Written by Frater TP
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) is a topic of much controversy. Even what it is used for is often either a confused list or a very incomplete one. Many times a total beginner will perform versions with details that are of no actual use to them, such as the sign of the enterer and sign of silence. In this two part article, I will do my best to present a more appropriate version for the person who is completely new to ritual magic.
First, I will cover the effects and uses of the rite, then I will give my version (which means the one that I am suggesting here, not the one I currently use) and finally I may or may not give an explanation of the symbolism.
Uses and Effects 1. The LBRP specifically, serves many purposes and does many things. Upon successful completion, the atmosphere in the room should feel "clean" as if the window has opened to let the
breeze in. I personally felt this one day when I got the urge to close my eyes and wave my hands in the atmosphere. I saw vivid blue streaks running across the blackness and felt a purified energy around me. (For the invoking version, a density and heaviness is in the air, but one has more energy.)
- People are split like a Masonic chequerboard in regards to how it impacts one's emotions. Some say, such as Donald Michael Craig, that if you go into it angry, you will come out more angry. Others such as Damien Echols claim that if you repeat the ritual several times over and you will feel better. The latter method sounds like a psychological coping mechanism rather than magick. I don’t see how anyone would manage to get the full impact of this ritual if they went into it in an emotionally disturbed state. One must be in total concentration and this is simply not possible when distracted by other energies.
- The ritual is used before and after pretty much any magical operation, as both a psychological gateway out and in of mundane consciousness and as a powerful cleansing of the space (banishment
of entities). It is so powerful at getting rid of entities that some people are pretty cautious of it's use in the outside world in fear that it will send away the spirits that live inside objects all around us. I am unclear as to the reason why anyone would do this outside of their ritual space (physically) unless they were utilizing it as one of several tools to get rid of hauntings, so there is not any serious reason to be concerned about this, even if it is true.
That moves me onto an unnumbered point since it’s not an effect or use of the LBRP, but something I just want to point out as a hidden gem here in this article. It may not be obvious, even to the Adept, that certain side effects of a ritual can be enhanced or eliminated simply by using intention. The more advanced someone is, the more power an intention has. This means as I just pointed out, that if we don’t want spirits that we are familiar with to be disturbed (so long as they do not disturb us) we can just say so and this will work. It also means that if we perform the rose cross ritual which has a side-effect of detracting attention (due to changes in the aura) and we still want to be perfectly visible in terms of people noticing us in certain situations, we can set this intention. This is simply done by putting conditions on the ritual. We are in full control of the effects of our rituals, except arguably when it comes to god names, although even then we can activate these powers within us.
- The qabalistic cross, which is the beginning and end of the ritual, does by itself several things. Firstly, it forms a connection to the Higher Self (also known as one’s daemon – guiding spirit) of the practitioner. This connection provides protection from undesirable entities. If you are wondering how this can happen, consider firstly that the Higher Self has immense power to stop spiritual attack (it has great awareness and a connection to you), but consider also that any connection between you and an entity is made via the subconscious mind, and by polarity can be severed through it. (This includes the Higher Self and allows one to understand “soul stealing” from perhaps a different perspective)
Secondly, it seals the aura from outside influences. Again, this is a protection from outside influences.
Thirdly, it grounds and centers the practitioner, allowing excess and unwanted energies to be absorbed into the Earth and transmuted.
The pentagram and the rose cross have equivalent symbolism in many respects. Both represent the elements in equilibrium with an exaltation of heart-centered consciousness.
Further, and this is the last I can think of, it prepares the practitioner to be humble in front of the Divine. A simple yet exceptionally powerful idea that, if grasped, provides protection from one's own lower nature, which is self-serving and susceptible to qlipothic energies.
- The circle and pentagrams protect from astral entities. If you didn't know, the ritual is happening on multiple planes of existence. As above, so below. I have experienced an astral parasite directly one time whilst performing the LBRP, and it was like, whilst invoking Archangel Gabriel in the West , a giant serpent came rushing out of the darkness into the western pentagram and then disappeared. It may well have been my own unconscious - that stuff does manifest on the astral -
since I had recently been reading David Icke, and he is most famous for his Reptilians theory which oversimplifies things and gives comparative religion a bad reputation. Not that Reptilians don’t exist, but that Icke’s interpretation is slippery. (Note: If the walls are not aligned to compass points, declare the closest one to East as such and act accordingly)
There is also much symbolism involved with the circle. It is a miniature, or microcosmic, universe of the Magician. As within so without. What happens in this miniature world surely makes "waves" beyond this boundary.
As mentioned earlier, we want to make the circle sunrise even in the "banishing" version. This applies to LBRPs done after other parts of a complex sequence of rites, because the final LBRP is still done to give protection from anything that is lingering in the afterglow. The only time we go anti-clockwise in Western ceremonial magic is when we are circumambulating, and far from being a mere device to induce trance through the use of counting (also not a blind), we are in fact supposed to actively imagine (with all senses) a vortex of energy (like a whirlpool or tornado) being created (when circumambulating sunwise) or dissolved (anti-sunwise), which is charged by the sign of the enterer, a gesture which is primarily to project light (lux) of an appropriate colour. This idea though, is seldom mentioned because again, the instructions that you usually see are massively incomplete.
What you consider superstition is actually your incredulity.
- The aura is strengthened/hardened, and expanded. One might gain charisma, presence, confidence, perhaps a sense of almost bravado. People start to notice unconsciously that you are changing but are unable to pin down what exactly it is in their mind. They might compliment you on things such as your hair, which is totally the same, in order to account for these ineffably differences. Alternatively, you may have people look at you funny, act strange around you, or be irrationally callous.
