So I’ve been thinking a little more about the Enochian astrological order (both the Enochian heptarchical order as well as the order of ensigns of creation), and it occurred to me to think of Saturn as being the “standout” of the planets (Saturn ruling the Kabbalistic sphere of Binah, or Understanding, into which the system of Aethyrs slowly initiates the magician). Working from the Holy Table of Practice, one is closest to the ensign of Saturn facing south (and closest to the Sun when facing north); this mirrors the astrological rulership of Saturn ruling Aquarius, a sign opposing Leo, which the Sun rules. So I have given some thought to Saturn being at its most powerful compared to the other planets (in order to bring Binah to its peak strength), and have come up with another plausible rationale to the Enochian order of the planets (Venus, Moon, Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Sun):
Venus (detriment) –> Scorpio Moon (detriment) –> Capricorn Saturn (domicile) –> Aquarius Mercury (detriment & fall) –>Pisces Jupiter (detriment) –> Gemini Mars (fall) –> Cancer Sun (fall/domicile)–> Libra/Leo
I wasn’t sure the strength to put the Sun in this configuration. Should it be at peak strength, wherein the individual comes to know the true core of what they are, and oppose Saturn, also at peak strength, drawing distinctions between who/what one thinks one is and who/what one actually is? Or should the Sun be at a lower power, willing to come into agreement with the discipline of Saturn?
In some ways, I think both views are correct and are supported by the Kabbalistic implications. If the former view is correct, then it’s emphasizing the link from a balanced personality, which we saw in my first exploration of the rationale for the planetary order (in which case it is a sephirothic order, not planetary per se). In this rationale, a symbolic Leonine Sun’s strength is stripped away of ego, and brings Tiphareth into enough fullness to be able to face the cosmic feminine of Binah.
If the latter view is correct, and the Sun is suggestive of Libra in its fall in this schema, then it joins Mars and Mercury as being in this condition. Both Mars & the Sun rule sephiroth–Geburah & Tiphareth–which have direct paths to Binah on the Tree of Life (heh & za(y)in, respectively). Saturn in its domicile strengthens Binah, the sephiroth nearest Binah are in their fall but not completely weakened, whereas the sephiroth farthest away on the Tree of Life from Binah are at their weakest (in detriment). The third planet to be in fall, Mercury, rules Hod, which is at least on the same pillar as Binah & Geburah, though it lacks a direct path (which is interesting, because it’s also in detriment). This configuration also emphasizes water, air, and earth placements–perhaps to allow the initiate up into the supernal, least dense sephiroth of Atziluth (often associated with fire compared to the lower three worlds of Briah, Yetzirah, & Assiah).
There are shortcuts to things in life, though shortcuts are not always the best or cleanest way to get things done. Yet when you’re starting from a low point and want to get to a higher point, rather than practicing the same old techniques in drudgery until the slow accretion of effort pays off years later with achievement, or its opposite of a shortcut to the trophy that is devoid of mastery, it’s probably better to use both practice and the occasional shortcut to make your empowerment work faster.
The ascension of the KabbalisticTree of Life is the purpose of many magickal orders. While I have no grand techniques for preparation for initiation, and initiation itself (the LBRP or the Abramelin Operation still work as they should!), I have an “all-of-the-above” approach to magick, and believe that cross-pollination has interaction effects. Hence, the shortcut: sigils.
Sure, you may already know about sigils, but why not create a sigil to enable old-fashioned initiation? Sometimes we don’t think to put “new wine into old wineskins,” but we do it all the time, we just don’t think of it that way. Meditation is used in concert with being a good person, magick is used in concert with meditation, and sigil magick can be used in concert with Tree-of-Life magick.
The technique itself is rather simple: create a sigil with the intent along the lines of “I initiate into [name of sephirah, e.g., Yesod].” Charge it, don’t obsess about it, then continue going about your normal efforts to initiate into that same sephirah. What you should find (as I did) is that new techniques to initiate into a sephirah appear, or that your current efforts accelerate. I myself used sigils to assist with initiation into Binah, Chokmah, & Kether.
Get creative and clear with your intent, and don’t be afraid to iterate: “I deepen my initiation into [name of sephirah]” and “I complete my initiation into [name of sephirah]” are wise additional sigils to fire off after you surmise that you have succeeded in your initiation into a given sephirah. You must still do the hard work, but the hard work should pay off more quickly.
A talisman, strictly speaking, a visual seal (sigil) of magical intent that is energetically charged to bring wanted things toward you; it has typically been contrasted with amulets which repel unwanted things. In Western traditions nowadays, this line is a little blurry, so this post refers to both, but only those related to astrological talismans. Any time is possible to do magick. Elemental magick is always available, no matter the circumstances. Astrological magick is also always available, and can be tweaked via planetary banishing and invoking, but it’s a bit more like playing a game of cards, in which you can discard some cards and draw others.
