Copyright (c) 1988 by Phil Hansford.
This article is is licensed for free non-commercial distribution only.
‘The first part of every ceremony is the banishing; the second the invoking.’
(–Crowley, Magick, p. 104)
It may be said that ritual is the very heart of magick. For it is through ritual
that we achieve our magical results. Ritual is a magical procedure or ceremony we
perform in order to change the environment. Usually we think of ritual as bearing on
active magick, although certainly, it can also affect passive magick. Most often the
change achieved is subjective (it may be subtle) and in the physical world. Outsiders
may put them down to coincidence, but the effects are very real. Magical goals for a
ritual should not be taken lightly.
The successful practice of magick depends upon strong belief. The simplest ritual of
them all must be belief itself. If you can believe in your desired results strongly
enough, that act is a magical ritual which will achieve your results. Even a very
complex ritual is no more effective than strong belief. There are aids to concentration
which may help. Thus in *creative visualization*, imagination and controlled breathing
are brought into play.
When you want to magically achieve something, first picture it clearly in your mind.
The more deffinite and specific your idea of what it is the better. Picture yourself
having it or doing it. Visualize it as vividly and as intensely as you can and hold it
in your thoughts for a few moments. Concentrate on it intensely (it may help to hold
your breath). Feel the energy of desire welling up inside you. Then suddenly feel the
image or desire released from your mind. Feel the energy filtering through the image
and intensifying it, as if the image is a ‘stencil’. Imagine the energy exploding out
from you into the macrocosm in all directions at once, and feel the universe ’tilt’ as
it reacts to the force. (At the same time it may help to release your breath suddenly).
Feel the energy draining from you. Finally, *believe* that your purpose *has* been
accomplished; that it HAS HAPPENED, perhaps saying something such as “so mote it be”,
or “it is done”.
THE BASIC PARTS OF A RITUAL
Often rituals are more formal than the above, but any full magick ritual must always
reduce to these stages —
Sometimes a ritual must be repeated every day for a while to achieve difficult
results or to overcome weak belief.
THE MAGICK CIRCLE
Often an important part of formal ritual is the magick circle. Medieval magicians
considered the circle essential, and placed great emphasis upon its exactness.
Elaborate designs were invented with many layers of complex symbols and words. It was
very important that the circle be completely intact with no breaks in it. The magician
and any other participants stand in the circle during ritual. The ritual began with a
banishing of evil forces (using the lesser ritual of the pentagram for example) to keep
them outside the circle. Today, circles are made on the floor with chalk or paint, rock
salt, or a rope. Whatever its form, the circle is still an important part of magical
protection for the magician. This is especially important for aversive entities and
purposes. The circle also helps in focusing the energy of the ritual toward its
purpose, that is, it keeps it contained until the magician is ready to release it. Of
course, the magick circle is basicly only a symbol, but it may eventually be possible
to supplement the circle with electronic equipment for a similar purpose. We are
researching the practicality of electrostaticly charged Faraday
An artificial elemental is useful for certain tasks:
- invisible watcher and observer, telling you what it sees;
- psychic guard;
- it can be used in healing;
- it is helpful in other ways.
Ophiel calls the artificial elemental a ‘familiar’. Producing your own artificial
elemental is fairly easy. YOU MUST ASSUME THAT THE ACT HAS PRODUCED RESULTS, EVEN IF
YOU DO NOT IMMEDIATELY OBSERVE THEM. It is entirely possible to produce one of these
little beasties and not know it (not being clairvoyant enough to observe it directly).
Therefore, and this is a general principle of any magick, never ignore forces you have
set into motion. Even though you may not see the elemental, you may nevertheless ‘feel’
WARNING — Do not use artificial elementals for any kind of aversive magick
at this point; they can be nasty little critters to get rid of. Should you have to
eliminate one of them which you created in error, you must re-absorb it back into
yourself through your will; or in some cases you can ‘exorcise’ it.
HOW TO CREATE AN ARTIFICIAL ELEMENTAL
You can create your own artificial elemental for various purposes. An artificial
elemental is basically a thoughtform which has been strengthened with emotion. Refer
to the aura color chart in the previous lesson and decide what color to make the
elemental, based upon your intended purpose. Apple green is a good choice for general
purposes. Then decide on a shape or outline. Do you want your elemental to resemble
some sort of animal? A simple circle or cloud is a good place to start. With this in
mind you can use ritual to create your elemental. Creative visualization is good for
this. Visualize it glowing before you. A darkened room is helpful for this.
Communicate with your elemental with telepathy, by talking to it, or with creative
visualization. Your artificial elemental is closely linked to you and your
subconscious attitudes. It will generally not do things you think it cannot do. As in
any magick, results relate to effort and belief. Another way of looking at an
artificial elemental is as an aspect of your personality (sub personality) which has
been detached from you.
Formal ritual usually involves the invocation (ritually calling up) of a god or
goddess, spirit, or other entity. In this sense, magick is somewhat similar to pagan
religion and witchcraft. However, we consider magick ritual a technique, not a
religion. Worship need not be involved. Sometimes the invocation of an entity creates
an artificial elemental. Crowley says there are three different kinds of invocation
- Devotion to the entity (as in the Bhakti yoga of the Hare Krishna sect; the
Faustian devil pact).
