The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (or LBRP for short) is considered by many to be the cornerstone of the Golden Dawn tradition of Ritual Magic. It was created by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a mystical order founded in 1888 by three British Freemasons: S.L. MacGregor Mathers, William Wynn Westcott, and William Robert Woodman. Before the Order disbanded in 1900 (splintering into multiple separate organizations), it contained such famous members as the Irish Poet W.B. Yeats, authors A.E. Waite and Dion Fortune, and the so-called “Wickedest Man in the World”, Aleister Crowley.
The LBRP is a relatively simple ritual in its practice, though it incorporates many layers of complex symbolism within its structure. It is used primarily to banish unwanted negative influences from the space of the magician, but has a multitude of other uses as well, such as centering oneself, expanding one’s aura, aligning oneself to the energies of the sun and clearing temple space before and after evocation rituals. Aleister Crowley, when speaking about the LBRP said:
“Those who regard this ritual as a mere device to invoke or banish spirits, are unworthy to possess it. Properly understood, it is the Medicine of Metals and the Stone of the Wise.”
The aspiring magician would do well, then, to study, learn, and memorize the LBRP.
Before we discuss the “script and blocking” of the ritual, there are a few correspondences that must be established.
East is where most magickal rituals begin, and even when they do not, the temple or ritual space used is almost always oriented toward the East (The Rising Sun). That being said, the elemental attributions of the four directions are as follows:
East – Air
South – Fire
West – Water
North – Earth
It has been said that Hermetic magick from the Golden Dawn (the originators of the LBRP) deals mostly with the “Solar Current”, i.e. the forces or energies surrounding the Sun. When you perform the LBRP, you will note that one begins in the East, where the Sun rises, and travel “deosil” (clockwise), in the same way that the sun moves throughout the sky. Also, the God-names vibrated at each quarter specifically correspond to the orientation of the Sun, rather than the elements found at each quarter.
East – Dawn – YHVH (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh): The name of God signifying the mystery of creation.
South – Noon – Adonai: “The Lord”, the Sun at its zenith.
West – Sunset – Eheieh: “I am that I am/will be”, the setting Sun, hinting at resurrection.
North – Night – AGLA (Ah-Gu-Lah): Short for “Ateh Gibor Le’ohlam Adonai” or “Thou art mighty forever, my Lord”. A blessing to the Sun as it “travels in darkness”.
That being said, we will return to the elements and their rulers. One calls the names of four mighty Archangels when they perform the LBRP. Each of the 4 Archangels rules a direction, as well as the element associated with that direction.
Raphael – East – Air
Michael – South – Fire
Gabriel – West – Water
Uriel – North – Earth
A specific color is relegated to each of the elements, as well. These are:
Yellow – Air – Raphael
Red – Fire – Michael
Blue – Water – Gabriel
Black – Earth – Uriel
When you visualize the Archangels, each will be holding a “weapon” of sorts. The weapons are as follows:
Raphael — Caduceus Wand of Wisdom
Michael — Flaming Sword of Righteousness
Gabriel — The Holy Graal Chalice
Uriel — The Disk/Pentacle, sometimes held as a Shield
Note: Many people become confused at this point in the ritual due to the Tarot correspondences associated with similar ritual implements. In Tarot, Wands are associated with the element of Fire whilst Swords are associated with the element of Air. It should be noted that those implements are not the traditional implements of the two Archangels in question for specific reasons.
Firstly, Wands are associated with Fire in the Tarot due to their correspondence to the Qabalistic world of Atziluth. In this regard, Fire is seen not as the combustion of materials, but as the initial spark of life that animates and inspires all living things. It is passion in the truest, most primal sense, and is therefore unrefined. Torches and kindling come to mind. The Wand held by the Archangel Raphael, however, is the Caduceus wand of Hermes/Mercury, known as the divine physician. The literal translation of the name Raphael is “God Heals”. Air, the element governed by Raphael, rules the intellect, and the Caduceus has been viewed as an implement of wisdom since its inception. One should also note that in certain Grimoires (most notably the Heptameron), Raphael is associated with the Planet Mercury.
The Swords of the Tarot, along these same lines, are implements of the intellect. Although in many cases used for war (a firey, martial endeavor), the creation of a sword takes knowledge, skill, artfulness, and metallurgical prowess honed by years of instruction. In contrast, the Sword of the Archangel Michael is not constructed by men out of steel, but is an implement of pure, celestial flame.
