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Some Foundations Of Gd Ritual/cosmological Structure


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#21 Galuruthaz

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM

Thanks for clarifying the colour thingy.. I completely overlooked the issue of different systems using the same colours but with the different meanings attached to them. This one was an eye opener.

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You and I had this conversation many months ago, but the idea that what you're trying to do is seriously problematic clearly didn't stick. Maybe you'll understand what I mean better after this.


Nah, it did stick. :) I came to understand what the ritual conveys much better after it, but the depth of that understanding compared to yours is still astoundingly small. That's why I decided on doing the LBRP anyway, figured out that I'll figure it out by doing better than by theorizing, and I accepted the fact that I might burn myself in the process.

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At this point, if anyone wants to argue it, the argument to make is that the LBRP doesn't really embed a zodiacal alignment as I have claimed from the beginning of the thread. I'm happy to engage that discussion if anyone asks.

Well, I wouldn't really want to argue it since to be honest I don't believe that at the moment I have enough knowledge and the confidence to do so, but I'd really appreciate it if you could explain your reasoning in thinking that LRBP embedes a zodiacal alignment. Currently, the only thing I see in the LBRP are the qabalistic spheres, directions, elements, pentagram and hexagram, names of god and angelic visualizations. Zodiacal alignment isn't really obvious to me and it sounds like a stretch at best(not saying that it is, just that with my current understanding, the connection is invisible to me)

Also, do you think that practicing LBRP would still ingrain the Zodiacal alignment even if the practicant knows nothing about the astrology or zodiac?

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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" — Aleister Crowley


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I'm doubtful that Crowley saw things just the way I do, but inasmuch as he meant that the LBRP encodes core cosmological patterns, then I suppose so. A difference might be in the phrase, properly understood. I'm reasonably convinced that people don't need to understand the ritual to the level of detail I'm providing in this thread to be profoundly affected by its routine practice, for good or ill.


I've just recently found some rare writings of Crowley on LRBP. For those interested in the whole document, it can be found in the first issue of the volume one of "In Continuum" thelemic magazine. ( http://www.thelema.o...ations/itc.html ) or here: http://hermetic.com/...zius/ac5nts.htm

For the purposes of this thread, I'll cite the relevant part here:

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You are supposed to be standing at the intersection of the paths of Samekh and Peh. You are facing Tiphareth (the Sun), thus on your right hand is Netzach (Venus) on your left hand Hod (Mercury), and behind you Yesod (the Moon).
You take one step with the right heel in the hollow of the left foot towards Tiphareth and vibrate the Divine Name as given in the ritual. You then carry round the point of the wand towards Netzach, then take a step again (always recovering after each forward step so that you remain in the centre) and vibrating the Divine Name as before.
Continue the process facing Yesod and vibrating; then Hod, and vibrating; but carry the point of the Wand round to Tiphareth so as to complete the circle.

This is clearly different from what is REL talking about. No mention of Zodiac, and the whole thing is now associated with TOL paths and spheres. And that's the thing that puzzles me the most. It seems that anyone has its own take on what the LBRP means or it does.

How to decide on which one is right?

p.s. The first picture of the last post you have written is missing. (the common table ''below'')

p.p.s. Once again, thank you for writing all this stuff. I appreciate the effort to put all those thoughts "on paper" greatly.

p.p.s. If I'm following you correctly - so far the inconsistencies of the GD system you've mentioned lie in the tropical/sidereal zodiac, colours and tatwas. In case I got that one right, what you wrote so far seems very lucid and clear.

Edited by Galuruthaz, 14 August 2014 - 10:10 AM.

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#22 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 07:21 PM

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

Thanks for clarifying the colour thingy.. I completely overlooked the issue of different systems using the same colours but with the different meanings attached to them. This one was an eye opener.

The visible spectrum of light is limited, and even though color does run along an infinitely divisible spectrum of frequencies, color perception tends to be categorical. The effect is that there are only so many colors a system might use. The same is true of basic geometric shapes, like circles, squares, and triangles. Their physical properties and relationships among them can only carry so far. More specific meaning and function has to be assigned to them, then rendered functional by their coincident appearance, by persistent contiguity and contingency in their use.

In that regard we get what everyone around us gets by living life where we do and as it comes. To take a higher degree of control in that natural process, there is no more effective tool than ritual.

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

... I decided on doing the LBRP anyway, figured out that I'll figure it out by doing better than by theorizing, and I accepted the fact that I might burn myself in the process.

How many years of ineffectiveness do you suppose that's worth?

