THE WITCH’S BALLAD

Witchy Comments

THE WITCH’S BALLAD
-Doreen Valente?

Oh, I have been beyond the town,
Where nightshade black and mandrake grow,
And I have heard and I have seen
What righteous folk would fear to know!
For I have heard, at still midnight,
Upon the hilltop far, forlorn,
With note that echoed through the dark,
The winding of the heathen horn.

And I have seen the fire aglow,
And glinting from the magic sword,
And with the inner eye beheld
The Horned One, the Sabbat’s lord.
We drank the wine, and broke the bread,
And ate it in the Lady’s name.
We linked our hands to make the ring,
And laughed and leaped the Sabbat game.

Oh, little do the townsfolk reck,
When dull they lie within their bed!
Beyond the streets, beneath the stars,
A merry round the witches tread!
And round and round the circle spun,
Until the gates swung wide ajar,
That bar the boundaries of earth
From faery realms that shine afar.

Oh, I have been and I have seen
In magic worlds of Otherwhere.
For all this world may praise or blame,
For ban or blessing nought I care.
For I have been beyond the town,
Where meadowsweet and roses grow,
And there such music did I hear
As worldly-rightous never know.

~Magickal Graphics~

The Pentagram (A Poem)

The Pentagram

I invoke Ancient Powers of The Star
The Powers of Five
The Spiral Powers
The Powers of Earth
I invoke the Ancient Powers of Life
Star in the Circle
In the Iron Circle
Quaint, ancient symbol
So ancient, primordial and timeless
Dark symbol of life
On planets bearing life
Deep in DNA
Deeply branded in the Heart of our Earth
Touchstone of Wisdom
Of Ancient Knowledge, NOW,
Living in the stars
I call out through the Circled Iron Star
For my Star Power
Out through the Galaxies
Claiming Dark Powers

Similodon

Witches’ Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

Witches’ Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

by Paul Hume

The following text was an addendum to some Wiccan friends of mine  written in 1986. It followed a fairly standard instruction in the  Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, with which they were not  familiar. We were feeling out some linking techniques leading to a  proposed joint ritual involving several Wiccans and two ceremonial  qabalists (one Thelemite — ie. myself, and another). While events  conspired to torpedo this project, some interesting ideas came along  on both sides. The goal was a set of brief rituals meaningful to both traditions which we could practice individually, thus building up a group current prior to the date of the proposed rite (Samhain of that year). Herewith my notes on “The Wiccan Pentagram” ritual which evolved during this project. My primary source of God Forms was Paul Huson’s “Mastering Witchcraft” which was my main source of information on Wicca at the time (I’ve done considerable study elsewhere since).

Non-Solar symbolism

A ritual can be modified in many ways, to refit it for a different set of symbols, for example. I have taken the liberty of doing some  research into alternate symbols for the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram since I know that you work a lunar-feminine current (Wicca) whereas I use more solar-masculine symbols in my current (Thelemite). The  Qabalistic Cross This might be used as is, though you could use the  English if you don’t feel that the Hebrew is relevant. I am sure you recognize the words as being similar to the end of the Lord’s Prayer in the King James Version: ‘Unto thee, the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever! Amen.’ I would point out that this formula was around a long time before Christ, much less the translators of the  Standard Revised Version of the Bible. If you dislike such a  specifically Christian form, it may be replaced with the words KETHER (KEH-THER), MALKUTH, GEBURAH, GEDULAH (or Crown, Kingdom, Power,  Mercy), the spheres of occult energy that you are invoking with the  Q-Cross. The mental images remain the same. You could even avoid these Hebrew symbols entirely, using Names and formulae more suitable to raising the Cone of Power, which is what you are doing here in Wiccan terms. See the ‘Wiccan Cross,’ below.

The principle is:

  1. Invoke strongly the presence of the Supreme Creative  Principle as you conceive it (or in your case, Her) to be.  Your Name for the Goddess as Creatrix would be most suitable.
  2. Draw down power from this Godhead and project it through  your body into the Earth. Invoke strongly the Supreme symbol of Creation in your Tradition: maybe the God — as Son of the  Goddess and Lord of the Trees, and as John Barleycorn, the ever-born and dying One.
  3. Establish on your right side the Active Principle — Yang — the Projective Energy of the Universe. A God image, I should think.
  4. Establish on yourleft side thePassive Principle — Yin — the Receiving Energy of the Universe. A Goddess force I feel.
  5. Strongly visualize yourself at the center of these axes  between the Infinities. This centers you at the middle of the  Sacred Space to be created — the still point at the center of the  universe.

