- Part I - The Meaning of Ritual
- Part II - Re-Introducing the Pentagram Ritual
- Part III - Standard Preliminaries
- Part IV - The Sacred Pentagram
- Part V - Casting Pentagrams
- Part VI - The Names of God and the Four Directions
- Part VII - The Universe Alive and Aware of You
- Part VIII - The Upper Room
- Download parts I-VI of this article series as one PDF
- Download the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram as PDF
Part V: Casting Pentagrams
Giving Life Energy to a Symbol
We are about to pay attention to this ocean of attention (life energy) that we live in (the aura of the sun). We are going to use organs and veins that are part of our make-up that are specifically designed to work with life energy. We are going to use these to manipulate that life energy to feed a type of being that is alien to most people who have not done this before.
The type of being I’m talking about here is that of a living symbol. There is a plane of existence (a classification of modes of existence) that pervades our present universe, all around us, right here and right now. Symbols are living beings in this mode of existence. They are aware, responsive living creatures of meaning or principle. The life and responsiveness of a symbol involves expressing that meaning.
We are going to give life energy (on our plane of existence) to one of these symbols so it can express itself in our lives, so it can join in our lives. We are going to offer it a body created of pure life energy (concentrated attention). With that life energy we are not going to create the being called pentagram, but we are going to create a form or body for it to take part in our ordinary every-day lives. In creating a living body for the symbol, we are also going to give this new instance of life, an inspired purpose in this life. We are going to give it a specific purpose or context for expressing its meaning in our lives.
In fact, we are going to create 4 different bodies for the same symbol. Each will have a different purpose in life so the symbol may express four different Reminders, one in each of 4 different ways we have of experiencing things. Remember, the pentagram with its 5 points is reminding us that we are Awareness experiencing things, and of how we experience everything. So far, in this article, we have explored the meanings of three of the five points. We have explored how two of the points represent ways we experience the tangible world. One is as a “self” involved in the center of everything like a lord or king, as the cause or purpose of it all (Fire). The other is as the entirety of Creation that emanates from and mirrors Awareness: the Earth on which we live. We have not yet explored the other two points of the pentagram expressing the other two ways that we experience everything. But these four pentagrams that we cast and give life to, will be living reminders of these four ways we have of experiencing, and that we are who or what it is that is doing the experiencing. The pentagrams will be able to use their special skills and talents, expressed in our lives with the life energy we give them. They will express themselves in our lives to help us build the habit of Remembering and behaving like who and what we really are, all through our daily lives.
Witch-Fire as Nourishment
As embodiments of the One Pure Consciousness, the Author and Creator of the Universe, beings have many abilities related to creation itself. One of these abilities is to create life itself. Since Awareness is the cause of all existence, and directed awareness (attention) nourishes all existence, directed attention is the key to creation, including creating life itself. (There is more to creating life than directed attention, such as bestowing autonomy, but irrelevant to the current topic.) Further, since attention nourishes all existence, attention has an expression as life-energy. As a living being yourself, directing your attention in a certain way allows you to direct life-energy as part of creating and feeding life, and otherwise giving energy to living beings. This is the case in healing, which is simply the renewal or balancing of life energy.
We call the expression of attention as life energy by different names in different cultures, among them being chi, witch-fire, etheric energy and prana. Directing this life energy is a practice of directing attention to nourish existence. Because life energy is the form of attention itself, directing life energy is as easy as directing your attention.
In this part of the Universe, we exist in a field of the attention, the awareness, and the Being of that which we call the Sun. Another way of saying the same is that we exist within the aura of the Sun. The Sun’s aura, its field of awareness, its field of attention, is for us an inexhaustible ocean of life-energy. Our bodies are born in it and of it. We are constantly breathing it in and out (besides the air we also breathe in and out). All forms of nourishment that our bodies depend on ultimately come from the Sun, and get their energy from the Sun, as the Sun nourishes the entire food chain. But the aura of the sun also nourishes us directly. We have a network of veins and organs throughout our bodies that store, direct, transform and otherwise leverage this life energy to make up the body. It gives mobility and expression to our bodies, which is Pure Consciousness in a human form.
We are going to use this network of organs and veins by which we direct, transform, and leverage the life energy of the Sun. We are going to use them to give life energy to a living symbol, so it may also express itself and move among us in our daily lives as constant Reminders of whom and what we really are.
