the Energies of the Body
Esoteric systems that work with the body have different words to describe its subtle energy. Prana, Chi, Orgone, Odic Force, or whatever one wants to call it, designates a directly experiential energetic force that permeates the subtle Yetziratic body. Imaginal in essence, it is nevertheless closely tied to the physical body, and therefore various physical techniques can be used to manipulate it. Due to its psychophysical, Imaginal nature it is not fully quantifably measurable by medical or scientific means. Thoughts can't be measured, and neither can the subtle force except through its physical analogs. An electrical impulse in the brain is not identical to a thought, but it may be integrally related to one. Likewise, certain measurable electrochemical or other phenomenon in the body can be related to subtle energy phenomenon, but they are not in and of themselves that energy.
Ultimately, working with this bodily force is an experiential matter. It may take a great deal of practice before its presence can be felt. Additionally, given its Yetziratic nature one of the best methods of attuning to it is to imagine or visualize it. This has the dual function of actively creating and shaping the energy, as well as responding to its independent movements. Some models even go so far as to say that the subtle body does not exist at all until it is built up by inner work. This was Ouspensky's interpretation of Gurdjieff's position. It is not, however, the experience of Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example, which seems to work quite objectively with a subtle body dynamic regardless of the patient's awareness of it. The reader should experiment and draw their own conclusions.
Hatha Yoga, martial arts, Chi Gong, Tai Chi and many other practices manipulate and attune the subtle energy. These are all sophisticated techniques beyond the scope of this book, but are valuable tools for the kit of the aspiring magician. The emphasis of this chapter is on a more basic, relatively contemplative method of engaging with the body's energy through seven traditional focus points of that energy. These are called Chakras, which is Sanskrit for 'wheels', signifying a point of concentration and movement of energy.
The seven points and their physically correlated locations are:
Sahasrara — crown of the head or slightly above the head
Ajna — between the eyes on the forehead, slightly above the bridge of the nose
Vishuddhi — the throat about the base of the neck
Anahatta — the center of the chest
Manipura — solar plexus or abdomen
Svadisthana — the sexual genitals and their associated body cavities
Muladhara — the perineum or the base of the spine
Different texts and traditions will sometimes give slightly different anatomical locations for these points, and they are not necessarily as precisely localized as some authorities would assert.
The Siva Samhita has some interesting things to say concerning the Chakras. Mount Meru, referred to in this passage, is the world mountain at the center of the universe in Indian mythic cosmology. It is the Axis Mundi, or world pole.
"In this body, the mount Meru [the vertebral column] is surrounded by seven islands; there are rivers, seas, mountains, fields; and lords of the fields too. There are in it seers and sages; all the stars and planets as well. There are sacred pilgrimages, shrines; and presiding deities of the shrines. The sun and moon, agents of creation and destruction, also move in it. Ether, air, fire, water and earth are also there. All the beings that exist in the three worlds are also to be found in the body; surrounding the Meru they are engaged in their respective functions. He who knows all this is a yogi; there is no doubt about it." [Chapter 2, 1-5]
What is being described here is the presence within the microcosm of the physical and Imaginal body of a perfect mirror of the physical and Imaginal macrocosm. In astrology, the planets project, reflect and concentrate the magical energy of the Sun within the Solar system, thereby bringing out its different aspects. In the same manner, the Chakras, working individually or in sets, modulate the energy of the microcosm, throwing certain aspects into relief so they can be worked with.
There is a deeper doctrine here as well. The subtle energy of the body is also one and the same as the divine energy, or Shakti, of the cosmic universe. The patterns and dynamic of that field of universal forces is mirrored within the personal microcosm. They are magically linked, and one can affect the other.
The next obvious question is therefore to ask which planets go with which Chakras. Investigation reveals multiple different correspondence schemes, more than one of which is valid — which is not the same as saying that they are all arbitrary. A good model may be to see the Chakras as neutral or possessed of manifold potential in and of themselves. By giving them specific correspondences through visualization and other activities, magical and consciousness altering and enhancing phenomenon can be made to happen by thus shaping the subtle forces.
There is also no reason that all seven Chakras must always be used. In the following, methods of working with them in sets of two, three, five and seven will be presented.
Used in a two-fold scheme, the most important centers are the top and bottom-most, the Sahasrara and the Muladhara. Between these two centers runs an Imaginal channel physically corresponding to the spine called the Sushumna. The other five primary Chakras are often (but not always) visualized as positioned along it. The idea is to charge the top and bottom points of this column as a polarity, so as to cause energy to fow along it, generally from the bottom up. The Muladhara is therefore posited as Hadit and the Sahasrara as Nuit.
In the simplest form of this exercise one simply concentrates awareness at the base of the spine and allows it to fow up and out the top of the head. At first this will be an exercise in visualization, but as concentration increases other results will follow. Often, a kind of expansion and increase in concentration of consciousness will occur as the attention fows out the top of the body. Several more advanced versions of this kind of exercise are described by Crowley in Liber HHH, section SSS, not here given.