- Ceremonial invocation — usual method of the middle ages.
- Drama — usually needs more than one person (as in a mass).
Because of the microcosm-macrocosm identity, when you invoke the gods, you are
invoking aspects of yourself. Jung has referred to the gods as primitive archetypes.
This makes it sound like spiritual entities are illusions. But in fact the
microcosm-macrocosm identity does not discredit the gods and goddesses. It instead
helps to illustrate our relationship to the cosmos.
- Balance is important in magick. Vary the entities invoked in order to keep your
personality in balance.
- Often as not a ritual may produce side-effects, usually something similar to,
though not exactly the desired goal. If the true goal is delayed (as sometimes
happens) we may see the side effects first. And if for some reason the goal is not
achieved at all (‘missing the target’) the side effects may be pronounced.
- You use magick ritual to hurry shipment of an anticipated package in the
mail. Side effect — the next day an unexpected package (the wrong one) arrives
- You use magick ritual to cause a certain person to phone you. Side effect
— for several days all sorts of people phone you…The sides effects will not
affect you (or anyone else) adversely unless that is what you inwardly
- We may say with certainty that “something always happens” when we perform a
magick ritual. But like everything else, magick follows the ‘law of results’. This
means that results require effort of some kind. And if you don’t work hard enough
at it you don’t get results. Difficult goals have greater resistance (magical
inertia) to overcome. If the ritual doesn’t produce the desired results there is a
good chance that the reason for the failure is within ourselves. Be certain there
is no contradiction between your model and your magical goals. Sometimes self doubt
and mental contradictions (wanting and not wanting at the same time) may interfere.
The first step in magick is to re-program your model. And, of course you can help
your magical results by working on the physical level toward your goals. Don’t
expect them to fall into your lap by themselves.
- A peculiar quality of magick is time displacement. Results of a ritual are not
usually instantaneous. There is often a delay of 12 hours or more. Difficult tasks
or weakly performed ritual are more likely to be delayed. In most cases a slight
delay is alright, and it gives us time to get used to the coming changes. And
sometimes the effects of a ritual appear to extend to before the ritual was
- Because of the way magick works, a ritual may create an emphasis in what is
sought, and a de-emphasis in everything else. Balance is therefore important here.
Once the magical result is achieved it may be ‘bound’ to you and difficult to get
rid of should you later decide to do so. Example: You use a magick ritual to help
you find and buy a new house. Years later when you decide to sell it, you are
unable to do so. Consider your magical goals wisely so you don’t get stuck with
something you don’t really want. Note that theory says you can always unbind
through ritual what was bound to you…theory says.
- Sometimes the environment appears to react against the magick after the results
are achieved. This is particularly noticeable in using magick to affect the weather
(and the main reason why you should NOT use magick to affect the weather). For
example…Your performance of a ritual to produce a sunny day produces a sunny day.
The next day is sunny, alright, but the rest of the month is cold and overcast.
Here the weather seems to react to the magick in the opposite way to re-establish
its natural balance. It is something like pushing a pendulum to one side and
releasing it — the pendulum swings to the other side. To quote Emmerson — “For
everything you gain you lose something…”. I don’t know that this is always true
in magick, but it does illustrate the point. And another reason not to use magick
to affect the weather is that it might foul it up in other parts of the country
- Finally, magick ritual (or any magick or occultism) is very dangerous for the
mentally unstable. If you should somehow ‘get out too far’, eat ‘heavy foods’ as
previously discussed (lesson on chakras) and use your religious background or old
belief system for support. But remember too, that weird experiences are not
necessarily bad experiences.
- What is creative visualization?
- List the basic parts of a ritual.
- What is invocation?
RESEARCH TOPICS (for independent study)
- Examine the differences between western magick and oriental magick.
- How do medieval grimoirs follow the basic ritual pattern?
- Research and design your own formal ritual.
P.E.I. Bonewitz, Real Magic. David Conway, Magic: an Occult Primer (or Ritual
Magic). Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice. Denning and Phillips, Creative
Visualization. Ophiel, Creative Visualization. A.E. Powell, The Astral Body. ________,
The Mental Body. Joseph Weed, Wisdom of the Ancient Masters. Julian Wilde, Grimoire of
HEALING AND BANISHING
Psychic or spiritual healing is a human potential we all possess. Some people are
especially good at this. It is probably easier to heal someone else by occult means
than yourself. In addition to healing in the presence of the person, there is ‘absent
healing’ in which the healing occurs at a distance. Note that there are some who
maintain that influence on another person without his specific knowledge and permission
(yes, even in healing and helping) is black magick. (After all, everybody is living
according to his own true will, so that healing or helping someone without permission
is affecting his will). This means it is important to tell the person what you are
planning to do and to ask his permission. The theory of psychic healing is that
sickness is characterized (although not necessarily caused) by a deficiency and
imbalance of vital energy. Psychic healing transfers energy from the healer to the sick
to repair and rebalance his energies. If an inept healer overdoes the process, or if he
doesn’t take the precaution to ‘disconnect’ himself afterwards, he may find himself
becoming sick due to energy drain and a linkage to his subject. Similarly, the healer
should always be in a good state of health or he could unintentionally transfer his
illness to the subject. The basic methods of psychic healing are:
- creative visualization,
Creative visualization is one of the easiest techniques. Mild illness may yield to
only one or two treatments; serious ills will require many treatments over time.