I start my planetary talisman process based on the desired astrological energy. To do this, you need to have familiarity with basic astrology and what makes a planet’s energy strong as well as harmonious with other planets. Once the dominant planetary energy is selected, I pick the time and the base metal. Paper is fine but not as durable energywise as metal. Classically each astrological planet has its own metal; of the seven planets, only four have metals that are realistic to use nowadays: Saturn’s and Mercury’s metals (lead & mercury, respectively) are toxic, and the sun’s metal, gold, is toxic to your bank account! I substitute silver, the moon’s metal, for these three planets, because the moon is “closest” to the earth in the medieval tradition.
Once I have the metal picked, I begin the design; there’s not much imagination on my part in designing talismans. If a planetary talisman, I begin by looking up the magic square for that planet. This will be the center of the overall design, and also tells me the number of elements to incorporate into the talisman, including the numbers of the square itself (but not the grid). I usually go with the sum of a given row or column.
Once I have the number of elements, I incorporate the names of the selected deities and/or archangels associated with the planet & its sephira. In the Hermetic tradition, these can be found by looking them up ina correspondence resource such as 777, 776_1/2, or Thelemapedia (in the case of a Mars talisman, for example, I use row 27, and perhaps also row 5 for the sephira it rules, Geburah); these are all based on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (which itself is largely based on Agrippa: see below); I have yet to explore other similar orders’ materials such as Aurum Solis but this is forthcoming, I’m sure. I then start counting the letters in the deity names and try to use some combination of them that adds up the the planetary square total (in the case of the Mars talisman, 65). Also, I do one final check for the planetary seal from Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book 1, Chapter 33. My standard approach is to have the names parallel to each of the four sides of the square (placed according to the Four Worlds associations in the Kabbalah and/or stacked as necessary according to the hierarchy in which they fit; the planetary seal I break into four parts which go at the corners, in a rounded formation of long enough).
Once the design is complete, it comes to a method of charging the talisman. Here you’re asking the deity or angel to do you a solid and please charge your talisman. Angels work in the capacity of their deity, so appeal to that connection, and deities like it when you approach via the things they are connected to (such as the incenses or plants in a correspondence book like 777–the more the better, but there is diminishing returns, so don’t dip into your savings! If money is an issue, cultivate sincerity and it will make up for it). Use a picture of the appropriate animal, a small clipping of the appropriate plant, light the appropriate incense, etc. Next, perform the planetary invoking ritual (I use the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram) to call forth the energy associated with your astrological election. Then I usually will either do an invocation for the deity to temporarily inhabit my body (choose your deity wisely!) and provide a charge to the object, or a call to the angel by appealing to its deity. I will usually modify Liber Israfel for the former; for the latter, it depends on the system. Enochian has specific methods to call upon its angels; similarly, the Shem-Hamphorasch has its own 72 angels and various authors have books on contacting them. Once those methods are done you make your request to the angel(s) that you have called to charge the talisman for you.
One alternative to the entity method is energy work, such as Chi or Reiki (though the latter still accesses divine entities). Reiki is probably better since it explicitly calls on the energy of the heavens (which, you know, where the stars and planets are), but Chi could probably also be used, if you set a strong intention to only use the more terrestrial energy that fully reflects the celestial.
Here we come to a point not to be overlooked: timing is essential. Unlike other astrologers, my view of an event is to look at the definitive “birthing” portion. Just as astrologers typically use a birth time and not a conception time, events or even ideas have to be birthed and not just stirred or conceived. A seed doesn’t count as a new plant just because it’s been planted, or watered, or the like. The seed emerge from its shell and touch the air and light as well as put down its first root. I dwell on this point because, well, you have to time your actions to culminate as closely to the time you’ve elected.
One of the great efforts put forth in recent years is Scott Stenwick’s initiation system into all sephiroth and veils of the Tree of Life. It represents an excellent structure for initiation, and nicely complements his planetary work series on astrological magick. One of the things that a fellow magick.me student’s question (about Lon DuQuette’s Chicken Qabalah) inspired in me is whether or not a practical ritual could be done at the sephirothic level.
The answer is yes. Sephiroth are ruled by planets, after all, but this is not to say that they are ruled in the astrological sense of planetary domicile (wherein the planet is stronger due to zodiacal sign placement), but rather of the sephiroth brought to completeness. Hence, the pleasure or joy of Victory is symbolized by Venus ruling Netzach, and the Understanding of the nature of reality is brought to completeness by acceding to its limitations (i.e., its nature), symbolized by Saturn ruling Binah.