As a threefold set, the Chakras can be used to represent the trinity in its various forms. One of the best methods for achieving this comes from the Buddhist Tantric tradition, or Vajrayana. That tradition bases much of its ritual technology on a Trinitarian correspondence set called the Triratna, or triple jewel, consisting of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The Buddha is the archetype of any enlightened being, the Dharma is the teaching that leads to enlightenment and the Sangha is the religious community that puts that teaching into practice. The Buddha (or any enlightened being) is said to have three bodies, each of which aligns with an element of the Triratna. The Nirmanakaya, or Emanation Body is the physical, perceptible body of the Buddha, corresponding to the Sangha. The Enjoyment Body or Sambhogakaya of the Buddha is her astral body of light, consisting of her 'speech' or energy and corresponding to the Dharma. The Dharmakaya or Truth Body is that aspect of the Buddha which is united with the ground of being itself. It is said to be the mind of the Buddha, and corresponds in the Triratna to the Buddha themselves.
It is a doctrine of Vajrayana that these three bodies are purified or exalted forms of three aspects of existence already possessed by all sentient beings. In the Western alchemical tradition these are body, soul and spirit, which in turn correspond to the three mother letters of the Kabbalah. One further key is needed to create a full symbolic terrain for ritual use, which is that these three principles are assigned by the Tantras to three of the upper Chakras and to three bijas or seed mantras. All of this information is summarized on the following chart.
|Buddha Mind||Dharma Speech/Energy||Sangha Body|
|Truth Body||Enjoyment Body||Emanation Body|
|Spirit — Mercury||Soul — Sulphur||Body — Salt|
|Aleph — Air||Shin — Fire||Mem — Water|
One ritual use of these correspondences is to receive spiritual empowerment from deities. The method is simple but powerful. By whatever magical or mystical means available actively invoke the presence of some god representative of the Great Work into their image, be this a mental or physical iconic representation. Ideally, the image should be directly in front and slightly elevated above oneself.
Vibrate the word "ALEPH". As you do so, visualize a yellow letter Aleph appearing at the heart of the deity. Vibrate the word "SHIN". As you do so, visualize a red letter Shin appearing at the throat of the deity. Vibrate the word "MEM". As you do so, visualize a blue letter Mem appearing at the Ajna Chakra of the god-form.
Sound the syllable "OM". Simultaneously, visualize a blue ray of light shining from the Ajna of the deity to your own Ajna. A blue letter Mem appears there. As it does so understand your physical body and subconsciousness to be infused with spiritual light. Sound the syllable "AH". Simultaneously, visualize a red ray of light shine from the Vishuddhi of the deity to your own Vishuddhi. A red letter Shin appears there. As it does so, understand your subtle energy body and ego consciousness to be infused with spiritual light. Sound the syllable "HUNG". Simultaneously, visualize a yellow ray of light shine from the heart of the god-form to your own heart. A yellow Aleph appears there. As it does so, understand your links to the highest reality, your superconsciousness, to be infused with spiritual light.
There is also a method of using this technique to receive empowerment directly from the Stele of Revealing itself, the eidolon of the Thelemic Gnosis. To make this work, the fundamental Thelemic trinity of Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit are assigned to the three mother letters based upon their characteristics. Ra-Hoor-Khuit is the Hierophant, stand-in for the Holy Guardian Angel and quintessence of opposites. He therefore functions as Mercury, Spirit and Aleph. Hadit as the innermost self is Sulpher, the Soul, and Shin. Nuit as outer reality and experience is Salt, the Body and Mem. These correspondences are for within the context of this ritual and should not be considered as supplying exhaustive descriptions of the Thelemic trinity.
Look at the Stele of Revealing. Say: "The unveiling of the company of heaven." [AL I: 2] Vibrate the word "ALEPH". As you do so visualize a yellow letter Aleph appearing within the solar disk crowning the image of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. Attempt to realize, as much as possible, awareness of the presence of this god through the medium of the stele image.
Vibrate the word "SHIN". As you do so visualize a red letter Shin appearing within the central solar disk of the image of Hadit upon the stele. Attempt to realize, as much as possible, awareness of the presence of this god through the medium of the stele image.
Vibrate the word "MEM". As you do so visualize a blue letter Mem appearing within the heart of the image of Nuit upon the Stele. Attempt to realize, as much as possible, awareness of the presence of this god through the medium of the stele image.
Vibrate the mantra "OM". As you do so visualize a ray of blue light come from the Mem at Nuit's heart to your Ajna Chakra. A blue letter Mem appears there. As it does so understand your physical body and subconsciousness to be infused with spiritual light.
Vibrate the mantra "AH". As you do so visualize a ray of red light come from the Shin in Hadit's central disk to your Vishuddhi Chakra. A red letter Shin appears there. As it does so, understand your subtle energy body and ego consciousness to be infused with spiritual light.
Vibrate the mantra "HUNG". As you do so visualize a ray of yellow light come from the Aleph in Ra-Hoor-Khuit's solar crown to your heart center. A yellow Aleph appears there. As it does so, understand your links to the highest reality, your superconsciousness, to be infused with spiritual light.
The standard method for using the Chakras in a five-fold set is the ritual of the Middle Pillar. This technique does not derive from the original 19th century Golden Dawn. Rather, it was developed within the Stella Mautina, an offshoot of the original Order by Doctor R. W. Felkin, who believed that he had channeled the ritual from the Secret Chiefs. It first gained widespread notice through the writings of Israel Regardie, and has since become a standard exercise. Its basic conception is to take the five Sephirah lying along the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life and align these with five of the Chakras. Energy is then drawn down the Middle Pillar from Kether through the use of the God-names of the Sephiroth, simultaneously passing through the body of the magician and charging their aura. The ritual is especially useful as an invocation of a general balanced spiritual force directly into the magician, either for its own sake, or to be channeled for other ritual purposes. There is also an elemental attribution to the five centers used in this ritual which is not part of the original Felkin material, but which can be used to derive additional meaning from the ritual's structure. This information is summarized in the following chart.