Psychic healing should always be combined with medical care and treatment. It does not
replace doctors, medicine, or hospitals, since different levels (worlds) are involved.
In creative visualization, we visualize the person being well. It may be helpful to
utilize the appropriate color from the aura chart (such as bright apple-green, rose
pink, or white) sent as a beam to the person or as a cloud surrounding him. This
technique can be extended to include a simple kind of yoga in which we feel energy sent
as we exhale explosively; the energy sent either via the breath or from one of the
chakras such as the solar plexus. Sometimes in absent healing it is helpful to arrange
a time for treatment in advance, asking your subject to be in a receptive state of mind
and to sit back and close his eyes.
THE BANISHING RITUAL
One of the most basic and useful ceremonial rituals of magick is called the
*banishing ritual*, or lesser ritual of the pentagram. A pentagram (or pentacle) is a
five-pointed star with the point up. The banishing ritual is helpful in psychic
protection and healing since it forms a protective barrier against malevolent forces.
The psychic barrier it creates can be made to permit entry of desired (constructive)
forces and the exclusion of negative ones. Thus, the banishing ritual is an essential
first step in almost any formal full magick ceremony. The ritual requires that you use
a magical implement or “weapon”, such as a ceremonial knife, wand, or simply point your
index finger, to “draw” the pentagram in the air at each of the cardinal points (four
directions). Also, you will be chanting (‘vibrating’) some Hebrew names of God.
Holding your magical weapon and facing east, extend your arm out straight in front
of you. In this ritual you will use the full sweep of your arm to draw the pentagram in
the air. Follow the description below by beginning at the lower left and sweeping your
magical weapon up toward the right, etc. as shown. Do not bend your arm at the wrist or
elbow. While you do this, visualize the lines and eventually the star as vibrant white,
floating in the space before you. You are projecting energy to do this, and the result
will be a gleaming 5-pointed star floating in the east; visualize this as vividly as
you can. Now you will energize it further by piercing the center of it with your
magical weapon and vibrating (speaking slowly in a slightly lower than normal pitch,
Approximate points on a round clock face —
- Begin at 7:30 position.
- Point to 12 oclock position.
- Point to 4:30 position.
- Point to 10:30 position.
- Point to 2:30 position.
- Return to 7:30 position.]
Then turn slowly to the next cardinal point in sequence, and as you do so, with your
arm still extended in front of you, visualize a white line connecting around to the
cardinal point. Trace a similar pentagram with the appropriate words and following the
South — Adonai Tzaboath
West — Eh-Ei-He
North — Agla.
Now complete the white line drawn back to the center of the eastern pentagram. Note
that the cardinal points must be followed in a clockwise order, and the pentagram must
be drawn in the manner illustrated; to do otherwise would change the function of the
ritual. The result of all this should be a large bright white pentagram visualized
hanging in mid-air at each of the four directions, all tied together by a bright white
line. You could now, for example, visualize the pentagrams moving out to the
circumference of your home, thereby protecting all within.
There is also a somewhat simplified version of this ritual in which the pentagram is
traced only once overhead and then is energized with one of the four names, such as
“Eh-Ei-He”. Oftentimes the simplified version is sufficient, but naturally the effect
of the full version is more complete.
One of the primary uses of this ritual is to ward off psychic attack — that is,
when another is (consciously or unconsciously) attempting to harm you, cause sickness,
accidents, bad dreams, emotional upset, or to force you to do something against your
will. Fortunately this doesn’t happen very often. The world of the magician is fairly
safe for the pure of heart. Psychic attack usually depends upon vulnerabilities. If you
are not vulnerable you are safe. Thus unification with the true will is the greatest
protection possible. And the use of the banishing ritual is never hurtful. You can even
use it to hold off negative aspects of yourself.
Other forms of protection sometimes helpful (depending upon one’s model) are
recitation of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’, the 23rd, and 91st Psalms.
- What is a pentagram?
- What is psychic healing? List the basic methods.
- What is the banishing ritual? Why is it used?
Dion Fortune, Psychic Self-Defense.
________, Sane Occultism.
Adeliade Gardner, Vital Magnetic Healing.
Max Heindel, The Vital Body.
Ernest Holms, The Science of Mind.
Mouni Sadhu, Theurgy.
This article is is licensed for free non-commercial distribution only.
Astral projection (OOBE, out of the body experience) is a popular area of occult
literature; for traveling to see other worlds and places while the physical body sleeps
or is entranced is an exciting notion. Astral projection is not dangerous. It is as
safe as sleeping. Most dreams are probably unconscious astral projections, anyway.
