. The only difference here is that Levi says to touch the left shoulder first, while Liber O associates Geburah with the right shoulder.

    Many would try to claim that because the cipher manuscripts were “forged”, they have less “authority” than if they were truly written by some high German Adept. However, the people behind this “hoax” were more than qualified to synthesize the information they collectively held into a functional system. Their resumes prove plenty, but that isn’t even the point. The merits of the rituals speak for themselves. They’ve been used and refined by many magicians for over 130 years. That is the scientific structure of magic - to hone and refine the practices based on the collective results of magicians. The ritual itself is a symbol of that synthesis and scientific investigation.

        The Four:
    Holy symbolism often makes use of trinities. This is seen in “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” or in Isis, Osiris, and Horus, etc... J. Daniel Gunther pointed out during an online lecture:12 as consciousness becomes familiar with a number, the next must emerge. Gunther argues that as humans became comfortable with God as a Trinity, it paved the way for it to expand and develop. As an example, he presented the three Mother Letters, Aleph, Mem, Shin, which eventually included Tau, doubling as both a planetary letter and an elemental letter. If these letters are presented using their original Phoenecian, that Tau is in the form of an X, demonstrating its connection to "the Four".

    The number four seems to point more and more to “humanity”. This is solidified in Christ as the redeemer dying on a cross. This is also the point when humans were presented with “God” entering into “Man” in the form of Jesus, (something they weren’t quite ready for, leading to his crucifixion.) The four Cherubim all have animal faces except for one. The last one is human (or at least anthropomorphic). Prior to Judeo-Christianity, these Cherubim/Sphinxes were generally symbols of protection. There are depictions of cherubim on neo-Assyrian seals from around 1000 to 600 B.C. These elements help point to why the symbol of the cross is related to protection. These four cherubim are known as the guards of the Garden of Eden13 (including the Tree of Life). And Jesus is known as the protector of the soul, (if you accept his message). I’m not claiming that these are requirements in any sense. This merely demonstrates the archetypal connection between “the Four” and the concept of protection. The Qabalistic Sign of the Cross is a distillation of this protection.

    The LBRP has many levels of protection built into its structure. After the Qabalistic Cross, the magician then begins drawing the pentagrams and making use of God-names. These names come directly from the Bible as names for the Most High. This is what clearly demonstrates that the LBRP is not an Elemental Ritual. They are:

1. יהוהThis name is unpronounceable by Jews, but is sometimes transliterated as Yahweh or Jehovah. Crowley uses “Yehowau” in Liber O. This name is often referred to as, “Tetragrammaton,” a Greek word meaning, “four letters.” The oldest known inscription using this name is from the Mesha Stele, or Moabite Stone, circa 840 BCE.14 This name is often associated with a shorter version of the name, יה, Jah15, which was spoken - especially in the contraction הללו-יה, Hallelu-jah.16 The etymology of this name is highly debated, but it shares the יה root with another God-name, אהיה, “Eheieh.” It is generally believed to be a form of “To be.” Biblical Hebrew dealt with tense differently, so it can be openly interpreted between “He is,” “He was,” and “He will be.”17

2. אדניThis name was originally used as a replacement for יהוהIt translates to “Lord,” although it also has a strange etymology. The root, Adon, (𐤀𐤃𐤍) in Phoenician means a singular “Lord”. However, Adonai is technically plural and first-person at the same time. Some biblical scholars have hypothesized the idea of “Pluralis Excellentiae”, Plural of Excellence (or Majesty).18 This name also found its way to the Greek god Adonis, as a title for the Sumerian God Dumizid.

3. אהיהThis name is related to יהוה in that it shares the same יה root. It comes from Exodus 3:14, given by God to Moses as God’s name, “אהיה אשר אהיה”This is typically translated as, “I am that I am,” although this can also be interpreted differently considering the lack of tenses. The root היה is translated as “to be, exist; to become; to happen.” The structure of the full phrase is an early example of a self-referential statement.