To perform the Middle Pillar, either stand upright in the Wand posture or be seated in one's Asana. Many people find standing to be superior. In either case make sure that the spine is erect and vertical. Take a minute or two to establish a four fold breathing pattern, calming and relaxing the body and mind. Now, visualize as strongly as possible a sphere of blinding white light situated about six inches directly above the crown of the head. Establish this by vibrating the God-name of Kether EHEIEH (E-hay-yay) several times. Visualize a column of white light descend from the sphere down through the center of the body to the throat where a second sphere of light forms. Vibrate YHVH ELOHIM (Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh El-oh-heem) a number of times. Again the white light descends to the heart center, where it forms a sphere. Vibrate IAO (ee-ah-oh) a few times. The light descends once more to the genital region and forms a sphere of white light. Vibrate SHADDAI EL-CHAI (Shad-eye el-khi) until this is well established. Finally, the light descends again. If standing, it goes down through the legs and forms a sphere at the base of the feet. If seated, the light descends vertically from the previous center and forms a sphere roughly at the perineum. Make sure that the two final spheres of light are fully differentiated and do not overlap or become conflated in the visualizations. When the lowest sphere of light is established, vibrate ADONAI HA-ARETZ (Ad-oh-nye ha-ere-etz) several times. Spend a few moments to review the features of the full visualization, then a few minutes to circulate this Imaginal light throughout the personal aura in time with the 4 fold breath. With each inhalation and exhalation send the light up the spine and circling around the outside of the body in a clockwise direction. Finally, concentrate some of the distributed light in the heart center.
There is a Thelemic variant of the Middle Pillar, in which the elemental attributions are used in a more explicit manner. It was developed jointly in 1997 by the author and the late Ebony Anpu. A different aspect of the god Horus is visualized at each point. The basic information is summarized in the following chart.
Either standing or seated in one's Asana, begin by visualizing a vast field of stars above the head. Direct attention to the one star, brighter than all the others, and silver in color, that lies vertically at the exact zenith of the star field, along the line of the spine, at the limits of the universe. This star detaches itself from its position and descends downwards from an infinite distance to come to rest at the crown of the head. As it does so it takes the form of a winged golden globe with feathers of purple and green. Vibrate the name HADIT three times while holding this visualization.
The winged globe shrinks to only a few inches across and moves downwards through the body until it reaches the Vishuddhi Chakra. It transforms itself at the level of the throat into a falcon flying through a vast expanse of sky. Visualize this clearly while vibrating the name HORUS three times.
The winged disk reappears and descends to the level of the heart where it takes the form of the flaming disk of the Sun. Vibrate the name RA-HOOR-KHUIT three times.
The winged disk then moves downwards to the Svadisthana. Visualize it becoming an unborn infant within a blue egg, washed about beneath an infinite sea. Vibrate the name HARPOCRATES three times. Finally, the winged globe comes to rest at the Muladhara. It takes the form of the throned figure of Set. His throne is set upon a flaming globe of black fire. Vibrate the name SET-RA three times. The winged globe then rises to the heart, equilibrating the generated energy there in the form of a brilliant white letter Aleph. To conclude say:
"Through the midnight thou art dropt, O my child, my conqueror, my sword-girt captain, O Hoor! And they shall find thee as a black gnarl'd glittering stone, and they shall worship thee." [Liber 65, chapter 5, verse 6]
In this version of the Middle Pillar Hadit is assigned to the Sahasrara and the element of Spirit, the Kether of the Tree of Life of a particular individual. It is that aspect of our being in virtue of which we are 'the hidden god'. This is not some modification of the physical elements: Fire, Air, Water or Earth. Rather, it is the Spirit throned within, the Shin descended into YHVH. This is symbolized in the exercise through the spatial analogy of Hadit descending from its seat in the Sahasrara to spread itself over the other Chakras, assuming different guises at each station it passes through. This process is akin to that described in the Lurianic system: the descent of the fertilizing Yod into the void, creating the universe.
At the Vishuddhi Chakra is located the Sephirah Da'ath, which means Knowledge. This is the (false) crown of the Ruach. The Ruach as a whole corresponds to the element of Air, and this is therefore also the elemental correspondence of this point. Air is represented by the Vav in Tetragrammaton, the Son. In this ritual this is Horus the younger, the son of Osiris. His physical incarnation is the Pharaoh, the living God-King. As the king is triumphant over chaos in his upholding of Ma'at, Horus is set over the Da'ath center to show the power of this viceroy of the Supernals over the Abyss.
Ra-Hoor-Khuit is Horus in his form as Ra, the Sun. The Sun is associated with Tiphareth and with the Anahatta Chakra. The Sun is a center of fire and energy, and so this center is associated with the element of Fire.
Yesod possesses a feminine, reproductive and generative aspect, shown by its Sephirotic correspondence to the Moon. In this ritual, this is represented by Harpocrates, the infant form of Horus, and by the correspondence with the element of water. Set, in the Thelemic tradition, is the God of material manifestation, and is therefore placed at the Muladhara Chakra and the Sephirah Malkuth. This center is therefore also associated with the element of Earth.