Although there has been quite a bit written on the subject, astral projection is
difficult for many people. The main difficulty is the tendency to forget dream
consciousness upon awakening. Accordingly, the successful practice of astral projection
Modern psychology discounts the idea of actual OOBE (that the spirit temporarily
vacates the physical body). However, the idea is very ancient. The Tibetans have an
entire system of yoga (dream yoga) based upon astral projection. And here we have an
important assumption: you are involved in an OOBE (at least to a degree) whenever you
dream. What sets it apart from a full OOBE is your hazy consciousness during the
experience and poor recall afterwards. Many people forget most of their dreams
completely. Learning astral projection requires a kind of inner mental clarity and
Dreams are a door to the subconscious which can be used for psychological and
spiritual insight, and sometimes for precognition. Dream content is influenced by
external sounds and sensations. For example, a loud external noise (such as a train)
will likely appear in your dream (if it doesn’t wake you up!). Dreams are also
influenced by events of the previous day, by your moods, and by suggestion. Everyone
normally dreams 4 or 5 times a night (about every 2 hours). The longest dreams occur in
the morning. Everyone dreams. You are more likely to remember the details of your dream
when you first wake up. By keeping a dream diary you will improve dream recall. Have
writing equipment or a tape recorder at your bedside for this purpose; also a light
which isn’t too bright. Suggest to yourself several times before you go to sleep, “I
will awaken with the knowledge of a dream.” Then when you do awaken, move quietly
(sometimes just turning over drives the idea away). Remember first, then write the
dream down, and then add as many details as possible. The next day check for objective
facts and expand if you can (by remembering ‘what happened before that’). Once you
start remembering your dreams in this way, it will become easier to do so. (If you are
unsuccessful at this, and *really* want to remember your dreams, you could arrange for
someone to sit by your bedside all night long with a dim light on. Then when he sees
your eyes moving back and forth — rapid eye movements, a sign you are dreaming — he
can wake you and ask for a dream report.)
FORMS OF ASTRAL PROJECTION
Astral projection may be subdivided into three basic types: mental projection,
astral projection (proper) and ethereal projection. And your OOBE may shift between
them. Mental projection is really simple clairvoyance (‘remote viewing’), and
‘traveling in your mind’. Imagination plays a key role. The experience of mental
projection is not particularly vivid, and you will more likely be an observer than a
participant. Nevertheless, mental projection is an important ‘way in’ to astral
During mental projection and astral projection you are able to travel through solid
objects, but are not able to act directly upon them or to move them (if they are in the
physical world). This is not true during ethereal projection. Whether it is simply
subconscious expectation, or whether it is a true ethereal projection which in theory
means that part of your physical body has been relocated with your projection (the
ethereal or vital part) may be difficult to determine. Ethereal projections generally
travel at or very near the physical world. There are even cases reported (very, very
rare ones) in which the entire physical body is transferred to another location
(teleportation), or cases in which the physical body exists and acts in two separate
places at once (bilocation)!
But our primary interest is astral projection proper, and mental projection to a
lesser extent. Astral and mental projection are not confined to the physical world.
Travel in the mental and astral realms is feasible, and often preferred. Nor are astral
and mental projection restricted to the realm of the earth (you could even go to the
moon and planets).
STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
The electrical activity of the brain has been observed and classified with EEG
(electroencephalograph) equipment; signals picked up from the scalp by electrodes, then
filtered and amplified, drive a graph recorder. Brain activity has been found to
produce specific ranges for certain basic states of consciousness, as indicated in ‘hz’
(hertz, or cycles/vibrations per second):
delta — 0.2 to 3.5 hz (deep sleep, trance state)
theta — 3.5 to 7.5 hz (day dreaming, memory)
alpha — 7.5 to 13 hz (tranquility, heightened awareness, meditation)
beta — 13 to 28 hz (tension, ‘normal’ consciousness)
As you can see, some form of physical relaxation is implied in the alpha, theta, and
delta consciousness. These states are in fact reached through deep breathing, hypnosis,
and other relaxation techniques. OOBE occurs during these states, and delta is probably
the most important for it. The problem is really, as we have said, one of maintaining
mental awareness and alertness while experiencing these altered states. Experimental
subjects hooked to an EEG do not show a discrete change from drowsy to sleep; it is
At the threshold between sleep and waking consciousness is a drowsy condition known
as the hypnogogic state. OOBE seems to occur during this state, or a variant of it. By
careful control of the hypnogogic state (not going beyond it) it is possible to enter
Most methods of astral projection are methods of conditioning. Some form of trance
or altered consciousness is always involved. No one ever projects consciously while
fully awake (some may think that they do). Although there are many techniques used to
produce an astral projection, they boil down to ten of them. They all sort of
- Diet — Certain dietary practices may aid in OOBE, especially at first. These
include fasting, vegetarianism, and in general the eating of ‘light’ foods as
discussed in a a previous lesson. Carrots and raw eggs are thought to be especially
beneficial, but all nuts are to be avoided. Over-eating should be avoided. And no
food should be eaten just before an OOBE attempt. If you intend to practice during
sleep, for example, allow 2 to 4 hours of no food or drink (except water) before
bedtime. In general, we see here the same kind of dietary restrictions advocated for
- Progressive muscular relaxation — This is one of the basic methods used in
hypnosis and self-hypnosis. Physical relaxation can assist one in attaining the
requisite trance state. These techniques involve beginning at the toes and tensing,
then relaxing the muscles, progressively up the entire body.
- Yoga and breath — Yoga, mantra, and breathing exercises similarly aim at
physical relaxation. The practice of kundalini yoga is particularly relevant, since
it is concerned with altered consciousness. In fact the arousal of kundalini requires
a similar state of consciousness to OOBE.