4. אגלאThis name isn’t directly included in the Bible, and neither is the phrase it’s derived from. It is typically interpreted as an acronym of the phrase: “אתה גבור לעולם אדני”, which translates to, “You are Mighty Forever, my Lord.” This phrase is used within a set of Jewish prayers called the Shacharit Amidah.19 However, this acronym interpretation didn’t appear until after the word had begun being used magically, around the 14th or 15th century. Even modern Jews use this “notariqon,” though there is no evidence of any Rabbi coining it.20 It was also used by non-Jewish Germans with the phrase, “Allmachtiger Gott, Losche Aus,” meaning “Almighty God, extinguish the conflagration.”21 The origin of this word is equally as mysterious as the rest but clearly has much more Christian/Latin influence.

    These God-names demonstrate how high up on the angelic hierarchy this ritual reaches. Were this simply an elemental ritual, the names would likely be gnomic. Instead, we’re reaching all the way to the top for influence. When these God-names are used in the ritual, they are first silently invoked before being forcibly evoked. This means that we are using their power to purify us from the inside out and consecrate us from the outside in. It is symbolic of Heru-Ra-Ha’s dual nature. Harpocrates is silent and invoking, while Ra-Hoor is bold and evoking. Note that in Liber O, Crowley alternatively calls the Sign of Blind Force, “the typical position of the God Horus.” This is reiterated in the final gesture of the God-name vibration, “the characteristic position of the God Harpocrates.”

    Once the magician is done with the four quarters, they are now surrounded by what are essentially magical shields. The invocation of the God-names roots out the “unholy” within us, while the evocation of the God-names protects any other “unholiness” from getting in. This is further reinforced by the calling of the Archangels. These are also very high entities on theangelic hierarchy. Different sects disagree on the exact hierarchy, but there is general consensus within Christianity that Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are the main Archangels. In order to get four, the next most common angel was chosen, Uriel, (or Auriel).

1. Michael (מיכאל) is generally considered to be the most powerful archangel. This is likely why he is associated with Fire and the South, (the sun in its most powerful position.) In Revelations 12:7-9, Michael defeats “the great dragon...called the Devil and Satan,” and is also the leader of Heaven’s Army. The name translates to “Who is like God?”,22 with a rhetorical answer assumed: “There is none like God.”23 In Liber 777, Column “Archangels in Assiah”, Michael is associated with the sphere of Hod. Raphael and Michael have both been attributed to Solar and Mercurial rulers, depending on the source of the text. However, in Crowley’s “Notes on the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram,” he places Michael in Netzach, to align with the attribution of Fire.24

2. Gabriel (גבריאל) is one of the two Archangels explicitly mentioned in the Quran, the other being Michael. He is also mentioned with Michael in the Book of Daniel. Gabriel is also the one who tells the Virgin Mary that she will bear Jesus through the holy spirit.25 The name translates to “Strength of God.”26 Qabalistically, he is associated with Yesod and Water.

3. Raphael (רפאל) doesn’t appear in the Bible, but instead in the Book of Tobit and the Book of Enoch, the former of which is deuterocanonical in the Catholic church and the latter is apocryphal.27 The name is translated, “Healed by God”.28 He is known as being a healer and is the patron saint of Medical Workers (as well as travelers.)29 Qabalistically, Raphael is connected with Tiphereth and Air, (fitting his patronage of travelers). His connection with healing and medical work also aligns him well with Mercury.30

4. Auriel (אוריאל), also sometimes spelled Uriel, is also not mentioned in the canonical Bible. He is mentioned in 2 Esdras,31 and in a few of the apocryphal texts.32 The name translates to, “The Light of God.” Qabalistically, Auriel relates to Earth but is not listed in 777’s “Archangels of Assiah” column. Crowley squeezes him into Hod in his “Notes on the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram.”
   
    It’s clear that we are asking for Healing, Humility, Strength, and Light, directly from God when calling them forth. This protection is another level beyond the existing invoked God-names and the “shield-like” Pentagrams (also imbued with the God-names). Crowley states in his “Notes...” that this is an excellent way to maintain the quality of one’s aura.