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

Well, I wouldn't really want to argue it since to be honest I don't believe that at the moment I have enough knowledge and the confidence to do so, but I'd really appreciate it if you could explain your reasoning in thinking that LRBP embedes a zodiacal alignment.

Start at the beginning of the thread, and I guess, try to read it more carefully than you have so far.

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

Currently, the only thing I see in the LBRP are the qabalistic spheres, directions, elements, pentagram and hexagram, names of god and angelic visualizations. Zodiacal alignment isn't really obvious to me and it sounds like a stretch at best(not saying that it is, just that with my current understanding, the connection is invisible to me)

The LBRP encodes more than a Zodiac, but the Zodiac is the fundamental organizing principle, which is why the Zodiac is encoded primarily by the structure of the ritual: deosil motion, the order and stations of the Elements, etc. The rest of what the LBRP encodes is layered on top of the structure. Your error is in thinking that it's all about the externalized symbols. You're not alone, but it is an error. Thinking about it in that manner without understanding the structure tends to lead to superstitious interpretations of the ritual. For example, the idea that some really tall being named Raphael really happens to like hanging out East of wherever you happen to be standing.

In your defense, even high-ranking members of the original Golden Dawn seem to be oblivious to what the structure of the ritual encodes, or how the Zodiac is the effective Rosetta Stone for the whole system. Mather's was a Theosophist. That explains a lot.

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

Also, do you think that practicing LBRP would still ingrain the Zodiacal alignment even if the practicant knows nothing about the astrology or zodiac?

Given sufficient cultural exposure, yes. The condition of contemporary post-industrial culture, however, seems to be quickly moving away from that being the case. The Information Revolution, massive migration, and the fruits of science have changed things. I've come to believe that all spiritual traditions are losing their potency, because each one initially developed in the context of a homogeneous culture that innately transmitted core assumptions about how the world is organized and how things work, across many generations. The coherence that came from that is giving way to very different cultural dynamics.

The salient case in point are the Classical European Elements, pretty much as handed down from Plato and/or Aristotle. Assumptions about them handily survived and were even integrated into the Romanized Christian conquest of Europe, and formed the basis of academic astronomy, physics, chemistry, and medicine at least into the Renaissance, and in the case of medical theory and practice, even trickling into the 20th Century. These core cosmological conceptions were with us for so long, they're infused into the fabric of European-based culture, though linguistic idiom, the arts, architecture, folklore, myths and tales, and so much more. We'll probably have remnants that tradition with us for a very long time to come, but their impact on how the world is interpreted going forward is diminishing. World knowledge is increasingly diffuse, and cultures are increasingly blending.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good thing for humanity, but I think the death knell has already sounded for ancient spiritual traditions. We can't rely on what we're born to now. We have to make well-reasoned choices instead.

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

This is clearly different from what is REL talking about. No mention of Zodiac, and the whole thing is now associated with TOL paths and spheres. And that's the thing that puzzles me the most. It seems that anyone has its own take on what the LBRP means or it does.

I haven't addressed how the TOL is encoded by the ritual up to this point, but again, the Zodiac is the proverbial Rosetta Stone for that too. If your studies were more comprehensive, you might be able to see it. I'm providing a lot of information that can help you figure it out, though, if you have a mind to.

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

How to decide on which one is right?

That's easy. I'm right.

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

p.s. The first picture of the last post you have written is missing. (the common table ''below'')

It's showing in my browser. You can construct your own table though. List the Signs of the Zodiac in order from Aries to Pisces in the first column. In a second column, list the Elements in Zodiacal order (Fire, Earth, Air, Water). In a third column, list the Modes in their proper order (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable). Because there are 4 Elements and 3 Modes, there are 4 X 3 permutations, so each Sign can be defined as one unique Element + Mode combination. For example, Aries and no other Sign is Cardinal Fire. The Signs are define this way as a consequence of the processional order of the Elements and Modes as they cycle through one course of the Zodiac.

I went on to add that those two processes operate against the backdrop of the Seasonal procession, to give a unique three-dimensional definition of each Sign. So if you ever wondered why descriptions of the Aries personality usually includes quick tempered, now you can understand it this way: it's Elemental Fire expressed as the Spring season ascends toward its peak.

View PostGaluruthaz, on 14 August 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

p.p.s. If I'm following you correctly - so far the inconsistencies of the GD system you've mentioned lie in the tropical/sidereal zodiac, colours and tatwas. In case I got that one right, what you wrote so far seems very lucid and clear.