 

The Pentagrams

Again, the pentagram should be used. This symbol is universal to many, many systems of magick, including Wicca, as you know. The  five-pointed star has supreme power over the Elements: Spirit, Fire, Water, Air and Earth. It drives off negative influences and attracts positive ones. It is an essential part of the rite and there is no symbol that can take its place as effectively.

The Names

I prefer using the Hebrew God-Names as is. In this connection  they express formulae that govern the Elements and are no more  religious than E=MC squared. However, there are equivalent Wiccan  God-Names, which I describe in the next section, as substitutes for  the Archangels. The use of the same Names to activate the stars and to invoke the Elemental force is quite in keeping with the Wiccan  tradition, which does not use the same hierarchical system of  God-Name, Archangel, Angel, Ruler, Spirit, etc. that Qabalism does.

The Archangelic Invocation

Instead of the Hebrew Archangels I described, you could use  Wiccan Deities to invoke the ‘pure’ form of the Elements.

AIR-EAST: The Air image in Wicca seems to be masculine and  relates to Herne, the Black Man, the messenger of the Gods, or  the Sky Gods: Odin, or Lugh as the rising Sun God. The God can be imagined as riding through the night sky, at the head of the Wild Hunt, or rising above the branches of the world-ash. Instead of the Sword given to Raphael, the God might carry a staff, spear or wand, which is attributed to Air in most Wiccan traditions.

FIRE-SOUTH: The Fire image is definitely masculine and relates  to the Horned God: Cernunnos, Lucifer, call Him what you will.  He stands in the hot light of the noonday sun, radiating fiery  energy. He would bear an Athame or sword, which is the weapon of Fire in most Wiccan styles.

WATER-WEST: The Water image is the Maiden, the mistress of the  Moon and the Tides: Aradia, Artemis, Venus rising from the  waves. Her image is lit by the silver light of the moon, upon a  tranquil reach of water or the foaming sea. She might hold the  chalice, symbol of water (alternatively, the cauldron might be  envisioned).

EARTH-NORTH: The Goddess in Her aspect as Earth Mother is here:  Hertha, Habondia, Demeter. She stands beneath the golden, life-giving sun surrounded by the fruits of the Earth. Before her, a platter flows with good things of the Earth, for the  disk/shield/platter is the pentacle, magick instrument of Earth.  These are only bare sketches of the magickal images that a witch  might use to replace the Qabalistic images of the traditional  pentagram ritual. I offer them for what they are worth.

A few points to note:

  1. The phases of the sun used in the Archangelic images  (East:Dawn; South:Noon; West:Sunset; North:Midnight) are not the same, nor are they as important to Wicca. Instead, the poles of day and night are established: Night for the East-West axis and Day for the North-South axis.
  2. The male-female poles are established with the masculine images (Herne and Cernunnos) attributed to the active Elements (Air  and Fire) and the feminine images (Aradia and Habondia) to the passive Elements (Water and Earth). Note that one figure of each gender stands in light, and one in darkness. This male-female/positive-negative/active-passive polarity is central to  virtually all systems of magick, eg. the yin/yang symbol in oriental systems. I may be betraying solar-phallic tendencies by these  assignments, and you may want to use different attributions: The  Maiden can be Air and the Mother switch to Water, with the Hunter  moving into Earth, for example. Heck, the dual God Forms should  perhaps be invoked in each quarter. eg. Venus/Adonis imagery in East or South, Hertha/Herne in West, etc.

