The Thelemic Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram

  1. The only implement you will need is a small steel dagger or knife. A kitchen knife or letter opener will do, but it should be kept for this and other rituals, and not used for any mundane purposes.  If necesary, the ritual can be done pointing with your index and middle fingers.  Of course, if you have them, a wand or sword or other magical weapon could be used as appropriate
  2. You will be using the Pentagrams of Earth in all four quarters.  They are traced point up; the "invoking" form with the first stroke from the top point to the bottom left point, the "banishing" form with the first stroke in the other direction; the other strokes follow round in sequence.  See the figure below.  As a general rule, in this ritual the Banishing Pentagram only is used; the Lesser Invoking Ritual is not so useful.

    Pentagrams of Earth

  3. Taking the dagger in your right hand, face East and make the Qabalistic Cross as follows:

    Touching your forehead, say ATEH ("thou art")
    Touching the centre of your breast, say AIWASS
    (or the name of your own Holy Guardian Angel if known, or simply pause)1
    Bringing your hand down to groin level, say MALKUTH ("the Kingdom")
    Touching your right shoulder, say VE-GEBURAH ("and the Power")
    Touching your left shoulder, say VE-GEDULAH ("and the Glory")
    Clasping your hands in front of your chest, say LE-OLAM ("unto the Ages")
    With your hands still clasped, turn the dagger point up and say AMEN.

  4. Advance to the East,2 then trace the Pentagram with the point of your dagger (the Pentagrams should be made as large as possible, the top point roughly level with your forehead and the bottom points with your hips; they should be traced the same size in all four quarters).  Bring the point of the dagger to the centre of the Pentagram and vibrate the Deity Name YOD HEH VAU HEH.3
  5. Go round clockwise to the South, keeping your arm extended with the dagger pointing outwards, then trace the Pentagram, bring the point of the dagger back to its centre, and vibrate the Name ADONAI.
  6. Go round to the West, keeping your arm extended as before.  Trace the Pentagram, bring the point of the dagger back to its centre, then vibrate EHEIEH (pron. Eh-hey-yeh).
  7. Go round to the North, keeping your arm extended, then trace the Pentagram and vibrate AGLA.
  8. Go round to the East, with your arm extended, completing a circle joining the centres of all four Pentagrams.  Then return to the centre, face East and extend your arms to your sides in the form of a cross and say:

    BEFORE ME RAPHAEL (pron. Rah-fay-el, "Healing of God")
    (pron. Gah-bray-el, "Strength of God")
    (pron. Mee-kye-el, "who is like unto God")
    (pron. Or-ray-el, "Light of God")

  9. To finish, repeat step (c), the Qabalistic Cross.

When you are familiar with the outward form of this ritual it should be accompanied by suitable visualisations and meditations.  These are beyond the scope of the present brief treatment.



By Aleister Crowley4

You are supposed to be standing at the intersection of the paths of Samekh and Pé.  You are facing Tiphareth (the Sun), thus on your right hand is Netzach (Venus), on your left hand Hod (Mercury),5 and behind you Yesod (the Moon).  You take one step with the right heel in the hollow of the left foot towards Tiphareth and vibrate the Divine Name as given in the ritual.  # You then carry round the point of the Wand towards Netzach, then take a step again (always recovering after each forward step so that you remain in the centre) and vibrating the Divine Name as before.  Continue the process facing Yesod and vibrating; then Hod, and vibrating; but carry the point of the Wand round to Tiphareth so as to complete the circle.  As you vibrate the Divine Names the angels, as given in the ritual, appear, (note well that they should appear and if the ritual is properly performed do appear).

You are thus standing in a Column which is protected by your microcosmic invocation.  The consequent result, being macrocosmic response, is that without any effort on your part the hexagram or sixfold star appears both above and below you.  (Note the equilibration 5 = 6.)  In this way you are completely shut off from the outer and Qliphotic parts of the Universe.  Get well into your mind the realization of this Column with its surrounding pentagrams and its hexagrams above and below you.  Continuous practice is essential if you are to perform this ritual as you should.

