Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
Part of the Magick in Theory & Practice series.
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (sometimes shortened to the "LBRP") is a fundamental ritual of ceremonial and Thelemic magick. It was originally taught by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as a banishing ritual.
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From Liber O:
(i) Touching the forehead, say Ateh (Unto Thee).
(ii) Touching the breast, say Malkuth (The Kingdom).
(iii) Touching the right shoulder, say ve-Geburah (and the Power).
(iv) Touching the left shoulder, say ve-Gedulah (and the Glory).
(v) Clasping the hands upon the breast, say le-Olahm, Amen (To the Ages, Amen).
(vi) Turning to the East, make a pentagram (that of Earth)
with the proper weapon (usually the Wand). Say (i.e. vibrate) I H V H.
(vii) Turning to the South, the same, but say A D N I.
(viii) Turning to the West, the same, but say A H I H.
(ix) Turning to the North, the same, but say A G L A.
(Pronounce: Yeh-ho-vah, Ad-oh-nye, Eh-hee-eh, Ahg-lah).
(x) Extending the arms in the form of a Cross, say:
(xi) Before me Raphael;
(xii) Behind me Gabriel;
(xiii) On my right hand Michael.
(xiv) On my left hand Auriel;
(xv) For about me flames the Pentagram,
(xvi) And in the Column stands the six-rayed Star.
(xvii-xxi) Repeat (i) to (v), the "Qabalistic Cross."
In certain texts after the publication of Liber O, the word "Aiwass" and a touch to the breast or solar plexus is added to the Qabalistic Cross.
Crowley writes in his Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram:
- Every man has a natural fortress within himself, the Soul impregnable. ...Besides this central citadel, man also has outerworks, the Aura. ...It is the duty of every person to see that his Aura is in good condition. There are two main methods for doing this. The first is by a performance two or three times daily of the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Its main point is to establish in the Astral four Pentagrams, one in each quarter, and two Hexagrams, one above, the other below, thus enclosing the Magician, as it were, in a consecrated box. It also places in his Aura the Divine Names invoked.
The ritual can be a banishing or an invocation of any of the 5 elements, depending on the type of pentagram drawn. See Magick, Book 4 for illustrations of the elemental pentagrams. In it's most basic form, the LRP creates a magical space within and around the practitioner, acknowledging the sacred and inviting angelic intervention. Although it's elemental, it's an invocation of the macrocosm (represented by the hexagram) to unite with the microcosm (represented by the pentagram).
Crowley considered the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to be fundamental to the student of magick:
- Neglect not the Performance of the Ritual of the Pentagram and of the Assumption of the Form of Hoor-pa-Kraat. (Liber Aleph, De cultus)
- 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. (The Palace of the World)
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is said to be most effective in the Qabalistic realm of Assiah - the physical, active world that is associated with the tenth Sephirah of Malkuth. This is the realm in which we live and function. Malkuth is said to contain the four elements of the manifest universe. With respect to the entire Tree of Life, Malkuth is the only Sephirah to which is assigned the element of earth. This is why the banishing earth pentagram in particular is used throughout the LBRP.
YHVH: All of the divine Hebrew names intoned in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram are composed of four letters. And the specific names used are attributed to the four sub-elements of Malkuth. The name of YHVH, the Tetragrammaton, is vibrated after the pentagram is drawn in the east, the direction attributed to elemental air. Tradition tells us that YHVH is a symbol for the highest, most divine name of God. Therefore it is appropriate that this name is vibrated in the east, the place of the dawning of the light. YHVH is our sunrise, our source of life. The east symbolizes elemental air which has further correspondences with Mercury, the highest of the three alchemical principles. Alchemists often refer to Mercury as spirit. All of this is in keeping with the idea of the "highest name of God."
ADNI: Adonai, meaning "lord," is the name vibrated after the figure is traced in the south. This name is particularly associated with Malkuth, whose complete divine name is Adonai ha-Aretz. The name "lord" carries with it connotations of high rank, especially power, rulership, and dominion. Here the name is associated with fire and the south, the direction of the sun's greatest strength. This is a reminder that here on Malkuth, our immediate symbolic link with the lord of light and strength is through the life-giving rays of the sun.
AHIH: The name of Eheieh is vibrated after the western pentagram is drawn. Eheieh, meaning " I am," is the divine name of Kether. The west is the place of sunset, the completion of the sun's journey across the sky. It represents rest and peace. To the ancient Egyptians, Ra, the Sun god died each night when he entered Amentet (the west). The west is a symbol of the completion of the soul's journey and the goal of spiritual growth. Therefore the west is an emblem of Kether, the goal which we seek throughout our incarnation on earth and which we hope to reach at the end of life, when we (like Ra) journey to Amentet. The name Eheieh vibrated in the west suggests that the goal of all esoteric work is the magician's complete identification with the true and eternal self of Kether.
AGLA: After the northern pentagram is drawn, the word Agla is vibrated. This is not really a word but rather a notariqon which uses the first letter of each word in a sentence to form a single word. In this case the sentence from which Agla is formed is Atah Gebur Le-Olam Adonai. This means, "Thou art great forever, my Lord," which is a powerful invocation - clearly calling upon all the might of Adonai to aid and guide us through the darkness of things unknown. Agla is vibrated in the north because that is the direction of the greatest symbolic cold, darkness, shadow, illusion, and the unfamiliar. It is "the place of Forgetfulness, Dumbness (silence), and Necessity, and of the greatest symbolical Darkness." It represents all the dormant and unmanifested forces of the universe, as well as those which are hidden or veiled to us. These are forces which we are largely ignorant of. However, all things, manifest or unmanifested (light or dark), exist then, now, and always under the rulership of Adonai. This we affirm by the phrase "Thou art great forever, my Lord!"
In the case of the LBRP the four Archangels called are in direct relation to the directions of East, West, South & North (777).
- Greater Ritual of the Pentagram
- Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram
- Greater Ritual of the Hexagram
- Rituals of Thelema
Links of interest
- Liber O (http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/libero.html)
- The Palace of the World. (http://www.hermetic.com/sabazius/palace_world.htm)
- Crowley, Aleister. (1997). Magick: Book 4. 2nd ed. "Liber O." York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- ___. (1997). Magick: Book 4. 2nd ed. "Notes on the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram." York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- ___. (1974). Collected Works of Aleister Crowley. "The Palace of the World." Chicago, IL : Yoga Publication Society.
- ___. (1991). Liber Aleph vel CXI : the Book of Wisdom or Folly. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Frater Chanokh. The Stone of the Wise: A Study of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram.
- The Middle Pillar. 3rd ed. by Israel Regardie Llewellyn Publications
- 777 And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley York Beach ME. : Weiser, LLC