Set is the twin brother of Horus, representing in Jungian terms his Shadow aspect. Set-Ra, if lettered in Hebrew as Samekh Heh Tav — Resh Aleph (סהתh ־ רא) adds to 666 by Gematria. The compound god Set-Ra also contains the idea of what the Alchemists called the Nigredo stage of the Great Work. This consists in the dissolving of material into a dark stage (Set) in order to purify it to a higher grade of being hidden within it (Ra). Ra is the last God-name vibrated, so that just as the energy from Kether reaches the bottommost point of manifestation in Malkuth, it shoots itself back upwards to equilibrate at the Anahatta.
Finally there are methods of working with all seven Chakras together. As a set of seven, the Chakras correspond to the planets. There are several valid systems of attribution. Three possible systems are outlined in the chart below. The first is the system of Paul Foster Case, which is based upon his intuitive contemplation of the attributes of the Chakras. It has significant merits, but is unfortunately not well known. The second set of correspondences is what I call the Chaldean system. Often used in modern popular texts, it simply ranks the planets in order of their visible or apparent speed and, following the Ptolemaic logic that the faster planets are magically closer, stacks them onto the Chakras with the fastest at the bottom and the slowest on the top. This is the same order as on the Tree of Life, and for this reason those with familiarity with that diagram will find that this order does give a sense of progression or building of energy. Its disadvantage is that, as this is the only logic for the assignment of planets to Chakras, one may find oneself at a loss as to deeper associations. The third system is an example of an Indian system of attribution. This particular set of assignments comes from Harish Johari's book Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation. This popular book has itself become something of a source text and its system is occasionally encountered.
|Chakra||P. F. Case||Chaldean||H. Johari|
One method of working with these kinds of correspondences is to perform a kind of Chakra empowerment which one person can give another. Lay on hands at each body center simultaneously visualizing it suffused with unblocked flowing energy while an invocation is said to generate a balancing of the Chakra's energy. The following sample invocations were written by Ebony Anpu and are susceptible to improvisation, being only intended as guides rather than as fixed rubrics. They assign various Egyptian gods to the Chakras, based on the Johari correspondences in the following manner:
The invocations are:
Muladhara: Thy Muladhara is under the protection of Horus, the crowned and conquering child — god of this aeon. The bright red flame. The tower. The army of the Men of Earth. The ability to take those things away from oneself that one wishes to banish. The art of war. Thy Muladhara is under the protection of Horus.
Svadisthana: Thy Svadisthana is under the protection of Tahuti. Tahuti, the moon in its fullness. Tahuti, the magician and the exorcist. Tahuti, utterer of the words of creation from Ra.
Manipura: Thy Manipura is under the protection of Ra. The center of balance in the body. The center of balance in the solar system. Thy center is the center of the solar system. As above, so below. As it is with the Sun and Ra, so it is with this person. Thou art centered. Thy Manipura is under the protection of Ra.
Anahatta: Thy Anahatta chakra is under the protection of Hathor, the goddess of love. The goddess of love protects the heart of this individual. Hathor, the cow of heaven, whose pillars are the four directions. Whose legs are the four children of Horus. Hapi, Kebekhsenuf, Imset, and Duamutef. Thy heart is under the protection of Hathor, the house and home of Horus.
Vishuddhi: Thy Vishuddhi chakra is under the protection of Amon. Amon, the hidden god. Amon, master of Thebes. Amon, to whom the largest religious edifice ever created was dedicated.
Ajna: Thy Ajna is under the protection of Set, the god who sees in the darkness, the god of the starry realm. May this person see in the darkness as Set sees in the darkness. Token erect of thorny thigh. Thy Ajna is under the protection of Set.
Sahasara: Thy Sahasara is under the protection of Nuit. The goddess of infinite space and the infinite stars thereof. Mother of all of the deities under heaven.
There are few aspects of the Eastern mystical tradition that have captured the Western imagination as much as the Chakras. This chapter has only touched on the many magical applications of the system.
One ritual unique to the Thelemic tradition that integrates the symbolism of the Chakras with much of the material already discussed in this book is Liber 5 vel Reguli. The number of this ritual is five for the Pentagram, and the ritual follows much the same basic form of the Pentagram rituals discussed earlier. Several symbolic expansions have been made in order to bring out explicitly Thelemic themes, therefore it is said to be, "an incantation proper to invoke the energies of the Aeon of Horus." Reguli is also perhaps the most 'Satanic' of the spiritual exercises of Thelema, provided this provocative but in itself almost meaningless term is understood properly within the context of the ritual.
'Reguli' in the title refers to the star Alpha Leonis or Regulus, which is the brightest star in the constellation of Leo, opposite Aquarius in the Zodiac. These two signs form an axis representing aspects of the expression of the energy of the Aeon of Horus, as the Sun lies in these signs on alternating Equinoxes during the astrological Age of Aquarius, which is associated with the Aeon of Horus. In this ritual Leo is Hadit and Aquarius Nuit. Additionally, Leo as the fixed sign associated with fire also represents the aspiration and True Will of the magician.
The ritual itself is as follows:
Liber 5 vel Reguli
A∴A∴ publication in Class D. Being the Ritual of the Mark of the Beast; an incantation proper to invoke the Energies of the Aeon of Horus, adapted for the daily use of the Magician of whatever grade.
THE FIRST GESTURE
The Oath of the Enchantment, which is called the Elevenfold Seal.
The Animadversion towards the Aeon.
