Drawing The Earth Banishing
by Simon Jester
Now that you've gotten some of the history of the pentagram symbol from the last blog entry, let's begin to learn how to draw different kinds of pentagrams and project them into the Astral Light for the purposes of banishing and invoking. It's best to practice any ritual gestures first when learning a ritual. Wait till you're comfortable with the gestures before trying to learn any of the incantations that accompany their use. A lot of people rush into a ritual and try to memorize the movements and the magical words, names, and phrases all at the same time. It's best to divide a specific ritual into component parts and learn it one part at a time, only moving on to the next part once you've completely mastered the first one.
We'll start by focusing on the Earth Banishing Pentagram because that's the form of the pentagram used in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (or LBRP, to employ the current trendy acronym).
You will remember from our last blog that each point of the pentagram is associated with one of the four classical elements, with the topmost point being assigned to the quintessential element of the Spirit. When banishing an element, you draw the pentagram by starting at the point of the element you want to banish and moving away from it toward the next point. The Earth Banishing Pentagram is formed thus:
You start at the point assigned to Earth and form the first line by drawing away from it and upward toward the Spirit point. Then form a line downward toward the Fire point. From here, draw a line toward the Air point, then the Water point, and finally back toward the Earth point where your pentagram began.
In the LBRP, you must draw this pentagram in the air in front of you with either your fingers or a consecrated knife or sword. Since many of you do not yet have consecrated magical weapons, you will be using the fingers of your right hand. The proper way to hold your fingers when you draw magical symbols in the air is to extend your index and middle fingers and fold your ring and little fingers into the palm while covering them with your thumb. This is the traditional Sign of Blessing, but if it is too awkward, simply extend your index finger as you do when pointing.
In the LBRP, the Earth Banishing Pentagram is formed four separate times while standing and facing each of the four cardinal directions. To practice drawing this pentagram, stand up and move your right hand, with fingers pointed as indicated above, downward to a region slightly left of your left hipbone. Keeping your arm straight, move your hand upward to the region above and in front of your head. Then, still keeping your arm straight, move your hand downward to the region slightly to the right of your right hipbone. Next, move your hand upward to a point at the left and in front of your left shoulder, then swing your extended arm in front of you to a point at the right and in front of your right shoulder. Finish by moving your hand downward to the point where you began in front of and to the left of your left hipbone. By performing these movements, you will have formed an Earth Banishing Pentagram.
This sounds complicated, but it becomes quite easy to do. Practice these movements until you can do them with confidence. Then begin to visualize the lines of the pentagram forming in bright white light as you draw them. This is a matter of crucial importance. In order for a ritual to be effective, you must use your ability to imagine and see things in your mind's eye. You must imagine that you are forming a pentagram of light in front of you and that you can see it hovering in the air while you continue with the ritual. As you practice making the movements necessary to draw the pentagram, simultaneously work on visualizing the figure you are drawing. This is the magical technique that projects the pentagram onto the Astral Plane and gives it power. Try to remember all the metaphysical significance that this symbol possesses and feel its potent magical energies tingling through your body and through the room around you. Try to hear the sizzling sound of electricity as the lines you draw flash like lightening. Try to smell the scent of ozone in the air.
Once you have mastered the movements and visualizations used to draw your Earth Banishing Pentagram, you can begin to practice casting the pentagrams into the Four Quarters while connecting them together with a magic circle. If you're performing the LBRP in a large room, you can walk to each of the quarters and draw the pentagrams. But if space is limited, simply stand in the center of the room and turn to face the quarters as you cast the circle. This is a simple procedure, but, in order for it to be effective, you must visualize it with a high degree of concentration.
Begin by standing facing east. Here you will draw the first Earth Banishing Pentagram using the procedure explained above. When you have drawn it, thrust your pointed fingers into the center to charge it. (I will give you the Name of Power used to charge the four pentagrams in the next entry.) Keeping your arm extended, turn slowly to your right and to the south, imagining that a line of fire or white light is shooting from your fingertips connecting your first pentagram to a point directly south of where you are standing. Stop at this quarter and draw another Earth Banishing Pentagram. Charge it and turn to the west, again visualizing the line of light from your fingertips forming a line. Stop at the point due west of where you're standing and form a third Earth Banishing Pentagram. By now you have formed half of your magic circle. Charge the western pentagram as before, and turn to the north, imagining the line of fiery light extending to a point due north of where you stand. Draw the fourth and final Earth Banishing Pentagram, charge and turn back to the eastern pentagram, imagining that the line of light now closes to form a complete circle around you that connects all the pentagrams.
These are basically all the movements needed to perform the LBRP. Practice them until you are comfortable with them and can visualize the pentagrams and the circle forming around you. In the next blog entry, I will tell you the Names of Power used to charge the pentagrams and the invocations that you will make to the Four Archangels of the Cardinal Directions. Afterwards, I'll discuss some of the history and Hermetic philosophy behind this ritual.