 

The Star Of David

The last line of the Invocation refers to a ‘six-rayed star’ and the mental work calls for imagining a Star of David. This is not a specifically Jewish symbol in this context. The six-pointed star, or hexagram, is the Qabalistic symbol par excellence of initiation and  spiritual illumination. The upward-pointing triangle represents the aspiration of the magician to the Gods, and the downward-pointing  triangle represents the divine power, flowing down to the world.  These meet at the moment of magick and the interlaced triangles  forming the hexagram symbolize the power of this meeting. Should you prefer not to use the Star of David, you can replace the mental image with any symbol showing the meeting of your soul and the power of the Goddess. This can even be a private symbol, one that is meaningful  only to you. Alternatively, you can just envision the sphere of white light from the Q-Cross, as a symbol of divine power. Replace the words about the ‘six-rayed star’ with some descriptive form: ‘the seal of the Goddess,’ or ‘the sign of my Awakening,’ or simply ‘the light Divine.’

Wiccan Pentagram ritual

Rubric [This is a form of the rite incorporating the changes in symbolism discussed above]

WICCAN CROSS

 

Face East. Touch forehead. Say IO EVOE HERTHA  (‘Blessed be Hertha,’ or other Name by which you worship the Goddess as Creatrix) Touch solar plexus or genitals. Say IO EVOE CERNUNNOS (‘Blessed be Cernunnos,’ or other name by which you worship the Horned God as the Earth) Touch right shoulder. Say EKO EKO AZARAK (‘Hail, hail force of fire’) Touch left shoulder. Say EKO EKO AMELAK (‘Hail, hail to the glory’) Extend arms in form of a cross. Say IO EVOE (‘Blessed be.’) Clasp hands upon breast and say ‘So mote it be.’

CIRCLE OF PROTECTION

 

Trace pentagram in East. Say HERNE. Trace circle of protection until facing South. Trace pentagram in South. Say CERNUNNOS. Trace circle of protection until facing West. Trace  pentagram in West. Say ARADIA. Trace circle of protection until facing North. Trace pentagram in North. Say HABONDIA. Finish tracing circle, closing it in the East.

INVOCATION OF THE GREAT GODS

 

Return to center of circle and face East. Extend arms in form of a cross. Chant: Before me HERNE The Huntsman Behind me ARADIA The Maiden On my right hand CERNUNNOS, the Horned God On my left hand HABONDIA, the Great Mother About me flame the pentagrams And above me shines the light of the Goddess.

Repeat the Wiccan Cross. Rather than performing this in the rather  measured cadences of Qabalistic Ritual, a form of dancing and chanting more pleasing to the God-forms of Wicca might profitably be devised.

On the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

On the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

by Tim Maroney

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is one of the chief rituals of Western Magick. It has been with us at least since the Golden Dawn of the nineteenth century, and it has penetrated into all the many Golden Dawn spinoffs, including Neo-Paganism. Yet there is still no widely available, clear instruction. The directions of the magical orders are mere mnemonics for those who are assumed to have personal instructors. To formulate my personal approach to the ritual, to aid any others who may be considering practicing the LBR, and to satisfy the idle curiosity of any gawking onlookers, I have put together this short discussion of the ritual and its symbolism and performance.

A. Intent of the Ritual

The real action of a magick ritual takes place in the mind. Ritual is a form of moving meditation. The effect is also primarily psychological.* The LBR is a tool to facilitate meditation.

[*Not all players would agree with this statement. Many would say that the effect of the LBR is a fortified and cleansed area on the astral plane, which they think is as real as Hoboken, if not more so. It doesn’t really matter in practice.]

The experience of a proper LBR is pleasurable and soothing, yet energizing and empowering. One is made at home in the mystical realm, protected from lurkers and phantasms by strongly imagined wards. This solace from mundane experience is a precondition for more serious works of meditation or ritual, but it can also form a healthy part of the life of the mind by itself.

B. The Ritual

I’ll just reprint the description of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram from Liber O, a publication of the occult order A.’.A.’.

