The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

This ritual is regarded as one of the most important foundational rituals in Ceremonial magic. It is effective as a banishing ritual, clearing the lower astral of negative influences and establishing a protected area. It also energizes and reinforces the “sphere of sensation” (the aura), and increases its sensitivity. It also centers the magician and invokes protective forces, orienting the magician with the forces of the cosmos.

There are many versions of this ritual available, and many different authors describe slight variations. It also serves as the foundation for many similar rituals adapted to other magical systems. I would recommend learning the ritual in a more traditional Hebrew form before attempting any major variants. Links to to other online versions and variants will be included below, as well as textual references from the books I have learned from.

If you are not familiar with ceremonial magic, this ritual can seem somewhat complex. It isn’t. It flows pretty quickly once learned, and doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes. The Hebrew really isn’t that difficult (pronounce it any way you want), and all of the pentagrams are the same (banishing earth pentagram). It’s power is cumulative: the more you regularly you do it, the more potent it becomes. And it forms the foundation for more potent ceremonial magic.

No tools are required for this ritual. It is traditional to use a simple dagger to trace the pentagrams, but you can use your right index finger instead. If you have the space, you can move about the room in a clockwise fashion. If not, you can stand in place and turn as needed. You should be facing the East when you start.

I will use the word “vibrate” as is the convention with regard to speaking divine names and formulae. (I prefer the word “intone” myself.) When vibrating a word, take a deep breath in and exhale slowly, drawing the word out through the whole breath until your lungs are empty. It will gain a song-like quality, and you should feel a resonance in the air around you as you speak it.

When learning this ritual, it is perfectly fine to use note cards to get the scripts and stage action right. Expect a few mess-ups and don’t worry much about them. I’ve found that errors in this ritual mute the energies involved a bit (well, sometimes a lot), but you’re not dealing with anything overly dangerous here. (I would not, however, follow the ritual with much more intense work if you’ve made a major error).

As I’ve said, the effect of this ritual is cumulative. I recommend working with it for at least a month (and preferably three) before moving on to more advanced work.

As far as what you wear and how you set your temple up, I leave that to you. A “proper” tau robe may help things along, but I haven’t worn one in years. Having an altar and enough room to move around is great, but honestly I’ve done the ritual in place so long that having room to move around is a little awkward. Make sure if you do have an altar present there is nothing upon it (or really anywhere else in the room) that contains any energies that may be banished by this ritual, and cover them with silk or cotton.

The ritual is composed of three basic parts:

  1. The Qabalistic Cross
  2. Drawing the Pentagrams
  3. Invoking the Archangels

The Qabalistic Cross

This practice is sometimes regarded as a ritual (or mini-ritual) in its own right. It serves to orient the individual at the center of the axis mundi.

Imagine that you become larger and larger, filling up the expanse above the Earth as it grows small beneath you. Although the Earth becomes small, you still feel your feel firmly supported by the ground. Grow larger still, until the galaxy itself is small beneath you, and the bright light of the divine becomes noticeable above you.

Feel the light coming down to the top of your head. Bring the tip of the dagger to your forehead and vibrate “Atah”

Bring the light through your body down to your feet. Point the dagger to your feet and vibrate “Malkuth”

Bring the point of the dagger to your right shoulder, feeling the light branch off from your heart and moving horizontally to your right shoulder. Vibrate “ve Geburah”

Bring the dagger to your left shoulder, drawing the light with it. Vibrate “ve Gadulah”

Bring your hands together at your heart, holding the dagger point up. Vibrate “le Olam, Amen”

The Hebrew translates to a phrase that will be familiar to anyone who has said the Lord’s Prayer:

“Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever, amen.”

Drawing the Pentagrams

The pentagrams you will be drawing will be the earth banishing pentagram. Start from the lower left point, up to the top point, down to the lower right point, up to the upper left point, across to the upper right point, and back down to the lower left point.

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There is a different name to be vibrated at each direction. Some sources recommend vibrating the names after your draw the pentagram. I do it while drawing the pentagrams. The pentagrams should be envisioned in a flaming blue light (Donald Michael Kraig and David Griffin say it should be the color of the flame on a gas stove).

