ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
[personal profile] ecosophia
Over the years that I've studied and taught occultism, I've heard from a lot of people who are interested in practicing ceremonial magic but don't find the Jewish or Christian religious context of most ceremonial magic appealing. My book The Celtic Golden Dawn was written in part to set out a system of ceremonial magic for people like me who find the Druid Revival traditions to their taste, but of course there are a lot of people out there who go in different directions. The other day, after a lot of brooding and some questions on the blog along these lines, I got to work, drafted a ritual, and field-tested it to work out the bugs. 

To use this ritual you'll need five divine names. One of them is the name of the god or goddess with whom you have a personal relationship. The other are four names taken from the pantheon you worship, each of which has four letters. (Think ZEUS, ISIS, etc.) It's best to have two gods and two goddesses; other than that, and the requirement that each name have four and only four letters, it's up to you.* **

* If you use a sacred alphabet, such as the runes or Ogham, it's four runes or four Ogham fews, whether or not that amounts to four English letters. 

** In the ritual below, the names of the deities will be given as PATRON, GODDESS 1, GOD 1, GODDESS 2, and GOD 2.

Got it? Here's the ritual. 

1. Stand facing east. Raise your hands from your sides in an arc until your palms join above your head, fingers pointing up. Draw your joined hands down to your forehead, visualizing light descending from infinite space to a point above your head, and say, "In the name of..."

Draw your joined hands down to your heart, visualize a ray of light descending from above your head to the center of the earth, and vibrate the name (PATRON). (Vibration? That's the mode of chanting that produces a buzzing or tingling sensation in your body.)

Now separate your hands, and touch your right shoulder with the fingertips of your left hand and your left shoulder with the fingertips of your right hand, the hands crossing at the wrist. Say:" patron god(dess)..."

Now raise the elbows straight up and bring your hands up, out, and down in a circular motion, bringing them back together palm to palm in front of your lower abdomen or groin (depending on your body's proportions). Visualize your fingertips tracing a circle of light. As you do this say: "..I place myself within the circle of Her (or His) presence..."

Now bring the joined hands up to your heart again, fingertips pointing upwards. Visualize the shaft of light descending from infinite space to the center of the earth, the circle of light you drew with your hands, and your heart shining like a sun. Say: "...and protection."

This rite is called the Circle of Presence, and replaces the Qabalistic Cross. 

2. Go to the eastern quarter of the space, and trace a pentagram with the first two fingers of your right hand, beginning with the top point, and tracing counterclockwise to banish. (This is for the banishing ritual; you'd trace clockwise to summon.) Visualize the pentagram drawn in a line of light. Point to the center of the pentagram and vibrate the name (GODDESS 1).

Trace a circle around to the south, draw the pentagram in the same way, point to the center, and vibrate the name (GOD 1).

Repeat to the west, trace the pentagram, and vibrate the name (GODDESS 2).

Repeat to the north, trace the pentagram, and vibrate the name (GOD 2).

Trace the line back around to the east and return to the center.

 3. Say: “Before me the powers of Air; behind me the powers of Water; to my right hand the powers of Fire; to my left hand, the powers of Earth. For about me stand the pentagrams, and upon me shines the blessing of (PATRON).” Visualize the elements in the four directions when you say these words.

4. Repeat the Circle of Presence. This completes the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. 


1. Yes, you can have the gods in east and west and the goddesses in north and south if you wish. It works best to have the gods facing each other and the goddesses facing each other, for the sake of balance. 

2. Yes, you can reference some kind of elemental symbols in the four quarters in part 3 if your tradition has them, e.g., the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danaan, or the four sacred animals we use in Druidry. If not, just use the elements as given. 

3. Yes, I know, the Hermetic GD version of the pentagram ritual traces the pentagram differently. We've done it this way in the Hermetic GD for some years now with excellent results; give it a try and see how you like it. 

4. Why four and only four letters? I have no idea, but it reliably works better that way. 


Date: 2018-01-16 05:02 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

I have attempted the LRM rituals, that is the Qabalistic Cross and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram for several months. I have failed to notice anything particular with me or my immediate surroundings.

So my naive questions are (1) what are we supposed to get out of rituals?
(2) Is it possible that I have carried them out so ineptly that nobody bothers to respond? (3) Has my skeptical nature gotten into the way?
(4) Should I persevere?

Many thanks!