- Let the Magician, robed and armed as he may deem to be fit, turn his face towards Boleskine, that is the House of The Beast 666.
- Let him strike the battery 1-3-3-3-1.
- Let him put the Thumb of his right hand between its index and medius, and make the gestures hereafter following.
The Vertical Component of the Enchantment.
- Let him describe a circle about his head, crying NUITH! [or NUIT — ed.]
- Let him draw the Thumb vertically downward, and touch the root of his phallus, crying HADITH! [or HADIT — ed.]
- Let him, retracing the line, touch the center of his breast, and cry RA-HOOR-KHUIT!
The Horizontal Components of the Enchantment.
- Let him touch the Center of his Forehead, his mouth, and his larynx, crying AIWAZ!
- Let him draw his Thumb from right to left across his face at the level of the nostrils.
- Let him touch the Center of his Breast, and his Solar Plexus, crying THERION!
- Let him draw his Thumb from left to right across his breast, at the level of the sternum.
- Let him touch his Navel, and the Root of his Phallus, crying BABALON!
- Let him draw his Thumb from right to left across his abdomen, at the level of the hips.
[Thus shall he formulate the Sigil of the Grand Hierophant, but dependent from the Circle.]
The Asseveration of the Spells.
- Let the Magician clasp his hands upon his Wand, his fingers and thumbs interlaced, crying LAShTAL: THELEMA: FIAOF: AGAPE: AUMGN.
[Thus shall be declared the Words of Power whereby the Energies of the Aeon of Horus work his Will in the world.]
The Proclamation of the Accomplishment.
- Let the Magician strike the Battery: 3-5-3, crying ABRAHADABRA.
THE SECOND GESTURE
- Let the Magician, still facing Boleskine, advance to the circumference of his Circle.
- Let him turn himself towards the left, and pace with the stealth and swiftness of a tiger the precincts of his circle, until he completes one revolution thereof.
- Let him give the Sign of Horus (or the Enterer) as he passeth, so to project the Force that radiateth from Boleskine before him.
- Let him pace his Path until he comes to the North; there let him halt, and turn his face to the North.
- Let him trace with his wand the Averse Pentagram proper to invoke Air (Aquarius).
- Let him bring the Wand to the center of the Pentagram and call upon Nuith!
- Let him make the sign called Puella, standing with feet together, head bowed, his left hand shielding his phallus, and his right hand shielding his breast (attitude of the Venus de Medici).
- Let him turn again to the left, and pursue his Path as before, projecting the Force from Boleskine as he passeth; let him halt when he next cometh to the South, and face outward.
- Let him trace the Averse Pentagram that invoketh Fire (Leo).
- Let him point his Wand to the Center of the Pentagram, and cry HADITH!
- Let him give the Sign Puer, standing with feet together, and head erect. Let his right hand [the thumb between index and medius] be raised, the forearm vertical at a right angle with the upper arm, which is horizontally extended in the line joining the shoulders. Let his left hand, the thumb extended forwards, and the fingers clenched, rest at the junction of the thighs [attitude of the Gods Mentu, Khem, etc.].
- Let him proceed as before; then in the East, let him make the Averse Pentagram that invoketh Earth (Taurus).
- Let him point his Wand to the Center of the Pentagram, and cry THERION!
- Let him give the sign called Vir, the feet being together. The hands, with clenched fingers and thumbs thrust out forwards, are held to the temples; the head is then bowed and pushed out, as if to symbolize the butting of an horned beast (attitude of Pan, Bacchus, etc.) (Frontispiece, Eqx. I-III).
- Proceeding as before, let him make in the West the Averse Pentagram whereby Water is invoked.
- Pointing the Wand to the Center of the Pentagram, let him call upon BABALON!
- Let him give the sign Mulier. The Feet are widely separated, and the arms raised so as to suggest a crescent. The head is thrown back [attitude of Baphomet, Isis in Welcome, the Microcosm of Vitruivius]. (See Book 4, Part II.)
- Let him break into the dance, tracing a centripedal spiral widdershins, enriched by revolutions upon his axis as he passeth each quarter, until he come to the center of the circle. There let him halt, facing Boleskine.
- Let him raise the Wand, trace the Mark of the Beast, and cry AIWAZ!
- Let him trace the Invoking Hexagram of the Beast.
- Let him lower the Wand, striking the Earth therewith.
- Let him give the sign of Mater Triumphans [The feet are together; the left arm curled as if it supported a child; the thumb and index of the right hand pinch the nipple of the left breast, as if offering it to that child]. Let him utter the word THELEMA!
- Perform the Spiral Dance, moving deosil and whirling widdershins. Each time on passing the West extend the Wand to the Quarter in question, and bow:
- Before me the powers of LA! [to West].
- Behind me the powers of AL! [to East].
- On my right hand the powers of LA! [to North].
- On my left hand the powers of AL! [to South].
- Above me the powers of ShT! [leaping in the air].
- Beneath me the powers of ShT! [striking the ground].
- Within me the powers! [in the attitude of Ptah erect, the feet together, the hands clasped upon the vertical Wand].
- About me flames my Father's Face, the Star of Force and Fire.
- And in the Column stands His six-rayed Splendour!
[This dance may be omitted, and the whole Utterance chanted in the attitude of Ptah.]
THE FINAL GESTURE
This is identical with the First Gesture.