What exactly is accomplished by this? I believe that on some level, the magician is attempting to “correct” the current sephiroth-energetic balance of the universe. Attempts to bring sephiric energy have been done before; Jason Louv, in John Dee and the Empire of Angels, goes into detail about Jack Parsons’ attempt to instill this supernal feminine energy into the world via his Babalon Working. My guess is that for most hermetic magicians who would be interested in a sephiric working, the goal of such working would be to bring Tiphareth energy into the world, in accord with Crowley’s law of Thelema. Crowley himself also elaborated a ritual to bring about the energy of the Aeon of Horus, Liber V vel Reguli (which may have been an attempt to bring in the energy of Geburah, but this seems too broad of an oversimplification). I haven’t worked this ritual because I haven’t fully committed to Thelema, though I recognize it as a viable and important Law: I just prefer my own.
I think one could construct rituals for all of the sephiroth below Kether (I’m not yet sure how one would go about this sephira, but I’m open to suggestions!); Stenwick lays out the components of both planetary and sephirothic invocations; I would simply combine his sephirothic hexagrams, god names, and archangel names with the planetary intelligence and spirit of the planet that rules this sephiroth.
What inspired this post, however, was the question of what the planetary intelligence and spirit would be for Chokmah, and the answer seems to me to be to use the sephirothic invocation that Stenwick lays out, then to simply call on Archangel Ratziel, and rather than the next step of calling a planetary spirit and an intelligence, to instead call on all twelve of the zodiacal angels (see Col. CXLII in Liber 777 or Col. 412 in 776 1/2 (they differ in that Aries & Aquarius are reversed in 777, which Eshelman corrects). One could call each angel twice (to obtain the twoness of Chokmah), or the angel and its assistant (776 1/2, Cols. 412 & 413), or call on the Day & Night triplicity lords (776 1/2, Cols. 414). Further reading on Stenwick’s essay on evoking zodiacal angels is here.
I haven’t tried this but I may do so for my own law later this week and determine whether I see more effects of this law afterward: I will keep you posted.
Update: I did a ritual based on this and rather than try to evangelize, I simply made an Enochian prayer that those who are to hear my law would in fact do so in God’s time and measure. In other words, a prayer that God’s will be done, or put another way, a conscious moving with Universe rather than against It.
[The TL,DR: the placement of Enochian astrological ensigns of creation seem to fit the astrological system of exaltation, with adjustments for sect across the equinox line of 0 degrees Aries/Libra). Enochian does not seem to fit the Planetary Joys, which fits the nature of the mystical nature of the sephira into which Enochian guides the initiate: Binah (and its associated Vision of Sorrow). Following the Enochian astrological placements on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life makes intuitive sense if you hold that the ensign of Mercury is referring to Raphael as archangel of Tiphareth and the ensign of the Sun as is referring to Michael as archangel of Hod.]
In the Heptarchical system, each planet is ruled by an angelic king and its prince, but while the king is always called on the day (e.g., the king for the sun is called on Sunday–though, as Stenwick points out, the king seems to have authority over the sephiroth which the planet rules: Sunday for Tiphareth, Monday for Yesod, etc.) and hour, the Prince is called on the day of the planet but the hour of the planet which follows the heptarchical order above (i.e., the prince for Sunday is called on the hour of the moon). The order above,
This seems like a minor detail, but it is one that has bothered me. After all, Dee would request the angels’s views of existing magic and they were known to reply, paraphrasing Jason Louv, “That’s nice,” in the way a parent comments on a child’s drawing, and then provide a corrected version of it (consider the similarity of the Sigillum Dei Aemeth to the geometry shown on the cover of this translation of The Sworn Book of Honorius, for example!). So what is behind the change to the typical planetary hourly rotation?
I wondered whether the exaltations might have anything to do with this. Here is a chart of the exalted planets in their signs:
Things do seem out of order, don’t they? But then I pondered how these planets might look if I included sect rulership:
Finally, it occurred to me that with the start of the zodiac being at Aries, and with Venus being closest to this, I should mentally orient my zodiac about Venus and then add sect into the matter. A mental flipping of the Enochian about this equinox axis looks like this:
Note that the flipped Saturn precedes Mercury in Virgo because it has 21 degrees to shift vs Virgo’s 15 degrees which separate it from the equinox.
Dykes also mentions the interesting zig-zag pattern if you follow the planets according to decreasing brightness:
and here’s the same order with Enochian–interestingly, the same zig-zag pattern does not appear. However, following the luminosity pattern (below) does not follow any of the individual parts of the Enochian counterclockwise path (second figure below), plus, malefics and benefics are both separated by 2+ planets, and the most luminous planets all occupy the highest three positions of the heptagon:
I also wondered whether the Enochian order of the planets also relates to the planetary joys:
Note that the planetary joys are a house-based system, not a sign-based assignment of planets. Regardless, if we put Venus at the top of this pattern, this is the result:
Following the same order but using heptagonal spacing, we get:
If we flip this, once again about a vertical line, we get:
This is now resembling the Enochian heptarchical assignments. A few things to note about the four “mis-placed” planets (according to the original Enochian system):
The bottom-right three planets are all the heaviest and day-chart rulers (a familiar issue, as seen above!).
Two of the planets, the Sun and Mercury, have archangels (Michael and Raphael, respectively) whose associations switch when considering the sephiroth they rule (Raphael is the archangel of Tiphareth, which is ruled by the Sun, while Michael is the archangel of Hod, which is ruled by Mercury). Thus, we’ve seen some flexibility in associations across these two sephiroth.
Saturn and Mars, both malefics, also rule sephiroth on the Pillar of Severity (“on your left”) on the Tree of Life in Kabbalah–as does Mercury.
The seven classical planets are slightly imbalanced towards the Pillar of Severity as it is; the Luminaries and Benefics together rule four sephiroth, two each on the Middle and Mildness Pillars (though the entire tree itself is balanced).
The Planetary Joys scheme as a means of understanding the Enochian astrological order seems to fall apart (though I’d appreciate any commentary to the contrary–I already tried changing according to sect as above ), but why? Trying to think about why this might be, my mind kept going back to the pillar of Severity–the topmost sephiroth of which is Binah, which is associated with the mystical Vision of Sorrow (as well as the Vision of Wonder). What does Sorrow have to do with Joy? The answer is nothing!
However, what would an initiation of Binah, (“Understanding,”) have to do with exaltation? Why, everything! The exaltation of the human(e) into the Divine, which of course has everything to do with Sorrow (for those who cannot Understand their own Divinity), but Wonder for those who can.
Let me return to the Tree of Life for a quick look at the path as suggested by the ensigns; I’ve removed the sephiroth names for simplicity and shown what happens if we follow the heptarchical path (the path of the sephiroth in order of their ruling planets):
It’s kind of a mess! There’s a jump from Yetzirah to Atziluth & back down again! Then I thought about changing the associations of Mercury to mean Raphael as ruler of Tiphareth, and the sun to mean Michael as ruler of Hod:
This path seems faaar cleaner, and it makes more sense. A balanced person (Tiphareth) takes inventory of all the aspects of the surrounding sephiroth on the Tree of Life (much like the counting of the Omer), and then, having done all of this and found themselves with a solid foundation (Yesod), is initiated (via the Aethyrs) into Binah in Atziluth. After this, the initiate returns to this place of balance, but now with Divine awareness.
“If you’re not already solid in Tiphareth, you’re gonna have a baaad tiiiime.”
Just some thoughts!
UPDATE: I think I’ve come to realize the nature of why the nocturnal sect rulers stay where they are while the diurnal rulers flip. This related to Aleister Crowley’s N.O.X. formula, which focuses around the supernal sephiroth. The idea is that this supernal light is so vast and limitless, it is blinding and as such is “dark” like the night. Since the Aethyrs appear to be initiation into Binah, the system leaving in place the night rulers—but moving the day rulers “out of the way” of initiation into the supernals—makes sense.
Jason Louv contends that Enochian is a means to initiate into the Kabbalistic sephirah (sphere of consciousness) of Binah. The final seven Aethyrs, he argues, reveal the final to sephiroth of Chokmah and Kether, but these lock up if one has not initiated into these sephiroth. In my experience, this is absolutely true.
It is possible to request the Enochian angels show you how to initiate into these sephiroth and thus enable full visions when you scry the last seven Aethyrs. Assuming you have successfully scried through ZID, you should have begun the initiation into Binah and thus be ready for the following sephiroth. The process is long, but it is started very simply. What you do is make the normal call to the Aethyrs (“MADRIAX DSPRAF ___,” where the blank is filled in with the name of the Aethyr) and then substitute the Enochian word for the name of the sephirah (rather than the name of the Aethyr).
So, to initiate into Chokmah, you would use the word for “the secret wisdom,” ANANAEL. After making the call, follow the instructions of the angels and you will begin the initiation process. The same can be done for Kether (the highest sephiroth) as well as Ain Soph Aur and Ain Soph. I have tested this technique on three of the following four (once again, do not make this call until you have successfully scried through ZID–that itself should be challenge enough):
Chokmah (Wisdom): ANANAEL (Secret Wisdom).
Kether (Crown): MOMAO (Crown)
Ain Soph Aur (Limitless Light): MAOFFAS OLPIRT (Measureless Light)