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-16 05:06 am (UTC)
jjensenii: South Park avatar (Default)
From: [personal profile] jjensenii
Maybe it's just too late at night, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what exactly you're saying to do here:

Now raise the elbows straight up and bring your hands up, out, and down in a circular motion, bringing them back together palm to palm in front of your lower abdomen or groin (depending on your body's proportions). Visualize your fingertips tracing a circle of light.

So, after raising my elbows straight up, my hands are still crossed, and I'm in a kind of "I Dream of Jeannie" pose. How do you lift your hands "up" from there is a way that makes — prepares you to make? — a circle?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-16 06:20 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Is this ritual similar to a Grove Opening where one meditates, prays or does a working between the opening and closing portions of the ritual?
Max Rogers

The Occult Book

Date: 2018-01-16 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
No completely unrelated but I was at The British Library last week to see their exhibition on the History of Magic and they had your book, The Occult Book, for sale in the shop there. I was really impressed to see it.

Scotlyn here

Date: 2018-01-16 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hello. I am considering adapting this ritual to use specifically to cleanse my clinic and consecrate it (or if that is too strong a word) dedicate it to healing purposes.

In reading through the ritual, though, I feel I would like to know slightly more about the issue of banishing vs summoning.

For example, in my clinic, I would like to banish energies that might unbalance a person seeking healing, and also to summon energies that might offer help, light, guidance and balance whenever indicated and desired by a person seeking healing here.

Should you make each ritual either a banishing one or a summoning one? or could you combine both "directionalities" into the same ritual? if the second, would you draw each symbol first one way, then the other, or would you complete the circle doing them one way, and then do a new circle doing them the other.

Re: Scotlyn here

Date: 2018-01-16 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you for explaining all of this. Yes, a lot to think about... (and practice).

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-16 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The OBOD rituals don't make use of pentagrams (at least not in the bardic grade), I'm guessing that that is deliberate, do you know or can you imagine why?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-18 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thanks, that was what I was hoping you would say. I've now tried the CGD rituals around the sacred grove and it already feels more powerful.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-16 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'd like to use the local deities, but there's still a lot of bad blood here after Max Freedom Long decided to take his liberties and cash in on it. Huna is still regarded by many as a culturally insensitive act of colonialism and I can see their point. It's like the Romans marketing fake Druid philosophy back home while in the middle of their wars of attrition.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-09 11:41 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hey there JMG. I really appreciate your integrity in this comment of yours. I'm a 35 yr old Male psychologist and musician of European descent, including Irish, Spanish, and German among other lesser influences. I was always fascinated as a child of Native American spirituality, but in my 30s discovered I was appropriating and backed off. I grew up as Christian and left that tradition in my 20s, exploring many spiritual traditions but feeling most closely linked with yoga, ancient tantra, and Druidry (this latter of which I think feels like what I felt when connected to Native American spirituality). The reason for my post is a question. After practicing the LBRP laid out by Kraig in his Modern Magick book, I saw its effectiveness in my life but discovered more and more its basis in old Christian and Judeo systems and felt repulsed that I had been conjuring the religion that I backed off from because of its toxicity in my life and those it truly oppressed. I will never go back to christianity, but feel lost in terms of a magical system because I felt the Kabbalic LBRP really worked but cannot any longer bring myself to call upon YHWH or his archangels because of now seeing him as a toxic archon of sorts. I literally feel turned off from all worship of gods because of this. So I'm wondering if there is an LBRP that does not include devotion to any god, or if I'm kidding myself thinking I can live without devotion to any higher being. I'm feeling drawn to Druidry, have always been, but I am having trouble initiating contact with gods & goddesses that I feel I'd have to give allegiance to when I am so turned off by giving allegiance to anything other than the Pantheistic ALL of love and peace. Let me know what you think. I love your books and blogs and would feel so grateful for your wisdom. Not sure if you do video talks but if so, I'd pay whatever youd need for an hour of your time. Take care and hope to hear from you.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-16 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Can the circle of presence be used on its own, in order to invoke a deity for protection, inspiration or prayer?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-16 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thanks very much for this, JMG!

I have several questions, if you'll indulge me...

(1) When I get to the part of the ritual where it says "Now raise the elbows straight up and bring your hands up, out, and down in a circular motion, bringing them back together palm to palm in front of your lower abdomen or groin...", in what direction should my fingertips be pointing? It seems most natural to me for them to be pointed downward here, in which case when I raise my hands to in front of my heart in what follows ("Now bring the joined hands up to your heart again, fingertips pointing upwards"), I would get there by rotating my hands or forearms, so that the fingers go from pointing down, to pointing forward, to pointing up.