After the pentagram is drawn, it should be followed with the Sign of the Enterer: Draw in a deep breath, bringing your hands up to your shoulders as you do so, and then step forward on your left foot while thrusting your hands (and pointing the dagger) into the center of the pentagram. You should exhale forcefully while you do this. This is followed with the Sign of Silence: Stand back upright, bringing your left forefinger to your lips and stamping your left foot, imagining a gentle mist flowing up and around you.

entsil

Standing in the East, trace the banishing earth pentagram while vibrating “IHVH.” Follow with the Sign of the Enterer and the Sign of Silence.

Place the point of the dagger in the center of the pentagram and draw a line to the South.

While facing South, trace another banishing earth pentagram while vibrating “Adonai.” Make the Sign of the Enterer and the Sign of Silence.

Place the dagger at the center of the pentagram and draw a line to the West.

While facing West, trace another banishing earth pentagram while vibrating “Eheieh.” Make the Sight of the Enterer and the Sign of Silence.

Place the dagger at the center of the pentagram and draw a line to the North.

While facing North, trace another banishing earth pentagram while vibrating “Agla.” Make the Sign of the Enterer and the Sign of Silence.

Place the point of the dagger at the center of the pentagram and draw a line back to the East, to the center of the pentagram there and completing the circle.

Invoking the Archangels

If you can familiarize yourself with the images of the archangels Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel, do so. Imagining them holding their elemental weapons can help, but isn’t necessary. Pronunciation of the angelic names is again one of those not-so-strict things, but do keep in mind that the emphasis we put on different syllables is different in English than in Hebrew.  It is recommended to pronounce the names in a more Hebraic fashion, separating the syllables. For example, Michael should be pronounced “mi-cha-el” as it is vibrated. When calling to the archangels, the angelic names should be vibrated, but the calls should not.

I use the word “imagine” instead of “visualize” because I don’t visualize too easily. I honestly don’t get much more than a vague impression of a presence and some associated color with each the image of each archangel, although the qualities and smell of the air come through very strongly for me. Work with whatever senses are most appropriate for you.

Stand facing East, with your arms straight out to your sides.

Imagine a great figure standing before you, wearing bright yellow robes. A warm breeze flows from behind.

Say “Before me, Raphael”

Imagine a similar figure behind you, dressed in bright blue robes with orange trim. The air behind you is cool and very damp.

Say “Behind me, Gabriel”

To your right, imagine a great figure in red robes with vibrant green trim. The air to your right is warm and dry.

Say, “On my right hand, Michael”

To your left, imagine a great figure in robes of green and brown. The air is cool and dry.

Say, “And on my left hand, Uriel”

Declare to the Universe, “For about me flames the pentagram, and within me shines the six-rayed star!”

Repeat the Qabalistic Cross. The Ritual is completed.

Make sure that you keep a journal and describe your impressions from during and following the ritual!

Ritual Summary

1. Touch forehead, vibrate “Atah”

2. Point to feet, vibrate “Malkuth”

3. Touch right shoulder, vibrate “veGeburah”

4. Touch left shoulder, vibrate “veGedulah”

5. Clasp hands in front, vibrate “liOlam, Amen”

6. At East, draw pentagram, vibrating “IHVH”

Make Sign of Enterer and Sign of Silence

7. At South, draw pentagram, vibrating “Adonai”

Make Sign of Enterer and Sign of Silence

8. At West, draw pentagram, vibrating “Eheieh”

Make Sign of Enterer and Sign of Silence

9. At North, Draw pentagram, vibrating “Agla”

Make Sign of Enterer and Sign of Silence

10. Back at East, arms out, call:

Before me, Raphael

Behind me Gabriel

On my right hand, Michael

On my left hand, Uriel

For about me flames the pentagram

And within me shines the six-rayed star

11. Complete by repeating 1-5 above

12. Journal!

Sources

I’ve read a lot of different versions of this ritual. I want to give credit where I can to those that have provided this information.

Kraig, Donald Michael. Modern Magick: Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts. 1997 Llewellyn Publications, pp 33-43

Regardie, Israel. The Golden Dawn (6th Edition). 1989 Llewellyn Publications, pp 53-55

Griffin, David. The Ritual Magic Manual: A Complete Course in Practical Magic. 1999 Golden Dawn Publishing, pp 46-48

And some online sources:

http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/article/5139

http://www.kheper.net/topics/Hermeticism/LBR.htm

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos026.htm

And lastly, something I really wish I would have had when I started: Videos!

http://youtu.be/ETNJaXbblOo

http://youtu.be/HgpOnJKzLyM

 

 

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