The ritual begins with the magician facing Boleskine, Crowley's house at Loch Ness in Scotland. These instructions are inspired by Islam, where all worshippers turn towards the Ka'aba at Mecca to pray. Crowley interpreted certain passages of The Book of the Law to imply that Boleskine was to fulfill a similar function in the Thelemic tradition. The temple in Liber 15: the Gnostic Catholic Mass is also faced towards Boleskine in this manner.
The bell is rung 1-3-3-3-1 to signal the start of the ritual. This gives eleven total rings of the bell. Eleven is the number symbolic of Magick in the Thelemic tradition. Magicians who might find themselves performing Reguli without their regular tools and implements can substitute clapping their hands at this point with good effect.
The thumb is placed between the index and middle finger when making various of the hand motions. This Thelemic mudra originates from folk custom in Italy, where it is an obscene gesture indicating sexual congress.
The first and final parts of the ritual are called the elevenfold seal and are expanded versions of the Kabbalistic Cross serving the same basic structural and symbolic function as in the Pentagram rituals. This involves the magician drawing a current of magical energy down from the axis mundi through their body. This is then equilibrated within the personal aura through the use of the Chakras and various associated Thelemic God-Names. This microcosmic energy will then be directed outward into equilibration with the macrocosm of the four quarters and the circle of the temple.
The first motion of the gesture posits Nuit as the Sahasrara, and Hadit as the Muladhara. Ra-Hoor-Khuit is in the heart, the place where the relative and absolute meet in Imaginal embrace. Aiwass is associated with the Ajna and Vishuddhi to represent speech and true sight. Therion relates in this ritual to the Sun center, the center of the body and to the Anahata and Manipura Chakras. Finally, Babalon corresponds to the Svadisthana and Muladhara Chakras, representing her identity with the sexual force as well as Kundalini itself — the root energy of the body and of the universe.
In this ritual, the location of the Svadhisthana is taken as the navel, and the Muladhara the root of the phallus. Women should touch a corresponding area.
Three crossbars are drawn across the body simultaneously with the vertical Chakra activation. These function to define the full Tree of Life on the physical body as in this figure:
This shape is also that of a three armed cross which in certain schools of Western symbolism is the shape of the scepter of the Hierophant of the mysteries. This is shown, for example, on the Hierophant card in the Rider Waite Tarot deck. This particular cross is associated by Hermetic tradition with the Templars. The name of this portion of the ritual as the elevenfold seal may derive from the eleven points of this cross.
This arrangement from top to bottom also provides one interpretation of the battery 1-3-3-3-1 which begins the ritual.
The fingers are then interlaced around the wand in an act of identification with the principle it represents and a series of Thelemic words of power are recited. These are: LASHTAL, THELEMA, FIAOF, AGAPE, and AUMGN. All of these words add to 93, the key Thelemic number. (AUMGN adds to 100, but contains within it the number 93, as explained below.) Thelema and Agape are Greek for will and love. The other three words are Kabbalistic formulae, constructed out of the correspondences of the Hebrew alphabet. Their meanings are discussed in Magick in Theory and Practice. The descriptions provided here are based on this text, but also include my own reflections.
LASHTAL is the key formula of Reguli. It has three components.
LA (Lamed Aleph, לא), meaning naught or nothing. It adds to 31 and represents the Absolute in its passive phase.
AL (Aleph Lamed, אל) or 'El', a name of God adding to 31. It represents the Absolute in its active phase and is the formal title of The Book of the Law.
ShT (Shin Teth, סhת) Set the god of materiality, also shit or feces, but also adding to 31, therefore shown as non-dual with the all and nothing of AL/LA. Shin is Spirit, and Teth the expression of Spirit through the union of opposites on all planes. Shin is also the Aeon in Tarot, which depicts Nuit and Hadit, the Macrocosmic correlates of the Microcosmic Babalon and Therion depicted on the Lust Trump. These four deities are placed about the magician at the quarters in Reguli. ShT is foremost a formula of Supreme Divinity, for it includes not just the formless Spirit (Shin), but form and formless conjoined as non-dual unity (Teth). About it, as further extensions of itself, are the formulae LA and AL, passive and active modulations of the divine Unity. In Reguli, these are corresponded to the passive and active Gods of the quarters while ShT is assigned to the central axis of Spirit extending both above and below.
The formula of LASHTAL as a whole adds to 93.
FIAOF is a variant of the IAO formula, developed by Crowley in 1921 and incorporating two silent Vavs surrounding the central IAO. It adds to 93 and expresses aspects of the path of initiation in the aeon of Horus.
Vav the Hierophant is ultimately the Holy Guardian Angel. This is Vav the Son of Tetragrammaton. Its number is 6, Tiphareth or the Sun. This is the essential divine Star-Self of the initiate. To express itself it begins by incarnating, as represented by the inseminating Yod. Born and achieving experience it becomes the androgenous Harpocrates, the pure Fool (Aleph) wandering about the Earth. He is completely enlightened, yet seems, even at times to himself, to suffer all kinds of misadventure only to emerge unscathed. Finally, the Fool matures into that which is represented by the Devil (Ayin). This is Baphomet and Set, the pure non-dual High God which is matter and spirit as One. This accomplishment causes the re-emergence of the essential Self, represented again by Vav the Hierophant. This shows that the True Self has been unaffected in its original nature by its adventures, but has merely magnified its own essence.
All of the central 3 cards are androgynous and/or bisexual. Other versions of IAO portray it as a kind of family. Here it is explicit that there is only the One Self that generates itself as its own progeny.