This seems right, since if the fingers were to point up all along, I have a very hard time getting my joined palms to be even as low as my navel. But if you don't mind, could you please clarify?

(2) I've previously noticed the change in the directions for drawing the pentagrams between the Hermetic GD and the Druidic GD (typo in note 3 above, where you write "Hermetic" twice??). Frankly, the Druidic GD method makes much more logical sense to me. Can you say anything about the differences, or how each of the two methods came to be what they are?

(3) Mindful of your warnings about mixing systems of practice, how appropriate would this be for someone who has an established practice using the Sphere of Protection ritual? (In my own case, I'm a few weeks shy of two years with the daily SoP.) I'm not intending for it to supplant or replace the daily SoP, but thinking of using something like this at another time of day, and/or when I feel the need to a more potent banishing than what I get with the SoP.


(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-17 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you! Particularly in regard to (2), that's very illuminating!

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-18 02:02 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Okay, I'm actually still a little perplexed about the different pentagram systems. Everything you've described here lines up nicely with what you've written in the Celtic Golden Dawn book, such that the pentagram starting at the top point and going clockwise is invoking Spirit, and starting at the top and going anticlockwise is banishing Spirit. Likewise for the other four points: start at that point to invoke or banish (clockwise or anticlockwise, respectively) the element associated with that point.

In Circles of Power, however, you give totally different attributions of the pentagrams (diagram 4-9, pages 91-92 in the new 3rd edition). Here, the invoking pentagrams of the four elements start from a different point, and make their first move toward the element being invoked, while the four elemental banishing pentagrams start from the named element, and reverse. (There is NOT, however, the clockwise/anticlockwise association in every case.) As to the two forms each of invoking and banishing Spirit, I'm completely at a loss to explain them. The only systematicity I see here is that within each element, the invoking and banishing pentagrams each begin by tracing the same one of the five lines, but in opposite directions.

So I guess my question is: I get the system in Celtic Golden Dawn, which is straightforward and elegant. Where did the Circles of Power system come from, and is there a method to its madness?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-19 05:35 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Do you think you could use the divine names the Hermetic GD uses, but substitute the DOGD format for the pentagrams? Or would the clashing egregores sour the ritual?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-19 05:13 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Are there other ways the Druidical GD expresses a different attitude towards earth than Hermetic GD, and could you give examples?

(and thank you so much for answering all these questions)


Date: 2018-01-17 10:07 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
In the Shinto pantheon, deity names are either written with Chinese characters, which are generally (but not always) one to two syllables each; or with one of the kana syllabaries, which are always just one syllable per character. I don't know that any of these writing systems would count as a "sacred alphabet".

Given your understanding of the matter, would you say that names with four Chinese characters would do, even in cases that result in lengthy readings? Or does it seem better to stick with four-syllable deity names written in a kana syllabary? Or is it even possible to use a mixture of both?

I suspect your answer may be "I'm really not qualified to answer that, why don't you try it the way that feels right to you", but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask!


(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-18 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If you don't yet have a personal relationship with a god of any kind, is this a good way to get one?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-01-19 01:07 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Why do you use 4 divine names, instead of just one? What is the effect of using a single name, as in the GD elemental pentagram rituals (including the spirit pentagram)?


Date: 2018-01-21 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I've been looking at this for a few days, and trying to work out what to do since I'm not really drawn to gods and goddesses. I've been working out what to do with a rather odd view from the MT about how gods and goddesses actually work. On contemplating this, I went into trance and was showed a bunch of stuff. It wasn't all that clear, but there did seem to be three-letter names in Hebrew that I couldn't quite make out, along with a bunch of symbols.

May say more about the unusual view I have from the MT in the post on egregors, if it seems appropriate.

More contemplation needed.

John Roth

Where to ask questions

Date: 2018-02-06 10:06 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
John, if we have questions about this ritual, would you prefer us to ask them here, or to wait for one of your magic Mondays?

New to all of it.

Date: 2018-11-28 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hello good Sir,

Over the past year or so I've been becoming increasingly interested in developing a daily practice. This series of rituals is appealing and I'd like to start practicing them. The question I have is, my background (barely getting a BA in religion many years ago) and basic prayers are Judao-Christian in orientation, with that in mind, is the GD a fitting place to begin or is there some other tradition that might be more fitting? Recommendation of a first text to dive into?

Still getting my bearing and shaking off the taboo that's baked in.

With humble thanks.



ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)John Michael Greer

April 2019

 12 3456
1415 161718 1920
2122 2324252627

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 25th, 2019 01:49 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios