A while back I posted a version of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
for people who want to get into ceremonial magic but aren’t into the Judeo-Christian symbolism of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, on the one hand, or the Druid Revival symbolism of the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn on the other. I’ve heard from a number of people who’ve worked with that ritual and had good results with it. Now it’s time for the next ingredient in basic magical training, the Middle Pillar exercise, adapted for the same purpose.
This is the basic internal energy practice of Golden Dawn magic. It’s meant to waken and energize five energy centers in the subtle body, and then circulate energy through the subtle body as a whole. It’s best done every day, right after the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and right before your daily meditation.
You’re going to need to personalize this rite to work with whatever pantheon of deities you prefer. You’re going to need the names of five deities; you’re also going to need five colors and five symbols.
The default option here, adapted from Israel Regardie’s The Art of True Healing, is to use deities corresponding to the five elements—spirit, air, fire, water, and earth, in that order. In that case the colors are white, yellow, red, blue, and brown, in that order, and the symbols are the sun, a cloud, a flame, a drop of water, and a stone.
That’s the default option, again. You don’t have to use the default option. If your tradition has other symbols for the five elements, you can use them; if it associates the elements with other colors, you can use those.
You can also choose a different and subtler logic for the deities you assign to the energy centers. The first deity can be the supreme deity of your pantheon; the second can be a deity of wisdom and initiation; the third can be a hero deity, a sun deity, or a deity of the hearth; the fourth can be a fertility deity, or a woodland deity, or a deity who’s closely associated with the life force; and the fifth can be a maiden goddess. (Those readers who know their way around The Celtic Golden Dawn now know the logic behind that book’s version of the exercise.)
By the way, in case you were wondering, the names of the deities don’t have to have four letters each. That was just for the pentagram ritual.)
However you do it, work out a suitable table as follows:
Crown center: DEITY 1 COLOR 1 SYMBOL 1
Throat center: DEITY 2 COLOR 2 SYMBOL 2
Heart center: DEITY 3 COLOR 3 SYMBOL 3
Genital center: DEITY 4 COLOR 4 SYMBOL 4
Foot Center: DEITY 5 COLOR 5 SYMBOL 5
In the Druidical GD, these are as follows:
Crown center: Hu White Sun
Throat center: Ced Violet Crescent moon
Heart center: Hesus Golden Cluster of oak leaves
Genital center: Coel/Sul* Silver Red dragon
Foot Center: Olwen Green White trefoil
*There’s a lot of polarity symbolism in Druidical magic, so which deity you invoke at the genital center is determined by which set of physical genitalia you have, Coel if you’ve got male genitals, Sul if you’ve got the female set.
Or let’s say you wanted to do an Anglo-Saxon version, one option might be this:
Crown center: Tiw White Sun
Throat center: Woden Blue Raven
Heart center: Frige Red Spindle
Genital center: Ing Green Sheaf of Barley
Foot Center: Eostre Brown Flowers
Other arrangements could be chosen easily enough; these are just samples. Make your decision and give it a try.
Once you’ve got your table constructed, the exercise is done as follows:
First, perform the complete Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.
Second, imagine a ray of light descending from infinite space to form a sphere of light just above your head, around eight inches in diameter. This sphere is COLOR 1 and contains SYMBOL 1. When you have formulated it clearly in your imagination, vibrate NAME 1 three times.
Third, bring the ray of light to your throat, and form another sphere. This one is COLOR 2 and contains SYMBOL 2. When you have formulated it, vibrate NAME 2 three times.
Fourth, bring the ray of light to your heart, and form a third sphere, which is COLOR 3 and contains SYMBOL 3. NAME 3 is vibrated here three times.
Fifth, bring the ray of light to your genital center, and form a fourth sphere. This one is COLOR 4 and contans SYMBOL 4. NAME 4 is vibrated here three times.
Sixth, bring the ray of light to your feet, and form a fifth center. This one is COLOR 5 and contains SYMBOL 5. The name vibrated here, three times, is NAME 5.
Seventh, return the attention to the center at the top of the head. Bring a current of white light a few inches wide down the right side of the head and neck, the right shoulder and arm, and the right hip and leg, down to the center at the feet, and then back up the left leg and hip, the left arm and shoulder, and the left side of the neck and head, back to the center at the head. Repeat this a total of three times; if possible, synchronize with the breath, so that the energy flows down with the outbreath and up with the inbreath, but it is more important to visualize the whole course than to make it happen within a single breath.
Eighth, in the same way, bring a current of white light from the center above the head, down the midline of the front of the body to the center at the feet, and then back up the midline of the back of the body to the center above the head. Repeat a total of three times.
Ninth, turn the attention to the center at the feet. Breathing in, draw a current of energy up the Middle Pillar of the body from that center to the center above the head; breathing out, allow it to spray like a fountain out and over the whole body, cleansing the entire aura, pooling at the feet and being drawn back up the Middle Pillar with the next inbreath. Do this a total of three times. Tenth, perform the Circle of Presence. This completes the exercise.