  1. Touching the forehead, say “Ateh (Unto Thee).”
  2. Touching the breast, say Malkuth (The Kingdom).”
  3. Touching the right shoulder, say “ve-Geburah (and the Power).”
  4. Touching the left shoulder, say “ve-Gedulah (and the Glory),
  5. Clasping the hands upon the breast, say “le-Olahm, Amen (To the Ages, Amen).”
  6. Turning to the East, make a pentagram (that of Earth) with the proper weapon (usually the Wand). Say (i.e. vibrate) “IHVH” (Ye-ho-wau*).
  7. Turning to the South, the same, but say “ADNI” (Adonai).
  8. Turning to the West, the same, but say “AHIH” (Eheieh).
  9. Turning to the North, the same, but say “AGLA” (Agla).
  10. Extending the arms in the form of a cross say:
  11. “Before me Raphael;
  12. Behind me Gabriel;
  13. On my right hand Michael;
  14. On my left hand Auriel;
  15. For about me flames the Pentagram,
  16. And in the Column stands the six-rayed Star.”
  17. until xxi. Repeat steps (i) to (v), the “Qabalistic Cross.”

[* Modern scholarship has a different take on the pronunciation of the Big Guy’s name. I use “Yahweh” rather than the “Ye-ho-wau” of Liber O because that’s what the Catholic priests of my youth taught me to say, and I’ve never been able to shake it off. Use whatever pronunciation you prefer, or a different name altogether.]

C. Politics of the Ritual

With practice, you will no doubt come up with your own style of performance, and your own different symbolism for ritual acts. Different people do rituals as differently as actors play parts, even though the lines and motions may be fundamentally the same. (The alternative is an authoritarian, dogmatic horror which is alien to the deep occult understanding of religion, but is still common in magical groups.) Slavish imitation will get you nowhere in Magick  — except, perhaps, to some high spiritual degree!

The Christianity — or at least angelic monotheism — of the ritual  symbolism may give a start to some. Many of us involved in occultism have strongly negative feelings about Christianity. These are perhaps justified, but there are a few saving graces here.

First, as with any ritual, you should feel free to make it yours, to mess around with it. If you don’t start to at least play with the styles of a ritual after a while, you are probably not doing it very well. It is perfectly legitimate to substitute cognate symbols at any time. However, the saying in the martial arts is that one first learns another’s style, and after mastering it, moves on to create one’s own. For a beginner, it will be easiest simply to use an existing ritual form in order to explore the meaning of a banishing ritual.

Given that experience, which transcends any mere set of symbols, one may devise a form more in keeping with the emergence of one’s personal style. For instance, Neo-Pagans use a highly reified form of the same basic ritual in many of their traditions, but with non-Christian deities, spirits, and heros at the quarters. Aleister Crowley wrote a new version which made the performance more dancelike, and used the names of Thelemic deities and officers rather than monotheist gods and angels. My private version, called “Opening the Threshold”, is entirely atheistic and philosophical.

In any case, of those people who so abhor Christianity, how many have looked at some of the practices of historical pagans in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas? No religion should ever be “accepted” by an occultist. When using any religion’s symbolism, the adept should cut to its sacred poetical core and discard the political dross. By this standard, Christianity looks about as good as any other religion. Without this standard and by factoring in historical excesses and power plays, almost all known religions look just about as bad as Christianity.

In other words, someone who will happily use Norse gods, Arthurian heroes, Taoist immortals, Voudoun loas, or what have you in rituals, but will never touch a Christian angel, is guilty of the same narrowness he or she probably imparts to the Christians.

The Vibration of God-Names

In the LBR, the vibration of the god-names “charges” or “enlivens” the pentagrams in the air. This is difficult to describe, but easy to recognize. There is a feeling of presence in one of these charged warding images — though not necessarily a feeling of true externality or separate intelligence.  Weare told to “vibrate” the names. The description and illustration of the “vibration” given in Liber O have been known to mislead people into hilarious postures. What the picture most resembles is the skulking monster from the movie The Mummy. To the modern eye, it is remarkable how truly unclear a photograph can be.  I didn’t learn how to vibrate a god-name until I signed up with yet another occult order and was taught it in person. I wouldn’t wish the ensuing experience on anyone, so here is a description which I hope will be adequate in print.

Vibration phase i — The Sign of the Enterer (1-4)

1. Stand upright. Blow all the air out of your lungs. Hold your arms straight out at your sides.

2a. Close your eyes and inhale nasally, imagining that the breath is the name. The exact nature of this imagination differs from person to person. Thus, you imagine yourself inhaling the name into your lungs.

2b. As you inhale, sweep your forearms smoothly and deliberately up so that your fists rest on your temples.

3. Imagine the breath moving down through your torso slowly, and through your pelvis, your legs, and finally to the soles of your feet. (Don’t do this so slowly that you are hurting for air when the name reaches your feet!)

4a. The instant the inhaled vibrational name hits the soles of your feet, imagine it rushing back up and out.

4b. Simultaneously, throw yourself forward, thrusting your left foot forward about twelve inches (or thirty centimeters) and catching yourself on it. Your hands shoot forward, together, like a diver. You bend forward at the waist so that your torso winds up parallel to the floor.

4c. The air in your lungs should be blown out through your nose at the same time, but imagine the name shooting out straight ahead.

Steps 3-4 are known as the Sign of the Enterer, or of Horus. This  symbolizes powerful active energy. The Enterer should be something of a “rush”. The vibrational name is projected outwards into more tangible manifestation — in this case, in the pentagrams of the LBR, which are charged by the force of the projected god-names.

It is highly inadvisable to omit the portion of step(4b) which reads “catching yourself on it.” But again, I have no desire to infringe on your freedom of choice.

Vibration phase ii — The Sign of Silence (5)

5. Finally, withdraw into a standing position, left arm hanging at your side, right forefinger on lips, left foot pointing ninety degrees out from the body.

Step 5 is called the Sign of Silence, or of Harpocrates. This Egyptian god was mistakenly believed (at the turn of the century) to pertain to silence, because his finger or thumb was touching his lips. This gesture is now believed to be a symbol of childhood; this correction appears in the World card of Crowley’s “Book of Thoth” Tarot deck. Harpocrates was the god of the Sun at dawn, and so symbolizes wonder, beauty, potential, growth. So, step 5 may be done in this academically corrected light instead.

However, the “hush” gesture of the Golden Dawn Sign of Silence is adequate for the modern occultist, even if deprived of A Divine Identification. It is a common gesture, at least in the European culture, meaning silence. Silence perhaps balances the ultra-active Sign of the Enterer better than does the more scholarly positive/active “Sign of Harpocrates the Rising Sun”, and silence is surely no alien concept to mystics.

The Invocation

The pentagrams are given form by the drawing, life by the vibration, identity by the four-part prayer of steps (x) to (xiv). Some people do very elaborate visualizations of angelic guardians on each of (xi) to (xiv). Because of my tragic personal deficiencies, I am content with strong feelings of presence, identity, and divinity in each of the four directions.

A horizontal cross is built up step by step as you say, “Before me Raphael”, etc, with you at the center; and the position of your arms forms a vertical cross, a renewal of the Qabalistic Cross from the start of the ritual. You may feel a quite peculiar rising and expansion when both of these crosses are formulated. One has become the center of the geometry of the space, and it is like a little world in itself, cut adrift from the mundane currents of everyday experience.

Steps (xv) and (xvi) are when the real banishing takes place, during “For about me flames the pentagram, and in the column stands the six-rayed star.” A great pulse of force is emitted during these steps, imposing the personal will on the space and clearing it of all hostile influences.

After this is done, the invoked “archangels” maintain the banishing effect, guarding in all four directions. Of course this talk of angels is all bullshit — the importance lies in the psychological effect. Whether there “really is” an archangel standing there keeping out inimical spirits is not important. The “feeling of cleanliness” is what matters.

Concluding Cross

The final Qabalistic Cross is an affirmation of the completeness and symmetry of the ritual, and also a new self-consecration. This is more efficacious than the previous Cross because it is done in a banished environment.

One is now ready to do a formal invocation, an evocation, a meditation, or whatever the overall purpose may be. The LBR is a preliminary ceremony, although it has a beneficial effect in itself. It can profitably be done as a stand-alone ritual, but you should move on. The LBR should keep away the horrible ickies that turn so many novices away from Magick. Its mastery is a first step to adeptship.

Mystical Pentagram

Mystical Pentagram

Brightstarr, Kathexis

The Mystical Pentagram is a technique which will enhance psychic self-awareness. Practiced on a daily basis it will produce surprising individual results. One of the features of this technique is that it encourages personal development by allowing each entity to discover a personal mantra which corresponds to the five elements.