So, when we completely combine these correspondences, we are left with:
East – Air – Yellow – Raphael – Caduceus – Dawn – YHVH
South – Fire – Red – Michael – Flaming Sword – Noon – Adonai
West – Water – Blue – Gabriel – Chalice – Sunset – Eheieh
North – Earth – Black – Uriel – Pentacle – Evening – AGLA
Now then, there is the necessary “drawing of the banishing Earth Pentagram” found at each direction of this ritual. One will draw a standard Pentagram in the air with either their finger or a consecrated dagger of some kind (I personally prefer the finger). To draw the banishing Earth pentagram (see figure below), specifically, you would begin at the bottom left point of the pentagram and travel up and center, to the top center point of the pentagram. To further clarify, if I use my right hand to draw the pentagram, I begin with my right arm across my body, finger pointing down towards a point past my left hip, and then draw a line up and towards the center, so that the next point is above the middle of my forehead, followed by a downward line past my right hip, etc., until we are finally back where we started and we have visualized a bright, deep-blue, flaming pentagram.
You will be connecting the pentagrams with a bright, flaming red “line”, which, when completed, will be circular (if hypothetically viewed from above). It should be noted by the student that the colors Blue and Red correspond directly to the Tree of Life Sephiroth of Chessed (Mercy) and Geburah (Might), respectively. Another name for Chessed is “Gedulah” (see the “Qabalistic Cross” section of the ritual). Know that the balancing point of these two Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, is the Sephirah of Tiphareth (Beauty), which is not only considered to be the Sphere of the Sun, but also the 6th Sephirah on the Tree of Life (see the mention of “the 6-Rayed star”, in the LBRP itself).
During the “Qabalistic Cross” beginning and ending of the ritual, you will bless yourself in a manner similar to a Christian “crossing themselves”. However, there are a few key differences. Firstly, you never actually touch yourself, but hover your hand slightly in front of the area being “blessed”, and sense the energy coming through your hand/fingertips touch your body. The Cross is also made Up, Down, Right, Left, and finally your arms are crossed in an “X” over your chest, much like an Egyptian Mummy — note that this pose was regularly known in Golden Dawn literature as “The Sign of Osiris Risen. In the Qabalistic Cross, you are superimposing the Tree of Life over your own body, and blessing yourself accordingly.
Alrighty then. Down to Business.
The Banishing Pentagram of Earth
The Sign of the Enterer
The Sign of Silence (Harpocrates)
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (script and blocking)
Begin the ritual facing East.
I. The Qabalistic Cross.
1. “Touch” your forehead and vibrate “A-Tah”.
2. “Point” towards your feet and “touch” your genitals. Vibrate “Malkuth”.
3. “Touch” your right shoulder and vibrate “Ve-Geburah”.
4. “Touch” your left shoulder and vibrate “Ve-Gedulah”
5. Cross your arms over your chest in the sign of Osiris Risen and vibrate “Le-Olam, Amen”.
II. The Pentagrams.
1. Facing East, step forward with your left foot and draw the Banishing Earth Pentagram in the air in front of you. Visualize the pentagram made of bright, blue flame. After created, step forward with your left foot and extend both of your hands at the level of your eyes into the center of the pentagram (known as the “Sign of the Enterer”) and “charge” it by vibrating the word “YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH”. When the vibration is finished, place your left forefinger to your bottom lip as if you were telling someone to be silent (Sign of Silence/Harpocrates/Hoor-paar-kraat). Extend your right forefinger into the pentagram that you recently charged and draw a flaming red line as you walk Deosil (clockwise) from the East to the South. Repeat this process for every Pentagram until you find yourself facing East once again and you have connected the flaming red line/circle.
2. Facing South, draw the Pentagram, vibrate the word “AH-DO-NAI”.
3. Facing West, draw the Pentagram, vibrate the word “EH-HEI-EH”.
4. Facing North, draw the Pentagram, vibrate the word “AH-GU-LAH”.
5. Facing East again, close the line/circle, and take a step back into the center of the circle. You should now visualize a pentagram of bright blue flame at each of the 4 directions, each connected by a flaming red line/thread/circle that surrounds you as well.
III. The Archangels.
1. Taking a deep breath, raise and extend your arms up and out to your sides as if you were being Crucified (or about to give someone a really big hug). Visualise four Tall, Robed and Hooded figures surrounding you, each at a different direction.
2. Say: “Before me RAPHAEL, Behind me GABRIEL, To my right hand MICHAEL, To my left hand URIEL. For about me flames the Pentagram, and in the Column inside of me stands the Six-Rayed star.”
(Remember to visualize the corresponding robe-color and weapon of each Archangel. When you say “about me flames the Pentagram”, visualize the pentagrams you previously drew “flaring” slightly, controlled by your concentration. When you mention the “six-rayed star”, visualize a bright golden-yellow Hexagram shining from within your heart. It is also advisable to vibrate the name of each Archangel.)
3. Take a deep breath, and while exhaling through your mouth, let your arms drop slowly to your sides.
Finish the ritual by repeating step I. The Qabalistic Cross., and finally close by placing your left forefinger to your bottom lip in the Sign of Harpocrates (Silence) and exhale.