I've also explained some of the ways in which the LBRP/GD cosmology is inconsistent with the generalized Western Tradition, and so will be at variance in important ways with Hermetic and Medieval literature, including most of the body of work we have on Alchemy and the grimoires. And because they also teach from some of that literature, they're at variance with themselves.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 14 August 2014 - 07:54 PM.

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#23 Galuruthaz

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 08:09 AM

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The visible spectrum of light is limited, and even though color does run along an infinitely divisible spectrum of frequencies, color perception tends to be categorical. The effect is that there are only so many colors a system might use. The same is true of basic geometric shapes, like circles, squares, and triangles. Their physical properties and relationships among them can only carry so far. More specific meaning and function has to be assigned to them, then rendered functional by their coincident appearance, by persistent contiguity and contingency in their use.


I see. It hasn't occured to me that such thing as colour could be a problem, but I think I now understand it clearly.

For example, I associate Ansuz with air, sky, thought and conciousness, and the color in which I envision this Rune is light blue, since in my mind this is the color of the air. But if I started practicing rituals the GD way, I'd learn that light blue means water, thus Ansuz would start getting associated with water too and that would add a lot to confusion, since the idea of water has its own completely different associations from the air ones. And that is just one example.. I can see how this would create a complete mess.

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How many years of ineffectiveness do you suppose that's worth?




Well it depends on what is meant by ineffectivness. I already get good ''results" in my daily life, and that is because my intuition is honed by the real-life experience and I don't think I can screw that up that badly. However I do think that my magic could as a result be completely ineffective and fail to produce the desired results, and that I wouldn't mind if in the end I'd come to the proper understanding of what am I actually doing - matters not how long does it takes me to get to that point.


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Start at the beginning of the thread, and I guess, try to read it more carefully than you have so far.


Did so. I've re-read the thread more carefully and I found these:

"One reason the GD orients Air to the East is because John Dee did so, and he did for reasons that predate him of course (an interesting study but beyond the current scope). The symbolism of Dawn as the primary turning point the defines new beginnings is simple enough to understand, and is reflected by GD ritual structure by starting their rituals facing East. The direction of motion in the GD temple is deosil, which means sunwise or clockwise to us, but is more importantly the apparent direction of the stars/constellations, and is by extrapolation, the natural order of the universe

Keeping that overall bit of structure in mind, the directional and Elemental alignment of the LBRP can be understood as following the Tropical Zodiacal pattern at the seasonal level. East is the direction of the turning point/new beginnings, and is therefore aligned with the Spring, the turning point/new beginnings of the Zodiac. So moving deosil, we can infer the following attributes: East-Air-Spring, South-Fire-Summer, West-Water-Autumn, and North-Earth-Winter."

"But as I point out above, in GD ritual structure, temple motion is deosil (clockwise), so the effect is that the ritualist is going along for the ride with the stars and the seasons. That is, if you wanted to depict the movement in a glyph similar to the above, you'd want to reverse the direction of the Signs, to match what the ritualist actually does."

"To recap, the first structural features I've considered are the choice to begin the rituals facing East, and to circumambulate the temple deosil. A point I may not have emphasized before is that each ritual describes a completion of a cycle by starting and ending at the same point. Completing one revolution around the temple in this manner encodes a particular Zodiacal alignment, keeping in mind that it's a tropical Zodiac aligned to the Spring Equinox."

"The choice of East as the beginning/completion point aligns the Zodiac with the seasons, setting the beginning point of the Zodiac at the Spring Equinox, which is highly consistent with Western Tradition in general"

"The fundamental basis of the Zodiac as employed by the GD is transmitted to the aspirant simply by having them address the East and bring Elemental Air to mind, followed by addressing South and bringing Elemental Fire to mind, followed by addressing West and bringing Elemental Water to mind, followed by addressing North and bringing Elemental Earth to mind, followed by completing the circle in the East."

Seems like I haven't payed enough attention the first time I was going through it.

So basically, Zodiac is implicit, and not obvious in the LBRP. What ''glues'' it to the ritual and its clockwise movement is its association with the elements, and the stronger that association is the more potent this effect of the LBRP is.


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I haven't addressed how the TOL is encoded by the ritual up to this point, but again, the Zodiac is the proverbialRosetta Stone for that too. If your studies were more comprehensive, you might be able to see it. I'm providing a lot of information that can help you figure it out, though, if you have a mind to.

I know very little about the zodiac, since astrology is something I wasn't really that interested in until recently. I believe that I'll be coming back to this thread many more times in the future, once my knowledge base gets bigger.