- Visualization — This involves a type of extended clairvoyance or picturing of
remote surroundings. If you can experience the feeling of being there, so much the
better. Although this technique is essentially mental projection, it is possible to
deepen mental projection into astral projection through (you guessed it!)
visualization. Crowley taught a similar technique:
- visualize a closed door on a blank wall,
- imagine a meditation symbol on the door,
- visualize the door opening and yourself entering through it. And J.H. Brennan
describes similar techniques wherein the door is shaped and colored like a
tattva, or alternately, a chosen tarot card is visualized and the student
visualizes entering into it.
- Guided imagery — In many respects similar to visualization. Except in this case,
there is a guide (or perhaps a voice on tape) directing you by means of descriptions.
As with visualization, mental rather than astral projection is most likely.
- Body of Light — The old Golden Dawn technique. Imagine a duplicate (mirror
image) of yourself in front of you. Then transfer your consciousness and sensation to
the duplicate (‘body of light’).
- Strong willing — Sort of like creative visualization experienced in the present.
That is you express your strong desire to project through your willpower while you
visualize yourself doing it.
- The Monroe techniques — These are a series of steps developed by Robert Monroe:
- relax the body,
- enter the hypnogogic state,
- deepen the state,
- develop the sensation of ‘vibration’,
- separate from the body. The Monroe Institute has developed some cassette
tapes which are claimed to help in this.
- Dream control — This is one of the most important techniques. It involves
becoming aware that you are dreaming. There are several ways to do this. Oliver Fox
says to look for discrepancies in the dream to realize you are dreaming. One occult
student I know of visualized a white horse which he could ride wherever he wished to
go. After a time, when the horse appeared in his dreams it was his cue that he was
actually dreaming/projecting. Don Juan tells Castaneda to look at his hands while he
is dreaming. And even the tarot and Cabala may be used as dream signals. Another
method is to tell yourself each night as you go to sleep, “I can fly”; then when you
do, you will know you are dreaming. Once you know you are dreaming you can control
your dream/OOBE and go anywhere you want. Repetitive activities will also likely
influence your dreams. For example, if you are on an automobile trip and spend most
of the day driving, you will probably dream about driving. You can condition yourself
to be aware you are dreaming by doing a repetitive activity many times (walking
across the room or a particular magick ritual, for example). Then when you dream
about it, you will know you are dreaming.
- Dream expansion– A variation on dream control. A dream may be *extended* by
imagining it continuing from where it was when you awaken. Then it is just a simple
step to ‘astral project’ by directing you ‘dream’.
Although all these techniques may appear straightforward, they all require effort.
Astral projection is generally learned.
The astral world is the “ghostland” into which one passes after death. It is
sometimes possible to visit with the dead, or you might be called upon to reassure and
assist those who have just passed over (died) or those who are consciously projecting
for the first time. Many spirits, elementals and ghosts exist in the astral world. The
magician should feel comfortable there. Tibetan belief is that through proficiency in
OOBE, you no longer need reincarnate after death. The astral world is extremely
changeable and subject to your thoughts. Your will can control your movements in the
astral world, and if you seem to be going somewhere non-volitionally (‘astral current’)
it is probably your true will causing it anyway. You might also experience heightened
magical ability while in the astral realm.
- What is the relationship between astral projection and dreams.
- What is mental projection?
- List the ten basic methods of astral projection.
H.P. Battersby, Man Outside Himself.
Susan J. Blackmore, Beyond the Body.
J.H. Brennan, Astral Doorways.
Robert Crookall, The Techniques of Astral Projection.
Denning and Phillips, The Llewellyn Practical Guide to Astral Projection.
Oliver Fox, Astral Projection.
Gavin & Yvonne Frost, Astral Travel.
Celia Green, Out-of-the-body Experiences.
Richard A. Greene, The Handbook of Astral Projection.
Herbert Greenhouse, The Astral Journey.
Jack London, Star Rover (historical occult novel).
Janet Mitchell, Out of Body Experiences.
Robert Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body.
Robert E. Moser, Mental and Astral Projection.
Muldoon and Carrington, The Projection of the Astral Body.
Ophiel, The Art and Practice of Astral Projection.
A.E. Powell, The Astral Body.
D. Scott Rogo, Leaving the Body.
J.M. Shay, Out of the Body Consciousness.
Susy Smith, The Enigma of Out-of-the-body Travel.
Brad Steiger, The Mind Travelers.
Yram, Practical Astral Projection.
Western magick is based upon the Cabala, a Jewish mystical traditon first written
down in 12th and 13th century southern France and Spain. It was oral before that; and
it contains the “lost” knowledge of the ancients, possibly going back to Egypt and
before. The most important Cabalistic books are SEPHIR YETZIRAH (The Book of Creation),
and the ZOHAR (Book of Splendor). Through Cabalistic philosophy we are able to classify
and “pigeon-hole” all of existence.
THE FOUR WORLDS
The four worlds are recognized in the Cabala, but they are given Hebrew names. Thus
— Assiah, physical; Yetzirah, astral; Briah, mental; and Atziluth, spiritual; as shown
in the chart.
|spiritual||Atziluth||Archetypal World||pure deity|
The divine name of God is TETRAGRAMMATON (or name of four letters) made from the
Hebrew letters YOD HE VAU HE (English YHVH). Of the four letters, YOD corresponds with
Atziluth and the element of fire; the first HE corresponds with Briah and water. These
first two letters make up a yang-yin pair (respectively). The other two letters also
form a yang-yin pair (respectively), with the VAU corresponding with Yetzirah and air;
while the second HE corresponds with Assiah and the element of earth.