To begin, you will need a table of correspondences such as “777” by Aleister Crowley. Look up the names of the gods and goddesses which correspond to the air element. Pick a name which when chanted ‘feels’ right for you. For example, Nu is the Egyptian lord of the firmament and corresponds to air. If I were inclined towards egyptian deities, I would chant the name Nu for several minutes to see what effect transpired. If I felt relaxed, comfortable, and generally positive I would inwardly know that this name would be in tune with my inner self. Proceed to find correspondences for fire, water, and earth in  the same manner and finally for spirit since it is the aggregate of the four common elements.

Once you have found a personal mantra or a chant consisting of five names, vowel sounds, etc. You are ready to proceed with the practical application of the Mystical Pentagram.

Assume your favorite meditation position, relax and begin to breathe in a rhythmic pattern; ie. inhale count one, two, three, four, exhale count one, two, three, four and so on. Continue to breathe in such a manner for about five minutes so that a definite rhythm is firmly established.

Visualize the five psychic centers. Memorize their positions so that you become familiar with the positions.

Next visualize a brilliant white light forming a circle above your head in the spirit center. Mentally draw a white light pentagram within the circle of light. This should be an invoking pentagram.

If your mind should begin to wander, gently bring it back and vocally vibrate the mantra you have chosen for the spirit center. Let your mind dwell on this center and intone your mantra several times for at least five minutes.

Next see a shaft of white light radiate down through your skull stopping at your throat near the adam’s apple. See a circle of white light begin to form and pulsate. Mentally draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light and vocally vibrate your chosen mantra for the air center. Continue to stimulate this center for at least five minutes.

Now see a shaft of white light radiate down through your torso stopping at your fire center. This is located just above the navel. See a brilliant white light begin to pulsate at this center and draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light. As your mind begins to wander gently guide it back to he image of the glowing white pentagram. Here vibrate your chosen fire mantra. Once this center is stimulated the sensation is unmistakable. A mild tingling or vibration of the solar-plexus area is physically experienced. Continue to dwell on this center for at least five minutes.

See the shaft of white light push down to the water center which is located in the groin area. Here, too, a brilliant circle of white light should be visualized. Again draw an invoking pentagram within the circle of light. Intone the mantra for the water center and repeat the sound several times for the next five minutes.

Having arrived thus far, see the shaft of white light radiate down through your legs stopping at the bottom of your feet which is the earth center. Form a brilliant, white, pulsating circle of light and draw an invoking pentagram within the circle. Intone your earth mantra and vocally vibrate the sound several times during the next five minutes.

When all of the energy centers have been stimulated, direct the light energy from the spirit center to the earth center. As you exhale see the light travel from the top of your head down through your body to the bottom of your feet. As you inhale see the energy travel from your feet up through your body up to the top of your head, the spirit center. These circulations should be persisted for at least seven complete circuits. See the energy cleanse and vitalize every part of your being and expand your awareness to cosmic consciousness. As you continue to repeat this technique each day you will begin to see and feel a change in your psychic awareness and a marked improvement in your health.

Don’t become discouraged if you don’t achieve results immediately. This technique produces very positive effects but they are cumulative in nature. Be gentle with your inner self however you must also be persistent and keep the communication open. It is also a good idea to perform this exercise at the same time each day in order to allow your body cycles incorporate the energy flow in a natural order.

Suggested reading:

The Art of True Healing — Israel Regardie

Energy Ecstasy — Bernard Gunther

Daily Feng Shui Tip for Nov. 16th – ‘Have A Party With Your Bear Day’

Celebrate all the energy that Teddy, Yogi and any other bear brings to you during today’s ‘Have a Party With Your Bear Day.’ You guys should especially honor them since Feng Shui says bears and males share a lot in common. In fact, this philosophy states that placing an image, statue or picture of a bear in the ‘Helpful People’ area of your main floor can energetically support your status as the family’s male breadwinner. Feng Shui also advices that before traveling for any length of time you should leave a small statue of a bear in one of your home’s windows, as this placement offers safety from burglary or theft. Either way, having a bear around will bring you strength and protection in many other ways.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com