How to See and Work with Etheric Energy
Casting attention as nourishment (casting life energy, etheric energy, witch fire, chi, prana…) is important in all forms of magic, because any act of magic is an act of casting or shifting one’s attention. But what if you don’t have clairvoyance (psychic sight) by which to see this etheric energy? Actually, it is not important or necessary to see it to be able to work with it, as long as you have had guidance or training from someone who can see it.
Because casting attention as nourishment is so important, early in traditional training we spend time learning to see and cast this etheric energy. One starts in a completely dark room, with hands held in front of one’s chest, with palms almost together (about ¼ inch apart). One breathes slowly and regularly. With each in breath, one feels that one is soaking in etheric energy from the ocean of that in which we live, feeling it soaking in through a network of “pores” that cover our bodies. These pores are part of the network of veins and organs that our bodies have for storing, directing and transforming life energy. We call this breathing technique, “pore breathing.”
So with each in breath, one is soaking up life energy, and one feels it gather in the solar plexus, within our chests, behind the sternum. Then with each out breath one feels life energy coursing through one’s arms, out through the palms into the small space between them. Since life energy is a form of attention, by casting our attention on a feeling that this energy is moving, we are directing it to do so.
Doing this for a few minutes, one starts to feel definite warmth between the palms. As this happens, one slowly and very slightly moves the palms apart, moving the hands as though holding a ball of energy between. Then, as this ball of energy collects and becomes denser, the warmth clear and definite, one opens the eyes in the complete darkness. Slowly moving the hands apart about ½ inch, we watch the space between the palms and between the fingers of one hand and those of the other. Then, one can slowly move the hands further apart, until they’re an inch or two apart, and see tendrils of this whitish etheric energy stretching and expanding as your hands move apart just a little bit.
What one sees here is the Witch Fire, the prana, the etheric energy that one is learning to cast and to nourish the beings and symbols with, when one performs any kind of magic. Through an act of deliberate imagination, powered by focused attention, one can give it various colors as needed. For the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, we cast this same energy, the form of attention, in a blue color like the color of burning alcohol. This color transforms the raw energy to carry love and creativity, respect and compassion as nourishment that makes up a living body for a living symbol.
It is important to note here that we are breathing this life energy from the ocean around us, the aura of the Sun, and then casting that through our arms and out our hands like a flamethrower. The point is that we’re using energy from the ocean around us, and not using the energy that we naturally store in our bodies. Casting the life energy stored in our bodies reduces the amount stored in our bodies. Of course, one’s body will slowly and naturally renew this, given time. However, because one is forcibly casting life energy in a deliberate and direct manner, it can take a lot longer to refill naturally than it takes to cast it out in magical operations. This can be dangerous, as this store of energy in our bodies is important for healing. If one should have an accident or undergo surgery, this store of life energy is extremely important. So always remember to use pore breathing to breath in life energy from around you, and to cast that out through your arms and hands.
Technique for Casting the Pentagrams
So, the script for this ritual has us start facing the East, to cast the first of four pentagrams there.
As described, with a slow and deep in breath, we draw from the ocean of life energy, filling ourselves with it, and concentrating that in our solar plexus. We cast our right arm forth, holding a ritual daggar or as a traditional witch, an Athamé (a consecrated double-edged blade, purchased only for this purpose, and never cut anything). Without a ritual dagger, one uses one’s hand, with only the index finger and middle finger extended together. Then, pointing at the lower-left area of the wall or space before us, we slowly breathe out. With the out breath, we will that Witch Fire or blue etheric energy to flow from the solar plexus, down our arm which we feel is like an accelerating tube. It flames out the extended fingers or dagger like a flamethrower. We cast the fire in a line on the wall or into the space before us, as we slowly move from the lower-left corner to the top-center. We will this to happen by focusing our attention on the feeling that it is happening. Imagination allows us to use our focused attention as a motivating force, nourishing an influence on reality, causing what we imagine to happen.
If you are not psychic (like me, I am not psychic) then don’t worry about not being able to see the blue colored flame before you as you draw this line of prana. Simply know it is there, and picture what it would look like if you could see it: a line of flaming blue, like burning alcohol.
Many people who cannot psychically see etheric energy, or who do not understand the reason for casting this etheric energy, make this movement swift, so they easily see in their “minds eye” a line traced before them. They see an optical-mental illusion created by the swiftness of their hand. But traditional training shows us how to be more careful, more deliberate, and more respectful in this important act. The training directs us to move slowly and carefully, with mindfulness of what we are doing and why, as we cast the blue fire carefully in a line before us.