         The Five:
    Crowley wasn’t the only one who felt that pentagrams were hygienic. In fact, the Pythagoreans named the Pentagram “Υγιεία,” Hygieia, the Greek word for Health.33 A Pentagram Ring from 525 BCE was found in Crotona, Italy with the letters ΥΓΕΙΑ written within the tips of the pentagram, and SALVS (lat. “Safety”) written in between them. This isn’t the oldest pentagram, but clearly demonstrates how long it has been associated with protection and health. There are pentagrams etched into Sumerian tablets that date back to around 3000 BCE. One was used on the walls of Uruk I. This was later adopted as the City Seal of Jerusalem, with the 5 letters of the name written around it, (ירשלם).34

    The Pentagram’s association with health is reinforced by its connection with the Golden Ratio. The relationship of the lines that make up the Pentagram can be simplified to A:B = (A+B):A. This means that the longer part divided by the smaller part is equal to their combined length divided by the longer part. This ratio comes out to about 1.618... and is represented by the Greek letter φ, Phi.35 This relationship demonstrates a fractal, where zooming in and out presents the same relationships regardless of scale. This is a pictorial representation of the core hermetic axiom, “As above, so below.”

    Many natural elements of the world can be modeled by the golden ratio, and many artists have used it as inspiration. Spiral galaxies, seashells, flower petals, sunflower seeds, hurricanes, and even the structure of the human face can be modeled by various depictions of the golden ratio.36 This gives a physical manifestation of that “as above, so below” axiom, with shells and spiral galaxies sharing the model. There are some human fundamentals that are split into fives, such as our senses, the fingers on a hand, or even the shape of our bodies. This makes the number five intimate with humankind. Agrippa includes this in his Three Books...
   
In Gunther’s talk, he continued from the four to the development of the five, noting how it came with the idea that “Spirit” can be found within the human. With the four, we needed a unique redeemer to symbolize the spirit of humankind. With the five, we can find it within ourselves. The pentagram has been connected to the concept of spirit since the Pythagoreans. Thomas Stanley notes in his chapter on the Pentad, “Its names are these: Άνεικία, Reconciliation, because the fifth element, Aether, is free from the disturbances of the other four...”37 Later in the same section, he mentions, “For it is...the Soul of the World, which is the fountain of all souls, orcelestials, down to us...” This shape is protective and important even in the realm of the Spirit. It’s worth noting that the word “Quintessential” is specifically referencing the number five in terms of spirit, from the Latin phrase, “Quinta Essentia.” Historically, this was thought to be an actual element that could be extracted and used for healing.

    The performance of the pentagram ritual is a practice in developing our Spirit, which the Egyptians connected to the fifth power of the Sphinx, to go. This is another symbol of the dedication required to perfect this ritual. It is no easy task to accomplish the Great Work, and the pentagram ritual is a microcosmic version of that work. There are many difficult hurdles to encounter along the path, and the magician needs as much protection and inspiration as possible. As it is written, “But these thy prophets; they must cry aloud and scourge themselves; they must cross trackless wastes and unfathomed oceans;”38 It makes sense that a ritual like this would be a daily prerequisite for anything further magical work, seeing how easily one can be led astray along the path.

“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.”39


Love is the law, love under will.

    Footnotes:


1: Liber AL, I:50.

2: Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia.

3: Joscelyn Godwin, The Theosophical Enlightenment, SUNY Press, 1994.

4: Trans, “Fortitude, burn by fire, living by water, of the earth.” Ed. Alex Sumner, The Rituals of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. Global Grey Books, 2018. Also, http://www.stichtingargus.nl/vrijmetselarij/s/sria2005_r2.html. (Sources questionable.)

5: Genesis 1:3, “ויאמר אלהים יהי אור ויהי־אור׃”, translated as, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” In the Latin Vulgate, this is translated as, “Dixitque Deus : Fiat lux. Et facta est lux.”

6: Greek Magical Papyri, PGM XIII, (pgs. 190-191), by Hans Dieter Betz. University of Chicago Press, .1996

7: “ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν.”, and in Hebrew, "כי לך הממלכה והגבורה והתפארת לעולמי עולמים אמן", translated (by Google Translate) to “For to thee be the kingdom and the heroism and the glory of the worlds for ever and ever.”