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It's showing in my browser. You can construct your own table though. List the Signs of the Zodiac in order from Aries to Pisces in the first column. In a second column, list the Elements in Zodiacal order (Fire, Earth, Air, Water). In a third column, list the Modes in their proper order (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable). Because there are 4 Elements and 3 Modes, there are 4 X 3 permutations, so each Sign can be defined as one unique Element + Mode combination. For example, Aries and no other Sign is Cardinal Fire. The Signs are define this way as a consequence of the processional order of the Elements and Modes as they cycle through one course of the Zodiac.

Tried the other browser, but its still not working. :\ Its not important though, your explanation is clear enough.
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#24 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 03:44 PM

Good ritual practice fundamentally changes how information is processed. If what the ritual encodes meaningfully reflects a good range of the dynamics of the world in which you live, information processing will improve and thereby enhance your ability to impose your will in that world.

That's the best case scenario. If the ritual design is good but what is encoded doesn't line up well with the dynamics of the world in which you live, information processing will still change, but to your detriment.

So, it doesn't matter how well you feel your life is going when you start. It can get better and it can get worse.

The Zodiac is implicitly encoded in the structure of GD ritual. You don't really need to think about it much. If you get the processional concept and the starting point, the ritual will automatically impose the zodiacal organization onto your psyche. What is then layered on top of the structure is what should reflect the dynamics of the would world in which you live.

Again that's in the best case scenario. The GD uses a lot of rituals and some of them seem to encode a different zodiac. I'll get into that going forward.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 15 August 2014 - 05:17 PM.

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#25 Imperial Arts

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 07:41 PM

I really didn't want to ibterrupt your dissertation, but thought I should chime in with some thoughts on this beloved ritual. It was my daily practice during high school and college years,and I still hold it in high regard.

This ritual encapsulates most of the major techniques of magic: sound and image concentration, differentiated gestures, the whole Magic Circle and the exercise of the Body of Light. A person could do far worse in choosing a regular practice.

I think the idea that the ritual coordinates or attunes you to a particular alignment of astrological or other powers is complete nonsense. This endless blather about "cosmology" is painful to read. Close the book, put down the pen, and pick up the wand if you want to understand the rites of magic.

Performance of the ritual defines a structure for magical work. The pentacle of Fire doesn't, on its own, mean or do anything. Using it, especially repeatedly, defines that peculiar series of gestures as the access-key for the powers of fire. When employed as such, the magician has some limited power within that element.

Similarly for the telesmatic images of the angels. You are giving form to them, an image under which their offices can manifest, so thet you are able to recognize and comprehend what is revealed to you.

All if the signs and figures of the ritual are arranged to mimic certain initiatory figures of the GD school. Aside from self-guided initiation ritual wherein the names and pentacles are made and ordained for the magician, frequent repetition is the best way to get the ritual to be of any practical use.

For what it is worth, I have tons of respect for people who use this ritual diligently, with knowledge or not.
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#26 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 08:14 PM

View PostImperial Arts, on 15 August 2014 - 07:41 PM, said:

I really didn't want to ibterrupt your dissertation, but thought I should chime in with some thoughts on this beloved ritual. It was my daily practice during high school and college years,and...

Is this a drive by unsubstantiated opinion post, or are you willing to discuss some of your ideas from a traditional, historical, literary, and/or experiential point of view?
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#27 Imperial Arts

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 08:25 PM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 15 August 2014 - 08:14 PM, said:


Is this a drive by unsubstantiated opinion post, or are you willing to discuss some of your ideas from a traditional, historical, literary, and/or experiential point of view?

Let's begin with you telling us all about your experience of the LBRP. How often did you use it, for how long, in what context (self-study, organized group work etc...), and with what idiosyncratic differences in performance?
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#28 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 10:13 PM

View PostImperial Arts, on 15 August 2014 - 08:25 PM, said:

Let's begin with you telling us all about your experience of the LBRP. How often did you use it, for how long, in what context (self-study, organized group work etc...), ...

Oh sure, my credentials. I'm sure I've detailed my personal history before, but probably not filtered for my exposure and use of GD-based rituals. Before I do though, group affiliations are private, and I don't assert authority based on any. The literature I rely on for historical/traditional context and analysis are available to everyone, so anyone has a fair basis for a historical/literary debate with me.

But you want my resume of experience, so here it is:

My first exposure to the general ritual structure was around 1976-78, in the form of circle casting and witchcraft. Something very much like the LBRP was taught to me and my girlfriend by her older sister, who also introduced us to tarot, spirit boards, automatic writing, candle wax divination, and other things. That led me to seek out more witches in my community, and I found them. In retrospect I recognize that circle casting in the basic form of GD ritual was probably the most common thing I found among those people.