There are important reasons for doing this slowly and carefully. First, etheric energy or Witch Fire itself moves slowly when cast out of the body like this. Second, there is a huge difference between seeing the trace of your swiftly moving hand, and actually seeing a glowing line of etheric energy in front of you. Third, the act should be a loving and respectful motion, rather than a mad dash, because you are creating a living, breathing body for an important being. You want that body to last as long as possible, and with as much energy as possible, so it can get as actively involved in your life as possible. A Pentagram has no organs by which to eat or gather energy by itself, on our plane of existence. You want that body to last at least until your next performance of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, when you will restock that body with more energy. You want to focus on casting as much raw etheric energy as you can into each line of the pentagram and making it stay as long as possible. So, according to what our teacher has repeatedly taught us, each line of the pentagram should take at least 3 or 4 seconds. There is a limit to how slow you should go, and you want to go as slow as possible, without being slower than this limit. You do not want to run out of breath, going too slowly, or you will not be able to concentrate your attention on the act of casting this blue fire. Each distraction or break in attention as you are casting a line before you creates a break in that line. I cannot count the number of times our teacher made us start a line again. He would do this because he could psychically see the energy lines that we would cast before us. In these, he would see that we were either moving too fast, not focusing the flow of blue fire, spreading it too thinly, or that our attention wavered to something else while we cast the line. Our teacher himself, as practiced, accomplished and powerful as he was, never cast a line in a pentagram that took less than 3 seconds.
Seeing this energy requires psychic sight and is not the same as seeing the optical illusion of trails we create by quickly whipping our hand along a path. If what we’re seeing is truly etheric energy and not an optical illusion of trails, then we should be able to move as slowly as we wish, mindfully pouring a thick and steady flow of energy. If one is seeing the real thing, one can move as slowly as the exercise just described, and still see that etheric energy all the more obviously, not less obviously. If one sees it less obviously when moving slowly, then one has undisputable evidence that one was watching the optical illusion of trails.
The instruction of moving as slowly as you can without breaking attention was not instruction just for beginners. This was emphasized by our teacher as late as 2005, when I and others had been studying for more than 30 years. This was when our teacher was showing people who have all completed their traditional training, a variation of the Pentagram Ritual to celebrate what we had learned. Our teacher was watching and correcting the careful, slow, loving, focused concentration of as much blue etheric energy as possible, even for people who have been doing the Pentagram Ritual all their adult lives. That’s because whether you’re a beginner or an advanced practitioner, when casting a pentagram you’re still trying to build an etheric body with as much life-energy as you can, as a loving, careful, attentive offering. This offering of blue etheric energy as I have said, is a concentrated offering of the nourishment of all things: attention. By slowly, carefully offering as much attention as you can, you are providing more of that nourishment, in as attentive and loving a way as you can.
Always remember that attention is the spiritual nourishment of all beings, be they spirits, gods, symbols, or your own family. This is why we should perform all ritual acts with as much and as long a focus of attention as we can afford. This is why we should, with every interaction that we care about, pay as much attention or mindfulness as possible. This is why we should spend as much attention as we can on those who are close to us, as we would with our children. And as one learns to behave like the Author of the Universe that one is, one will want to spend as much attention as one can on any beings, needs or celebrations that cross one’s path in life.
So, let’s summarize and think about what we’re doing here, in this part of the ritual. We take five deep breaths, each time soaking up energy by pore breathing. We exhale five times, each time slowly and attentively casting a line of a body for the living pentagram before us. We should see each line both before us on the wall or space immediately before us in one sense, and in another sense, in the infinite distance at the edge of the universe.
We are creating a living body for a living symbol. Like gods, angels, and all kinds of spirits, symbols are already living things whether they have bodies or not. When we worship gods, we offer them our concentrated attention (the nourishment of all things), and give them the means by which to take part in our experience. What does this concentrated attention, this nourishment look like? We could go into more detail on this subject than is fitting for this article, but attention in its most “bodily” form is this etheric energy that we see between our hands in the dark room. This energy is the same as the aura of the Sun, the ocean of life energy in which we live and from which makes up our own bodies. When we offer attention, we are making offerings of many types on many levels of interpretation, but in the most tangible way, concentrated attention has the form of blue etheric energy. How much attention are we paying, how much of an offering we are making if we whip our arms around, so fast that we actually make traces in our minds eye? Instead, a slow and careful, respectful, loving and mindful build-up of an etheric body, an almost physical body is what we’re trying to do here. We do it so that, like gods we might pray to and make offerings to, the Pentagram might live in our daily experience. We do it so the Pentagram can participate in our daily experience as a constant Reminder and Celebration of whom and what we really are.