It is particularly important not to slur any part of it; to visualize clearly and cleanly the forces invoked, with the exception of the Divine Being, who will not appear, in the ordinary course of events, for such slight cause.  You can figure out for yourself the forms of the angels, or rather archangels.  For instance, Raphael commencing with an "R" will have a head of solar glory, and the Pé which follows shows that the rest of him is Martial: the "Al" which concludes the name (in the case of most angelic beings) indicates that they wield the sword and the balance.6


1: This is the distinguishing feature of the "Thelemic" Lesser Pentagram.  In the version ordinarily taught in the Golden Dawn (as given, for example, in Crowley's Liber O – it is based on chapter IV of Levi's Rituel de Haute Magie) you touch your forehead and say ATEH, then the centre of your breast, saying MALKUTH, thus symbolically attempting to drag Malkuth up into Tiphareth.  The present form is based on a version of the ritual used by Crowley at the Abbey of Thelema, and in it one uses the HGA in Tiphareth to transmit the energies from Kether down into Malkuth.  There is – shall we say – something of a tension between Crowley’s various statements on the nature of Aiwass or Aiwaz.  Aiwass only represents the Holy Guardian Angel in so far as Crowley considered Aiwass to be his Angel, and invoking anyone else's HGA is a piece of folly and futility (compare the final remarks in Z2 Shin of Shin) so if the name of one's own "Angel" is unknown, or if doing the ritual in company, it might be better to substitute some general name or title, or simply pause briefly.

Now, in Liber V vel Reguli, which in its published form was "adapted for the daily use of the Magician of whatever grade," Aiwaz appears as a more universal name, as the transmitter of the 93 current, etc.; here, though, the name is vibrated while touching forehead, mouth and throat: this is explained by Crowley's notes on the ritual, "Aiwaz is Silence and Speech (Ajna and Visuddhi.)"

As such, I do not believe the general use of the name Aiwass in the LBRP is warranted.  (I consider the statement that Aiwass may be considered the HGA of the O.T.O. to be simply laughable; at best a cateogory mistake, at worst an example of creeping personality cult.  If we accept the Platonic/Hermetic principle of analogies suggested by Liber CXCIV, then the "Holy Guardian Angel of the Order" would be, by analogy, another office, possibly the mythical "Inner Head": if we do not, the concept is simply incoherent).

There exist other variants of the Qabalistic Cross where this step is omitted and the vertical component is a single move from forehead to groin level (for example, the first form given in the appendix to Qabalah: a Primer by John Bonner), or alternatively bringing the hand as far down as you can while standing erect, visualing the Malkuth centre at the feet.

2: If considerations of space prohibit this the entire ritual may be performed in one place, turning on the spot.  If the intention is to "clear" an area or working space, though, you should make a circle of the place if at all possible.

3: Detailed instructions for the vibration of Divine Names are given in Liber O; the technique is discussed in more detail in the Golden Dawn Z documents.

4: I am unsure of the exact provenance of this piece.  It was published by DuQuette in Magick of Thelema and also in the endnotes to the "Blue Brick" edition of Magick.  In this connection it is also suggested that the student read Crowley's poem "The Palace of the World" and the notes thereon in Collected Works vol. i pp. 204-205.

5: This explains the attribution of signs to solar stations in Crowley's note on Liber Resh.  However, according to the Golden Dawn teachings, in this ritual you are backed onto the Tree, hence in making the Qabalistic Cross you say "ve-Geburah" at your right shoulder and "ve-Gedulah" at your left shoulder; this also puts Michael, the Archangel of Hod, on your right as in the final point.  The reading above may have been a slip by Crowley or a "correction" by a copyist unfamiliar with the finer points of the G.D. teaching.

6: This refers to the Golden Dawn teachings concerning Telesmatic Figures, which can be studied in Regardie (ed.) The Golden Dawn.

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