I started buying occult-oriented books in the early 80s, which included the likes of Huson, Buckland, P. Crowther, the Farrar's,. Cunningham, etc., and at some point (probably by 85), Blavatsky, Crowley, and GD literature made its way into the collection. I was practicing goal-oriented magick, including circle casting, very routinely by then, and eventually figured out where that ritual structure came from. I began a committed, comprehensive developmental program in 1988, and continued on that path till about 2000, which included an average of 2 performances of the LBRP per day for many of those years, along with other related daily and periodical ritual practices, and a lot of reading from the Western Tradition.

View PostImperial Arts, on 15 August 2014 - 08:25 PM, said:

and with what idiosyncratic differences in performance?

I'm not sure what you're asking, but what I think is...

There were some breaks of weeks to a month or two in daily ritual practice within that time frame, which helped gain perspective on the work and what it was doing and how I might best proceed when I started up again. Toward the end of that period, my opinion about GD ritual structure was completely different from what it was when I started. In retrospect, I think I would have failed miserably in my work if that hadn't been the case. My life changed a lot in that time too, but that's a much longer post.

After 2000 I went to college (as a freshman) and completed a doctorate degree in psychology (cognitive neuroscience), and then an additional three years of postdoctoral training in advanced neurobehavioral genetics and neurochemistry research. During that epoch, with the time I could reasonably put toward it, I gradually developed a personal ritual program, which continues to evolve even now. It's based on my entire experience of magick practice, my acquired sense of the Western Tradition from the literature I've studied, and my professional opinion (based on my knowledge of theory and research literature) of how ritual affects the human complex and fosters change in the practitioner and the world at large.

I piloted a three-year ritual developmental program with two groups of students but suspended the program before either group finished level 2, for reasons I won't go into here. I will say that I've learned a lot from the students and I owe them each a great debt. Whomever said that the best way to learn about something is to teach it really knew something. I plan to substantially revise the training before piloting the program again. I have no projected date for that.

In the meantime, I like to work out my ideas about the human complex with the students I teach within the psychology department at a liberal arts college, and my more esoteric ideas here, with you good people.

If you or anyone has remaining questions that might help you assess my opinions, feel free to ask more specific questions. If it's not too personal, I'll share.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 15 August 2014 - 11:48 PM.

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#29 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 02:36 AM

View PostImperial Arts, on 15 August 2014 - 08:25 PM, said:

...in what context (self-study, organized group work etc...), and with what idiosyncratic differences in performance?

I thought about this question further and realized you were maybe asking about differences between solo performance and group performance. The LBRP-proper is designed to be a personal affair and has it's greatest impact on the individual who performs it, and that at its best when the operator is secluded. I've described how a good performance of the LBRP comes about in this recent thread. Trying to describe what the dance is like in the moment, what the real effects of the ritual are when one reaches a level of performance that can rightly be described as High Art cannot be shared one to another by declaration. We could hazard metaphor, but any description is going to be inherently misleading.

I can say that those effects aren't happening at ceremonial group openings. A way lot of groups use the LBRP as is or try to adapt it for a general opening and closing for group workings, with variable results, but almost always trivial at best. I have seen it done fairly well a few times. The most entertaining performance of the LBRP I watched was hands down performed by Poke Runyon at an open OTA Summer Solstice event. They went on to perform a rather elegant opening ceremony after that. Even so, it was a show; it wasn't magick. Overall it's my experience that a group ritual is only strong as the weakest member present, even if they're just standing there observing. There are better opening and closing ceremonies than the LBRP for group work, but people have to learn and practice their roles to art-level to make those work well.

And when they do work well, the effects depend on the specific ceremony's form, purpose, and the performance. Whatever those happen to be, I wouldn't say they produce the effects of the LBRP for a group. They produce effects that are more suitable for group work, which necessarily includes bringing people together on a very intimate level, whereas the LBRP is inherently isolating, in a manner of speaking.
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#30 wren

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 03:41 AM

I appreciate the effort you've put into this series of posts, REL. I'm looking forward to the Grimorium Verum tie in.

#31 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 07:30 AM

View Postwren, on 16 August 2014 - 03:41 AM, said:

I appreciate the effort you've put into this series of posts, REL. I'm looking forward to the Grimorium Verum tie in.

I appreciate that. My thoughts on the G. Verum probably won't be as interesting as you might hope.

In the meantime, I've put together a tabular zodiac to help readers visualize the organization I've been discussing, in MS Excel format (download).

Notes.

1. The seasonal aliment is based on Spring Equinox = 0°, though the timing is not truly important in my opinion. I consider the "seasons" of this zodiac as representative of qualities rather than literal timings.

2. The range of degrees are given as 0-5° on one row, 5-10° on the next row, and so on, because the clock is always ticking. The actual point that is 0°, or 5°, or 90° are fleeting moments that are passed in equal measure with every other moment: so consider that the dividing line between 0-5° and 5-10° is exactly 5° but it only lasts a nanosecond (or less): the range before it belongs to the first quinance and the range after it belongs to the second quinance, etc.
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#32 ChaosTech

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 07:36 AM

Yes this is your best thread Eugene, I must say! I've been practicing Modern Magick, and have memorized the LBRP, MPR, and BRH, perfectly, even looked on YouTube how to "vibrate," which to me is just singing the words of power I learned.

I have bought the most recent editions of many grimoires too, The Picatrix, Lesser Key of Solomon, Greater Key of Solomon, The Black Pullet, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, 4th Book Occult Philosophy, Abramelin the Mage, Sword of Moses, 6th and 7th books of Moses, The Magus or Celestial Intelligencer, and Sepher Raziel. As well as Idres Shaw's The Secret Lore of Magic and Wait's The Book of Ceremonial Magic. I have read about half of these so far.
[i]There are no gods but God, we know him through his order, his mind, the the miracle Jesus Christ. Give up most magic, give up enlightenment and or transcendence. No one can behold God, infinite is beyond, submit and know it creates and sustains creation forever. No true limit, no true death, no true nothingness. E=MC2, and gain and sustainability are greater than loss. The universe infinitely is expanding, growing becoming better and more immortal as are we. Resist evil, for it is an excess, ultimately a lie of true death. There is hell, as the Bible says, but there is choice! Choose wisely. Human origins, cosmic life, magical creatures, heaven, hell, earth and purgatory, many religions. Fascinating indeed, but in this world, no man was like Jesus Christ, and has the worlds largest faith.[\i]

#33 wren

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 03:41 PM

View PostR. Eugene Laughlin, on 16 August 2014 - 07:30 AM, said:

2. The range of degrees are given as 0-5° on one row, 5-10° on the next row, and so on, because the clock is always ticking. The actual point that is 0°, or 5°, or 90° are fleeting moments that are passed in equal measure with every other moment: so consider that the dividing line between 0-5° and 5-10° is exactly 5° but it only lasts a nanosecond (or less): the range before it belongs to the first quinance and the range after it belongs to the second quinance, etc.

On the more pragmatic side, most/some/me? people are trying to use the zodiac as a backdrop around which planetary and celestial bodies can be placed into a significant arrangement for woo1 purposes. When you add planets into the mix, you get "orbs" which have the planet exerting influence over arcs of the zodiac at a time. Exact degrees are iffy business when considering wheels moving within wheels moving within wheels. Bottom line, there's even less of a need to worry about exact degrees when you start applying the zodiac into a working with planets, fixed stars, and other assorted pretty lights. You generally work with "windows" and not instants.

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1 What exactly constitutes woo will be left to the reader. However, 'woo' has been sliding into a more and more pejorative connotation. I like onomatopoeias, and so would like to staunch this by using woo as the rightfully vague and ambiguous, but non-judgemental word that I learned it as.

#34 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 07:39 PM

View Postwren, on 16 August 2014 - 03:41 PM, said:

On the more pragmatic side, most/some/me? people are trying to use the zodiac as a backdrop around which planetary and celestial bodies can be placed into a significant arrangement for woo1 purposes. When you add planets into the mix, you get "orbs" which have the planet exerting influence over arcs of the zodiac at a time. Exact degrees are iffy business when considering wheels moving within wheels moving within wheels. Bottom line, there's even less of a need to worry about exact degrees when you start applying the zodiac into a working with planets, fixed stars, and other assorted pretty lights. You generally work with "windows" and not instants.

I'm glad for the opportunity to elaborate on this issue. It's a big source of confusion for people, because we tend to learn the Zodiac as a collection of states, but that is highly misleading.

The point of explaining how to read the table's dividing lines, and particularly in pointing out that "the clock is always ticking" was to emphasize that the markers aren't the thing; they're a convenience that allows us to understand what's between them, which in every case is not a state but a particular process.

"Spring," for example, is the transition between "Winter" and "Summer." "Summer" is a transition between "Spring" and Autumn," and so on. The transition happening over the course of a season is specified to a greater degree of detail by the Modes, which are processes in themselves. The "Cardinal Mode" is the season as it steadily progressing away from the previous season and toward the current season's most uniquely characteristic expression. The "Mutable Mode" is the opposite of the "Cardinal, the progression away from the most uniquely characterizing qualities of the season and toward next season. The "Fixed Mode" is the transition between the Cardinal process and the Mutable process.

As such, the "Fixed Mode" of a season is also understood as the expression of its most uniquely characterizing qualities, which has more of a lingering or state quality to it, but it too is an advancing process. Setting the Elements aside for the moment, look to the next level of specification, the Decans. These are the processes between the 10° markers (three to a Sign because each Sign courses over 30° of the zodiacal wheel). The Decans mirror the Modal pattern, but within each Sign rather than within a Season. So the first Decan of a Sign is the Ascendent, the transition from the previous Sign toward the most uniquely characteristic qualities of the Sign. The third Decan is the Cadent, the progression away from the most uniquely characteristic qualities of the Sign and on toward the next Sign. The second Decan, the Succedent, is akin to the Fixed Mode, with more of a lingering feel than the Ascendent or the Cadent.

But really, neither the Fixed Mode (of any given season) nor the Succedent Decan (of any given Sign) are states in the proper sense. They're processes too: they describe the processes that occurs around the peak moment, the final ascent and first decline to put a phrase to it. They're on relative time scales, but also notice that at the hypothetical peak moment, they line up. There are a lot of things one can notice (and learn to exploit) when looking at this Zodiac in tabular form or other various ways.

What those process labels actually mean could be specified, mandated by stock definitions, published lists of correspondences, etc. That is typically how it's taught (google Pisces and you can read all about it, and Elemental Water, etc.). For me, that is the superstitious approach: accept what past peoples believed and act as if they were right. There's a better way to go about it in my opinion. which I'll get to eventually.

For now, having hammered the process vs, state issue to death, I'll answer your specific question. One function of the LBRP and rituals like it is to, in effect, remove or free the operator from Space-Time. The ritual itself builds up their personal zodiac with the operator at the center. The idea is that the magician is not bound by the movement of the stars, but (theoretically) has access to (and presumably can aim) the powers that move them. The As Above, So Below maxim is how the magician is presumed to be able to learn how those grand forces are expressed at every level of existence, including their own life and circumstances.

As for the planets, they appeared to "wander" somewhat freely against the background of the fixed stars to the early astronomers, and as such they came to represent something akin to personality types. So for me, the most natural interpretation for a given planet or combination of planets in various positions on the zodiac is to understand how a given personality type might behave differently in different contexts, or if present during particular transitions. So, how does a gregarious personality behave at the beginning of the business day vs. midday, vs, closing time?

Several common techniques exploit these ideas, methods for making amulets, for example. And a lot of people have done so with good report and without concern for astronomical alignments. There is a lot of literature describing astrological election, selecting the timing of an operation, presumably according to astronomical alignments. As I've discussed already, stellar alignments are problematic, whether Tropical, Sidereal, based around Polaris, or Regulus according to Mathers/GD papers... It just doesn't work well and the reason is painfully obvious: the earth isn't the center of the universe, galactic orbits vary, most of the actual stars from which the light we see emanated are long gone, and astronomical constellations against the vault of the sky from our point of view are an optical illusion. One can make a case for God sending us messages that way, but as pointed out above, it isn't necessary for successful application of zodiacal principles. One can instead use the zodiac to define and index the processes of life, label the processes for convenience, and then go about the business of aligning their soul accordingly: as Above, so Below. But moreover, for the magician: as Within so Without. That's the basis of practical magick. Order the soul and the will reflected within becomes the will without.

As mentioned earlier, I'm focused on the zodiac in this dissertation, because it is the more foundational level of analysis. Anyone familiar with the GD scheme knows that their literature and rituals encode the TOL onto the human body. There's more explicit literature on the TOL than the zodiac, but as I have asserted, the zodiac is the key to understanding even that.

By the way, there's a typo on the 68th row of the table, in the range column. It should read 330-335°. There may well be other typos. I'm famous for typos.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 16 August 2014 - 09:58 PM.

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#35 wren

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 09:31 PM

That was informative. I don't mean to derail the thread further, so I'm forgoing the reply that I suspect would lead to at least two pages worth of back-and-forth.