With this offering of a living body, the Sacred Pentagram is going to be present around us, at the edge of the universe, throughout the day, with the power to share in our lives. It is going to participate by revealing its incredibly profound message and presence through hints, coincidences and if given enough life energy (concentrated attention, mindfulness) even speaking to us right out of the mouths of people in our daily experience. This activity of gods and spirits and symbols in our ordinary every-day life needs energy of a type that a god or spirit or symbol might not readily have. So you want to provide this body with as much life energy as you can, though remember, not your own bodily energy.
But we are not creating the symbol itself. That is timeless and infinite in its omnipresence. For example, how could we say we invented the number five? What we are doing is giving that principle a body by which it can move and express itself. We have a body with hands, and because of that, we can express our will by directing our hands. Our hands are not us, but we express ourselves through them. If we lose a hand to disease or an accident, we are still ourselves, but we can no longer express ourselves through that lost hand. Likewise, we are offering a Pentagram Being metaphorical hands by which it can express itself in our lives.
Ok, so we’re creating a body, which is a form of life. And the life we’re creating is not a human, nor animal, nor spirit, but a living symbol. Again, the details are beyond the scope of this article, but part of creating life involves charging it with an inspired purpose in life. As human beings, our purpose in life is to realize that we are living embodiments of the One Pure Consciousness, and to learn to behave like That. Once we have carried out this purpose, we will no longer be merely human, nor any longer embodied in human form unless we arrange to be. What is the purpose in life of a living, breathing, intelligent and perfectly aware symbol? Well, it depends on the context in which we find the symbol, as with the context of a word or letter of the alphabet.
In this act of life creation, having finished tracing the shape in a particular way, we are going to give that body an inspired purpose for this life. We are going to define what it is that this symbol is going to express in our lives. And, you guessed it, that purpose has to do with realizing who and what we really are and the nature of what our experience really is. The Pentagram can do this because the Pentagram is a symbol or reminder that involves how we experience everything, and how the Awareness relates to objects of Awareness. The Pentagram, being what it is and what it symbolizes, has special skills and talents to remind us of these things, and help us celebrate these things in every single experience we might have.
Charging with a Purpose in Life
Now, in this part of the ritual, we are actually casting four pentagrams around us, joined at their hearts by a circle that encloses us. Remember these are actually in the infinite distance, so the circle includes the entire universe: all possible experience. Immediately after casting each pentagram, we charge it with a magic word. Here I’m using the word “charge” in the sense of “appoint: assign a duty, responsibility or obligation to,” and “fill or load to capacity.” So in charging the living body we are providing for this pentagram, we are also defining its purpose in this life. The magic words with which we charge the heart of each, are words that define a particular role that each pentagram will play in constantly reminding us.
In the next part of this article, “The Habit of Bahaving Like Who We Really Are,” I will explore the meanings of the four magic words or Names of God, that we charge the Living Pentagrams with. I will explore how those particular charges help us to understand exactly how we are constantly creating all of our experiences. I will explore how those Name of God reveal us all to be Supreme Magicians, even if we don’t know it.
With this understanding, we will be in a position to examine meanings of the final two points of the pentagram. We will see how all four of those points describe the relationship of the topmost point, the One Pure Consciousness, to all experience. We will then see how the pentagram can be such a skillful reminder of whom and what we really are, and how it so perfectly represents the manner in which Awareness has experience. While it is beyond the scope of this article, with an understanding of how the pentagram reveals us to be such magicians, we can in turn see other ways the pentagram can help us. We will see what a difference drawing them in a different direction can be, or charging them with other inspired purposes to provide other specific influences on experience and reality.
We have started casting these four pentagrams in the East. This is the direction we normally face in all magical workings within the plane of the tangible universe. This facing is significant, because it gives us a clue to the real meanings, powers and purposes defined by these four magic words or Names of God that we charge the pentagrams with.
Given energy by which to move and act, they can take part in our daily lives through hints, arranged coincidences, and even talking to us through the people around us. They can express what we charged each one with doing in our lives (charged with the Names of God).