This is also an illustration of the myth of Horus from a Thelemic perspective.
AUMGN is a Thelemic variant of the Hindu Pranava, typically transliterated into English as 'Aum' or 'Om'. AUMGN is an extension of the root AUM formula to create a similarity with the Hebrew 'Amen'. It is spoken or vibrated with the 'G' silent and the 'N' vocalized as an almost silent nasal termination of the 'M' sound.
The suffix MGN, which adds to the key Thelemic number 93, serves as a symbolic extension and elaboration of the final 'M' of the Pranava. AUM is triadic in form. MGN internally replicates and comments upon aspects of that structure. MGN itself has three letters. G is Gimel, which adds to 3 via Gematria. The symbolism of the associated Tarot trump, the Priestess, also relates on several levels to Sephirah 3, Binah, the Great Mother. N or Nun is Death, corresponding to Scorpio, which also has a triadic form in its three octaves of Eagle, Snake and Scorpion.
AUMGN has a basic threefold structure. 'A' is Aleph, the Absolute Self. 'U' or Vau represents, as in the FIAOF formula above, the mediate, Briatic, or Higher Self, emanated or reflected from 'A'. This in turn emanates 'M', the phenomenal or ego self. This phenomenal self then expresses the previous, as in the FIAOF formula, through a cycle of incarnations ('G', represented by the phases of the moon) and an ongoing dialectical process of change and transformation ('N').
The AUMGN formula also symbolizes the 3 colleges of A∴A∴. 'A' corresponds to the Hermits, the A∴A∴ or Absolute itself. 'V' is the Hierophant, representing the Holy Guardian Angel whose Knowledge and Conversation is achieved by the Adepts of the Order R.C., or Lovers. 'M' is the Men of Earth of the Outer College of the Golden Dawn. The Hanged Man, which corresponds to this letter, makes the shape of the cross and triangle which is the symbol of the G.D. 'G' is the path of ascent along Gimel to advance from the Order R.C. to that of the A∴A∴. 'N' as the Tarot Atu Death represents the method whereby progress from the Order G.D. to R.C. is achieved.
AUMGN adds to 100. Crowley notes that this "expresses the unity under the form of complete manifestation." By a Kabbalistic technique of dropping zeros known as Aiq Bakr, 100 reduces to 1, the number of Kether. 100 is 10 squared, or Malkuth multiplied by itself. Finally, if each Sephirah is seen as containing a full Tree of Life within it, then 100 is the total number of Sephirah in this expanded Tree of "complete manifestation".
After these words are recited the bell is rung 3-5-3, signifying the principle of the Pentagram supported by the trinity, disclosing the number 11, the number of Magick. The 11 lettered word ABRAHADABRA is then declared, completing the opening gesture.
Said to be the Word of the Aeon and of the Great Work. Discovered by Crowley in the 1890s as a variant of the older ABRACADABRA formula. ABRAHADABRA adds to 418, which is the value of Cheth spelled in full. Cheth is the chariot, whose rider represents the Holy Guardian Angel. The older source of this symbolism is the Bhagavad Gita where the chariot of Krishna represents the body and its world and the charioteer Krishna is the divine Self or Atman.
ABRAHADABRA divides into 3 components. ABRA-HAD-ABRA. 'HAD' is a form of Hadit, the inmost divine Self. 'ABRA' is the universe experienced by 'HAD', appearing in the form of duality, as does all manifest existence. The Self is surrounded fully by this universe, it flanks it on both sides. Both sides are the same, showing that the duality and multiplicity of reality is an illusion created by modifications of a more fundamental unity.
This fundamental unity is represented in its most absolute phase by Aleph, the Fool. Aleph is at the center of 'HAD' as well as of the Word as a whole, showing that the absolute can be found inwardly, at the center of the self. Alephs also flank each 'ABRA', showing that the outer universe is also an expression of the same absolute as the Self, but here found outwardly, at the limit of space. ABRA is therefore a form of Nuit. There are five total Alephs, representing the four elements crowned by Spirit (the centermost Aleph). These are the five points of the Pentagram of Magick. Five is also the value of Heh, corresponding to The Star in Tarot.
The central Aleph of 'HAD' is surrounded by the letter Heh 'The Star' and the letter Daleth 'The Empress'. This shows that the Absolute (Aleph) is manifested most clearly as a Star and as the Holy Guardian Angel. As it is written: "Every man and every woman is a star." [AL I: 3] Also, the path of Daleth represents the Holy Guardian Angel as described by Aiwass in The Vision and the Voice, vision of the 8th Aether:
"For my name is called Aiwass … and I am the infuence of the Concealed One … and that Gate is the Path that joineth the Wisdom with the Understanding. Thus hast thou erred indeed, perceiving me in the path that leadeth from the Crown unto the Beauty. For that path bridgeth the abyss, and I am of the Supernals."
Aleph is Kether, Heh Chokmah, and Daleth Binah. Each 'ABRA' includes within it the letters Beth, the Magus, and Resh, the Sun. This expresses that the absolute, in its outer phase, manifests as and through spatio-temporal extension (Beth meaning container or house) and as the energy, spiritual and material, within that extension from which matter is built up. Beth as the Magus also represents the principle of the directing of that energy by the magician or other powers.