The Cabalistic parts of the soul use new names for the three highest vehicles of
consciousness. NESHAMAH (Divine Soul) is the Spiritual body; RUAH (Moral Soul) is the
Mental body; and NEFESH (Animal Soul) is the Astral body.
THE SEFIROTIC TREE
An important attribute of the Cabala is the SEFIROTIC TREE (or “Tree of Life”, Otz
Chieem). The Sefirotic Tree is a diagram of the universe made up of the ten SEFIROTH
(primal numbers or orders of creation) drawn as circles upon the Tree in a descending
pattern from the highest aspect of God at the top to the most physical aspect of our
world at the bottom. As can be seen in the accompanying diagram, the sefiroth are
connected together with numbered lines, called paths.
/ (1)\ / | \ / | \ (3) /----------|---------\ (2) | | | | | | | | | (5)\-----------|---------/ (4) | \ | / | | \ | / | | \ (6)/ | | / | \ | | / | \ | | / | \ | (8)/-----------|--------\ (7) \ | / \ | / \ | / \(9)/ | | (10)
This is my attempt to draw a Sefirotic Tree using ASCII characters. Several paths
are omitted (15, 17, 29, 31). Please refer to a printed diagram (in most any book on
Cabala) for a better illustration.
Above the Tree is the infinite void — the unknowable, unmanifest God as Divine
Light — the three veils of negative existence: Ain, Ain Sof, and Ain Sof Aur. The
Divine Light (Ain Sof Aur) is made manifest by the first sefira where it is transformed
into positive existence. Emanations of energy (magical current) flow from the first
sefira (Source) along the paths into other sefiroth which transform and emanate to
lower and lower sefiroth. In Adam Kadman (primal or ideal man) the sefiroth fit upon
the physical body; note the similarity to the chakras. The process of creation is one
of emanation from the spiritual at the top of the Tree to the physical world (Sink) at
the bottom. All current which is Sourced into the Tree must also be Sinked (earthed).
That is, magical energy set in motion by ritual shoud be used up in the physical world
whether or not the ritual was a success.
Sefiroth 1, 2, and 3 on the Tree form the Supernal Triangle which is beyond normal
human experience in the world of Atziluth. The first sefira, KETHER, is the supreme
*crown* of God; it signifies pure Being, and is the Source. Kether is androgynous.
Immediately arising from Kether are two further emanations. The second sefira is
HOKMAH, the *wisdom* of God and the masculine force of the universe. Third is BINAH,
the *understanding* or intelligence of God; this is the supernal mother.
Between the Supernals and the other seven sefiroth is the Abyss — a great gulf
which forever separates ideal from actual. Within the Abyss an 11th sefira, DAATH, the
*knowledge* of God is sometimes placed.
The second triangle, comprised of the 4th, 5th, and 6th sefiroth in the world of
Briah, is sometimes called the Mental Triangle. Sefira 4, HESED, the *love* or mercy of
God, is male and positive. The 5th sefira, GEVURAH, the power or *strength* of God
complements Hesed as justice. Sixth is TIFARETH, as the compassion or *beauty* of God;
the heart of the universe.
The third or Astral Triangle contains sefiroth 7, 8, and 9 in Yetzirah. Sefira 7,
NETSAH, is the lasting endurance or *victory* of God. Complementing Netsah is 8, HOD,
the majesty or *splendor* of God. The 9th sefira, YESOD, the *foundation* of the world,
is linked with the moon, hence the tides and the libido. Yesod is experienced as dream
consciousness, and is very important in magick and astral projection.
Finally, at the physical world of Assiah is the 10th sefira, MALKUTH, the *kindgom*
of God, and the basis of all material creation. We experience Malkuth as sense
The Sefirotic Tree has three vertical columns or *pillars*. As you face the tree,
the pillar on the right, headed by Hokmah and ending with Netsah, is called the Pillar
of Mercy and has light/masculine (yang) qualities. The pillar on the left, headed by
Binah and ending with Hod, is the Pillar of Severity with dark/feminine (yin)
qualities. The Middle Pillar between them equilibriates the two opposites, and is the
*Shekhinah*, or feminine counterpart of God. The *klippoth*, or evil demons, generally
in Assiah, represent unbalanced forces or excesses.
All the attributes of the universe fit like pieces of a puzzle upon the Sefirotic
Tree. Each numbered part is a numeric key to the various correspondence tables, such as
Crowley’s ‘777’. The sefirotic tree has its parts variously colored and each sefira has
a color; in fact the paths which run between the sefiroth have their own colors too.
There are four major color scales for the sefirotic tree and each color scale
corresponds with one of the four worlds. That means we are dealing with not just one
sefirotic tree, but actually with a separate tree for each of the four worlds; although
it is easier to think of it as the same tree with a different color scale. The Queen
(Briah) and King (Atziluth) scales are the most important. There is also the Empress
scale (Assiah), and the Emperor scale (Yetzirah).
The Queen and King scales for the sefiroth are shown below. (Note that when 4 colors
are listed together, the sefira is divided into quarters and the first color is
assigned to the upper quarter, the 2nd color to the right quarter, the 3rd color to the
left quarter, and the last color to the lower quarter.)
|KEY||QUEEN SCALE||KING SCALE|
|1||pure white brilliance||brilliance|
|2||gray||pure soft blue|
|6||yellow (gold)||clear pink rose|
|10||citrine, olive, russet and black||yellow|
The 22 paths connect the sefiroth together. These paths correspond with the 22
letters of the Hebrew alphabet, as based upon the SEFIR YETZIRAH. Due to the nature of
the Hebrew alphabet (some letters can take two forms) SEFIR YETZIRAH divides each of
two of the letters into two (dual) parts. For this reason, it is necessary to divide
each of the two related paths into two (dual) parts. These are numbered 31, 31b
(bisected); 32, 32b. Yet when these paths are drawn on the sefirotic tree they are
usually shown undivided (and numbered simply 31, and 32). The following table shows the
colors and location of the paths in relation to the sefiroth. You will want to add the
path numbers to the illustration of the sefirotic tree, or draw a new tree. Some
writers may refer to “32 paths”, by calling the sefiroth “paths” 1-10.
|KEY||JOINS SEFIROTH||QUEEN SCALE||KING SCALE|
|11||1 – 2||sky blue||bright pale yellow|
|12||1 – 3||purple||yellow|
|13||1 – 6||silver||blue|
|14||2 – 3||sky blue||emerald green|
|15||2 – 6||red||scarlet|
|16||2 – 4||deep indigo||red orange|
|17||3 – 6||pale mauve||orange|
|18||3 – 5||maroon||amber|
|19||4 – 5||deep purple||greenish yellow|
|20||4 – 6||slate gray||yellowish green|
|21||4 – 7||blue||violet|
|22||5 – 6||blue||emerald green|
|23||5 – 8||sea green||deep blue|
|24||6 – 7||dull brown||green blue|
|25||6 – 9||yellow||blue|
|26||6 – 8||black||indigo|
|27||7 – 8||red||scarlet|
|28||7 – 9||sky blue||violet|
|29||7 – 10||buff, flecked silver-white||crimson (ultra-violet)|
|30||8 – 9||gold yellow||orange|
|31||8 – 10||vermilion||glowing orange-scarlet|
|32||9 – 10||black||indigo|
|31b||deep purple, nearly black||white merging into gray|
|32b||amber||citrine, olive, russet, black|
The queen and king scales are complementary. Also complementary are the paths and
the sefiroth. Traditional use of the queen scale sefiroth will find the king scale as
paths and vice versa. The use of complementary scales is based upon the idea of
balance. A tree composed of sefiroth in the queen scale and paths in the king scale is
all you need for most magick. Although correspondences are what work for you, there is
said to be an ancient tradition surrounding the conventional color scales and it may be
helpful to lock into the energy associated with them.
From the magical point of view, the Tree of Life is a map of consciousness which is
useful for understanding and attaining various states of consciousness. In cabalistic
magick we are concerned with the linking of higher energy to lower levels on the tree.
That very thing takes place naturally as well, in nature and in life. A subject in
itself is cabalistic meditation (pathwork, or the way of return), in which we attempt
to climb up the tree (ladder of lights) to attain union with divinity.
- What is the sefirotic tree?
- How is the queen scale used in magick?
- What is a path? How many are there?
J. Abelson, Jewish Mysticism
Edward Albertson, Understanding the Kabbalah
Bernard J. Babmerger, Fallen Angels
Richard Cavendish, The Black Arts
______, editorial comments to “Cabala”, Man Myth and Magic
Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth
______, 777 Revised
Denning and Phillips, The Magical Philosophy
______, Magical States of Consciousness (on pathworking)
A.D. Duncan, The Christ, Psychotherapy and Magic
Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
Adolphe Frank, The Kabbalah: The Religious Philosophy of the Hebrews
Perle Epstein, Kabbalah, the Way of the Jewish Mystic
William Gray, The Talking Tree
Stephan A. Hoeller, The Royal Road
Isidor Kalish, Sepher Yezirah: A Book on Creation
Alta J. LaDage, Occult Psychology
Bernhard Pick, The Cabala: Its Influence on Judaism and Christianity
Charles Ponce, Kabbalah: An Introduction and Illumination for the World Today
Henry B. Pullen-Burry, Qabalism
Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegranets
______, The Golden Dawn
______, The Middle Pillar
Leo Schaya, The Universal Meaning of the Kabbalah
Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah
______, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
______, On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism
______, Zohar: The Book of Splendor
Arthur Edward Waite, The Holy Kabbalah
R.J. Zwi Werblowsky, “Cabala”, Man, Myth and Magic
William Wynn Wescott, An Introduction to the Study of the Kabalah
______, Sepher Yetzirah
We have seen in the theories of magick, that there is a definite relationship
between the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds. We saw this in the theory of the microcosm and
the macrocosm; in the four worlds; in the theory of correspondences; and also in the
Cabala and Tree of Life. This relationship between inner and outer is very important.