8: In Hebrew (read top line from right-to-left, then bottom line right-to-left): לך יהוה הגדלה והגבורה והתפארת והנצח וההוד כי־כל”
“בשמים ובארץ לך יהוה הממלכה והמתנשא לכל ׀ לראש׃
, translated in the King James Bible as “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.”

9: See “Codex Washingtonianus,” circa 4th or 5th century.

10: In Hebrew: אנתה כ (אנת ק) מלכא מלך מלכיא די אלה שמיא”
“מלכותא חסנא ותקפא ויקרא יהב־לך׃
. Translated in the King James bible as: “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.” 

11: The Ritual and Dogma of High Magic, by Eliphas Levi. Trans. Greer & Mikituk. Pg. 244.

12: “mend me this shoe that I may walk.” June 14th, 2020.

13: Genesis 3:24 - “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

14: “House of David” Restored in Moabite Inscription, by André Lemaire, Biblical Archaeology Society, 1994.

15: Initiates of I° OTO would benefit from researching this word.

16: Trans. Heb: “Praise ye the Lord.”

17: See also the last section of the last line of the Gnostic Creed, “...that was, and is, and is to come.” Liber XV, The Equinox 3(1). pg. 252.

18: See Hebrew Grammar by Wilhelm Gesenius, 1909.

19: The Talmud, (Megillah 17b:8), states that the prayer was codified by Gamaliel, who died circa 50 C.E.

20: See Katelyn Mesler’s essay, The Latin Encounter with Hebrew Magic, The Routledge History of Medieval Magic, 2019.

21: See The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion, Ed. Adele Berlin. Oxford University Press, 2011.

22: In Ben-Yehuda’s Dictionary, מי translates to “who, whoever.” –כ translates to “as, like.” אל (pronounced El), translates to “God, deity; strength, power.”

23: In Latin: “Quis ut Deus?” The response, Jeremiah 10:6 - “מאין כמוך יהוה”, “There is none like You, O Lord.”

24: Liber ABA, ed. Hymenaeus Beta, pg. 690. HB also notes: “These are not the Archangels of Assiah for the four sephiroth concerned (given in Liber 777, col. XCIX,) but the Archangels of the Four Quarters, (col. LIX.)”

25: Luke 1:31-38.

26: Gabriel has the same root as Geburah, גבר. The word גברי translates to “virile” (Google Translate.) Ben-Yehuda’s Dictionary has, “Man-like, manly.”

27: Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, by M. Mach. Brill, 1999.

28: Ben-Yehuda’s Pocket English-Hebrew Dictionary, Pocket Books New York, 1961. רפא is translated as“to heal, cure.”

29: Dictionary of Patron Saints' Names, Thomas W. Sheehan, p. 514, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2001.

30: This brings to mind the line from Liber Resh, “Tahuti standeth in his splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.”

31: 2 Esdras, 4:10, 4:36, 5:20, 10:28.

32: See The Apocalypse of Peter, and The Life of Adam and Eve.

33: Greek Geometry from Thales to Euclid, by George Johnston Allman. Hodges, Figgis & Co., 1889.

34: The History of the Pentagram, by Dustin Jon Scott, 2006.

35: Note that in Liber 777, Column LIII, The Greek Alphabet, φ corresponds to Geburah, the 5th sphere.

36: 15 Uncanny Examples of the Golden Ratio in Nature, by George Dvorsky, 2013.

37: Pythagoras; His Life and Teachings, by Thomas Stanley, ed. Wasserman & Gunther. Ibis Press, 2010. pg. 159.

38: Liber LXV, II:62.

39: Liber ABA, pg. 692.

    Images Cited:



Fig. 1: Tetramorph, from a Fresco in Meteora. 16th century.

Fig. 2: Four Archangels, St John's Church, Warminster, Wiltshire. 1888.

Fig. 3: Crotona Pentagram Ring, from Crotona, Italy. Circa 525BCE.

Fig. 4: Seal of Jerusalem, circa 550BCE.

Fig. 5: Pentagram and the Human Body. From Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Libri Tres de Occulta Philosophia. 1533.