It is often claimed by Adepts that these are psychological projections of your own insecurities, real or imagined. Simply claim them as your own and they shall cease. Once owned, certain things which would normally rile you no longer get reactionary responses from you.
- As a reminder, I am going over the effects of the banishing version. So a common thing is the loss of relationships (all kinds) that no longer serve, and the same goes for jobs, hobbies, foodstuffs and music etc. Due to this release of negative influences, you will form new ones. This occurs naturally without needing to perform the invoking version. If you find that gain is not happening some time after daily use of merely the LBRP, it is because you are not allowing something to be lost so that something else may take its place. You will not transport yourself outside of the cyclical nature of the universe by means of a banishing ritual, no matter how powerful it is, unless you consciously resist (mental transmutation). But the act of ritual itself is not an act of conscious resistance. The idea that the invoking version must be used to create new cycles is simply wrong and shows a severe misunderstanding of Hermetic metaphysics. For example ‘The measure of the swing to the left is the measure of the swing to the right; rhythm compensates’ (The Kybalion by The Three Initiates, Yogebooks: Hollister. MO, p84, 1st ed.) That being said, the balance of banishing and invoking is a long-tested and clearly working method to help this process and give blessings as well as encouragement to the new things that come in. So, it is worth noting then that it is a sacrifice in terms of material circumstances to only perform the LBRP, but in no way to the point of poverty for the vast majority of people. In fact, some will gain riches from it due to the release of energetic resistance that comes from the banishment of the elemental forces.
I mention this idea because in some curriculums, people say to perform the LBRP in isolation, (of the LIRP) and others say to do the invoking in the morning and banishing in the evening. Both of these methods work for their respective curriculums. But each method requires afterwards a slightly different form of spiritual progression. It is self-deception to fail to admit a natural affinity to a skill just as it is to assume falsely that one is more talented than they are. It was recommended in the course which I originally used (Lyam Thomas Christopher - Kabbalah, magic and the Great Work of self-transformation) that alternating between the two versions is not useful to the beginner. In this context, I would argue that beginner extends beyond the scope of this lifetime – one can already
have certain understandings of occult matters and if this is the case, something like Bardon’s Initiation Into Hermetics is more suited due to it’s flexibility and arcane instruction.
‘Some books say that this ritual should be performed at different times of the day with alternative forms of the pentagram, such as by tracing an invoking-earth form of the pentagram in the morning and a banishing form in the evening. This may sometimes be a useful exercise for the adept, but it would be useless for the begin ner. ‘ (Llewellyn, Woodbury Minnesota, page 26, 1st ed)
- The Archangels are invoked into the sphere of sensation is why they should face towards the Magician. The protection comes merely from the circle and pentagrams. Each Archangel has it's qabalistic associations and therefore will provide its own blessings for the Magician. This is done automatically upon the Archangelic invocations (which are requests until their energies are activated within) and at the beginner stages, any petition for specific things to happen in the external world is a total waste of time and energy. It also refutes the Hermetic law of correspondence. The accumulation of energies inside the Magician by logic must effect the outside world. This is another reason why the invoking form is unneeded to receive abundance in all forms. I promise. Chaos brings possibility, as dark occultists well know.
- The hexagram. Now in my tutorial the hexagram has a firey-red (in terms of both colour and attribute) uppermost tip that is burning and a watery-blue lowermost point that is wavering. This represents differing parts of the soul. (ibid.p27) The hexagram is a symbol of the macrochosm and of Saturnian space-time frequencies. (this reality) There are 4 hexagrams to be placed upon the tree
of life and this one has its apex at the throat, which is Da-ath, a non-sephira which means Knowledge. According to Dion Fortune in her Mystical Qabalah, (Aleister) Crowley said that this is the apex of the pyramid-shaped Abyss (link to the highest qabalistic world) which has at its foundation Kether, Chokmah and Binah. These 3 sepriroth are the Supernals. The middle of the hexagram is over the heart-center which is associated with Tiphareth, meaning Beauty.
How does the hexagram have an effect? This point appears perhaps like an explanation of symbolism. It is an effect because if it didn’t do something, it wouldn’t be there in the ritual. Shapes, colours, gestures etc. are all energy patterns and frequencies which cause certain fluctuations in the ether. Over the course of magical training, you learn ultimately to be careful of what you speak, wear and eat, how you act, who and what you let around you, etc.
- In many ways throughout the LBRP, the Higher Self is being contacted and Spirit is being invoked. This gives the Magician a glimpse into higher worlds and is one of the reasons for the disconnection that happens in terms of relationships with people and things in the realm of the material. Numerous insights are provided to the subconscious as well as coming from the subconscious into the conscious mind. Those that are not realized by the conscious mind and have a profound impact upon the subconscious will manifest in the outer reality. Some of you therefore should catch your insights. Others should just let the events unfold naturally. Most will automatically catch those that they should decide upon. If you do the ritual correctly and have enough self-awareness and faith, you will know which ones to act on and which ones are actually self-sabotaging.
Therefore, a quick note. If you are doing this ritual and you weren't sort of "guided" to it, you are in dangerous territory. Follow the guidance that comes from your deepest sense of self. This applies to any ritual. It is one thing to seek something out purely academically and another to come across a book upon a spiritual journey. Exceptions to this example there are, but instances of it there are too. (“All truths are half-truths, all paradoxes may be reconciled” – The Kybalion)