And it means quite simply that success (or lack of it) in one world (inner or outer)
influences success (or lack of it) in the other. Therefore developing of magical
ability is more than meditation and magical practice, for it implies mastery of the
four worlds. The developed magician is not only master of the inner worlds; he is also
master of himself.
This is not to imply that successful magicians are all millionaires (or whatever
standard people measure success by), but it should mean that they are basically
pleasant people, at least; no serious hang-ups. The developed magician is described as
a ‘king’ in the Book of the Law. This means simply that he has full control over all
aspects of his physical and inner life. He should be who he wants to be, doing what he
wants to do.
The *numbers* in the tables and diagram of the preceding lesson on Cabala are the
‘key’ numbers which we find in various *correspondence tables* (such as Crowley’s
‘777’). One important set of correspondences for the planets, is shown below…
Notice that we have included the metal which is associated with the planet, as well
as common attributes of each planet. The theory of Cabalistic magick is to select the
appropriate planet for the desired result. The attribute column will assist in that
selection. Once a particular planet is determined, an entity is selected from the
correspondence tables by matching the key number. A set of correspondence tables may be
available as a separate file (777.ARC). Additionally, a list of selected deities from
several popular pantheons and with a brief description about them may be available.
Although Hebrew Mysticism is the original source of Cabalistic ideas, it is mostly
unconcerned with the magical implications of those ideas. How can a religious
philosophy which is monotheistic lend credibility to a polytheistic approach? Various
deities are understood as *aspects* or *qualities* of the Supreme God. This is not a
contradiction, merely a restatement of the microcosm-macrocosm idea once again. The
Sefirotic Tree, in its representation of the universe is the Macrocosm. While it could
be said that any single sefiroth has its own separate qualities, it remains,
nonetheless, a part of the whole tree, and a part of the macrocosm. As a result,
virtually any pantheon or belief system is compatible with the Cabala.
Western magick has traditionally placed a great deal of emphasis upon the use of
willpower as a means of development and self-mastery. But this may not be the best
method in the long run. Isaac Bonewitz describes how the subconscious will sometimes
rebel against willpower with ‘spectacular results’. It is far better to run one’s life
Hawaiian Kahuna magick describes the ‘three selves’, i.e.. the lower self (or
subconscious), the middle self (or normal consciousness), and the high self (spirit or
Holy Guardian Angel). Enlightenment in the Hawaiian system consists of unification of
the three selves. They become ‘buddies’. Enlightenment does not come from great change.
It comes from great acceptance. Continual effort at becoming better takes you nowhere.
For becoming it is not being it. The unification is achieved by first developing
communication with the subconscious and later with the high self also. Simple exercises
with a pendulum, automatic writing, raised finger responses, self hypnosis, recording
and analysis of dreams etc. facilitate communication with the subconscious. At first
communication with the high self must be via the subconscious, but later it is possible
to go direct to it.
Many occult groups follow an energy model for magick and the physical body. This
model (or theory) equates psychic energy with kundalini/prana/sexual or life force
energy. The ideal of kundalini yoga is thus to raise the kundalini to the higher
chakras (especially ajna and sahasrara) thereby enhancing psychic/magick powers. The
release of psychic energy is also relevant to mental control, good health and
longevity, and the attainment of ‘cosmic consciousness’. Meditation and yoga is used to
liberate psychic energy so that it can be used for magical purposes. But there are
other ways to liberate psychic energy. Many of these techniques will act as a mental
catharsis in the sense of invigorating the psyche and resulting in improved
intellectual and physical performance.
- Psychotherapy of certain types which releases pent up psychological energy.
- Overcoming mind games, hang-ups, and inhibitions. This is the basis of all listed
practices, as hangups waste psychic energy. Certain psychotropic drugs may have this
affect. Also the ‘kicks’ from ‘risks’ like skydiving.
- Vigorous dance and physical exercise — to the point of ‘second wind’.
- ‘Desirelessness’ and various religious practices.
- The way of return, and various other mystical practices.
- Atavistic resurgence. This last item deserves some extra mention. It was one of
Austin Spare’s methods. It means to contact the primitive emotions deep within the
psyche. In a sense it is regressive. However, there is power there, if you are able
to control it.
We have seen how magical theory is based upon the assumption that psychic phenomena
is real. If this is so, then magick is also real. And we have also seen how magick is
the art and science of causing change in accordance with the will by non-physical
means. Magical philosophy is the working system of terms, theories, and symbols upon
which magick is based. But magick goes further than that, for as an ancient system of
psychology, magick may be used as is a means of self improvement and spiritual growth.
For magick and mysticism are parallel paths, each ultimately leading to
- What do we mean by the relationship between the inner and outer worlds?
- What is wrong with willpower?
- Explain the energy model of magick.
P.E.I. Bonewitz, Hawaiian Magic (tape).
Pete Carrol, Liber Null.
John Heriot, Teaching Yourself White Magic.
Allan P. Lewis, Clearing Your Lifepath.
Max Freedom Long, The Secret Science Behind Miracles.
——, The Secret Science At Work.
Stephen Mace, Stealing the Fire from Heaven.
Julian Wilde, Grimoire of Chaos Magick.
Phil Hansford, 4/88
(818) 353-8891 (modem)
P.O. Box 83
Tujunga, CA 91042