There are eleven total letters in this word, eleven being the number of Magick and of Nuit. It is called the word of double power, because it shows the formula of balanced manifestation of the divine absolute through the world of polarity and duality. It demonstrates the unity of the universal and the particular. It is a symbol of the perfected magical universe of the master, and of the means of transforming one's perceptions into this state. It is a symbol of the Great Work.
Having completed the first portion of the ritual, the magician now invokes the forces of the Aeon of Horus by moving in a counterclockwise direction around the circumference of the circle. This is contrary to the usual rule, which is that clockwise circumambulation invokes. Crowley notes with regard to this in Magick in Theory and Practice:
"Certain forces of the most formidable character may be invoked by circumambulation Widdershins when it is executed with intent towards them, and the initiated technique. Of such forces Typhon is the type, and the war of the Titans against the Olympians the legend. (Teitan, Titan, has in Greek the numerical value of 666.)"
There is also a related explanation, which is that this is a type of antinomian (literally 'against the norm') practice. Any ritual or cultural pattern or norm when violated, desecrated or reversed in the proper manner can generate spiritual energy and liberation. An example applicable to Reguli is in Tibet, where Buddhists circumambulate sacred sites clockwise. The adherents of the rival Bon religion circle the exact same sites counterclockwise. Likewise, in Lavey Satanism the magician faces West and turns widdershins to invoke the infernal powers for reasons much the same as in Reguli. (Reguli may itself be a source text for ritual technique in The Satanic Bible.)
In Reguli the magician is attempting to generate a force against the restriction of the True Will. This force can only be seen as 'evil' by that which is aligned with the restriction — including aspects of the magician's own psyche. Therefore Reguli summons the energy of the 'devil' in his guise as light bringer; eidolon of a force potent to empower the True Will and destroy all in opposition to it. Siva serves a parallel function in the Hindu Tantras. See also the formulae of LASHTAL and FIAOF above.
The magician circumambulates roughly three times. While doing so averse or upside down Pentagrams are drawn at the four quarters, corresponding to four principal Thelemic deities. The basic alignment is the same as in the Star Ruby. The four elements and the four fixed signs of the zodiac are corresponded to the gods of the quarters, the appropriate signs of NOX being given before them. (See chapter 7 for a full discussion of the signs of NOX.)
If we look at these signs as they are placed along the circle of the zodiac, vis a vis the circumference of the circle we discover an interesting fact. In this ritual the zodiac is inverted with regard to the ritual space.
Normal zodiac in heavens:
WATER () N S EARTH ()
Circle of zodiac in Reguli:
AIR () N S FIRE ()
The reason for this relates to the upside down Pentagrams. Basically, the Pentagrams are only upside down from the perspective of the magician. From the perspective of the zodiacal universe within the ritual space they are right side up. From this symbolism the concept is implied that that which appears evil or reversed or bad is always based upon the context of a particular perspective. In other contexts it may be good or appropriate. Ethics is context dependent. This doesn't mean that ethics is invalid, but it is context dependent.
If the temple in Reguli is inverted with regard to the magical universe it also means that the widdershins circumambulation is also correct with regard to the Sun's movement in the zodiac. This may be part of the 'initiated technique' that Crowley so cryptically alludes to above.
Returning to the center facing east, the magician makes the sign of the union of opposites, the Mark of the Beast — either some form of the Sun and Moon conjoined or the cross and circle conjoined. The unicursal Hexagram is also drawn. The sign of Mater Triumphans is also given while saying the word Thelema. This completes the signs of NOX while also showing the birth of awareness of the True Will due to the invocation of the energies of the Aeon.
Finally, the magician faces West, again for antinomian reasons. The formula of LASHTAL is then directly applied to the ritual. AL, God or 'all' is associated with the masculine gods, LA or 'not' to the feminine gods, representing the twin phases of the absolute. Shin Teth is spirit above and below. A certain dance described in the ritual can be applied at this juncture, or for those of a more sanguine disposition, the lines can be delivered facing West, the wand held upright in both hands.
The ritual ends with a repeat of the first gesture of the elevenfold seal.
Ouspensky, P.D., In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt Brace and Company, New York, New York, 1949, pg. 40-44.
Vasu, Srisa Chandra (tr.), The Siva Samhita, Oriental Books Reprint, New Delhi, India, 1979, pg. 16.
The author is indebted to James Eshelman for this model.
Crowley, Aleister, Magick: Book 4, pg. 602-603.
For discussion of these points see Cozort, Daniel, Highest Yoga Tantra.
The author wishes to acknowledge Sam Webster M. Div., whose work combining the Thelemic and Vajrayana traditions inspired this section.
Regardie, Israel, The Golden Dawn, pg. 90-91.
Regardie, Israel, The Middle Pillar, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1985.
Crowley, Aleister, The Holy Books of Thelema, pg. 76.
Case, Paul Foster, The Tarot, pg. 169-170.
Johari, Harish, Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, 1987.
From an audio recording of a public class given at Ancient Ways, Oakland, California, September 1997.
Crowley, Aleister, Magick: Book 4, pg. 573-583.
See also Crowley's own discussion, Ibid, pg. 577-579.
Ibid, pg. 158-165.
Ibid, pg. 170-173.
Crowley, Aleister, The Vision and the Voice: The Equinox Vol. IV #2, pg. 183.
Crowley, Aleister, Magick: Book 4, pg. 196 (footnote).
LaVey, Anton Szandor, The Satanic Bible, Avon Books, New York, New York, 1969, pp. 129-140.