#36 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 09:39 PM

I don't mind discussing issues as they arise and coming back to my theme by and by, personally. I especially want that when it helps me understanding how my posts may seem cryptic due to unexpressed background information I have in my mind when I compose them. It's up to you to ask questions if you want and I reserve the right to answer them or not presently depending on the state of the thread and my goals.
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#37 wren

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:20 PM

OK, then.

It seems to me that instead of one zodiac, the Western tradition has (at least) two.

While the Mansions of the Moon are just now experiencing a revival, the Picatrix is a significant cornerstone text informing our tradition. In it there's a considerable amount of attention paid to the Mansions of the Moon.

That's a lunar zodiac as well as a solar/tropical zodiac. I think there's a case to be made for an inclusion of the sidereal system as well, since the fixed stars are also used.

A lot of that can be waved away by fiat, and that's not necessarily the wrong approach to take. It just makes me wonder if something like a truly generic take on the Western Tradition is possible, and if possible if it is worth engaging with because it has lost... not context, but ...maybe specificity? I'm not sure what I'm trying to express, but I think that maybe viewing the Western tradition like Christianity might be the way to go. The important bit is the apostolic succession, and not necessarily the cosmology. A wandering bishop is as much a part of the Christian tradition as a Catholic priest or an Episcopal vicar.1 I guess what I mean to say is that as a living tradition western magic is messy and that's OK.
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1For the sake of argument. I don't pretend to want to lecture on Christian Theology.

#38 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 12:17 AM

View Postwren, on 16 August 2014 - 10:20 PM, said:

OK, then.

It seems to me that instead of one zodiac, the Western tradition has (at least) two.

While the Mansions of the Moon are just now experiencing a revival, the Picatrix is a significant cornerstone text informing our tradition. In it there's a considerable amount of attention paid to...

A zodiac is essentially a cyclic arrangement, one denotation being a recurring set of things, or a sequence of events that repeats itself cyclically. More simply, a zodiac is a circuit, or a circle. In contemporary culture, one particular zodiac is so thoroughly common, people more often speak of the zodiac, and there seems to be little general understanding that there is in fact an infinite potential for any number of zodiacs, or that zodiacs don't have to be astrological or astronomical. It's that the seasons and revolution of heavenly bodies are cyclic that makes organizing a particular set of ideas around them a zodiac.

Again, there's a good case for a solid liberal arts education for all aspiring occult studies enthusiasts. Studying the specific body of literature that we tend to consider ours in isolation of the history and sociology of cultures and contexts from which it developed is inherently misleading, and tends to perpetuate superstition. In this case, all one needs to read to get a basic understanding that using a zodiac isn't tantamount to being an astrologer is a dictionary.

With that insight in hand, we might begin to consider whether or not a given zodiacal arrangement found in some text from some era is compatible with arrangements found in other texts hailing from other eras. As you say, it's a messy business. There is no single, unified line of thought in the Western Tradition. It's been made exponential more messy in modern times too, by the huge impact of the GD's Theosophical mixing, matching, and shoehorning, and a nearly complete lack of academic standards in modern occult literature.

As you also point out, there are plenty of lines running through the Western Tradition that don't use any zodiac at all. For my part, I don't feel it's necessary to use a zodiac to learn or practice magick, but there are good and traditional reasons to do so. After all, a lot of people have made hey with them, and the world in which we live does indeed include cycles and rhythms. I suppose my generally Pagan heart appreciates a tropical zodiac, because there are seasons and other natural phenomena that cycle, the flora and fauna cycle with them, and so does a lot of modern human cultural phenomena. The as Above, so Below maxim is an admonishment to me to pay attention to nature on all levels. If I were to claim a religious dogma, it would be that everything we need to know is encoded by the cycles, rhythms, and interactive dynamics in nature. So for me, a tropical zodiac is ideal.

If that choice is made, we should turn our attention toward having a good zodiac to use, one that's coherent/internally consistent, and one that reflects the actual dynamics of the world in which one lives. Those are not easy questions to sort out. I've been working on them in one way or another for well over 20 years now, though I'm sure I didn't always know what's what I was doing. I think that's what all sincere seekers do naturally, intuitively. I've just become more systematic about it in the wake of my walk through the higher education system.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 17 August 2014 - 12:57 AM.

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#39 wren

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 12:57 AM

The possibility of a terrestrial "astrology" is actually pretty big in my mind. Annual fluctuations like the el nino effect means that "spring" isn't going to fall on Aries 0 in any of the systems consistently. Rather, the local folklore says that planting time/last frost/the beginning of spring comes when the pecan trees green. This is in many ways closer to the origins of astrology, which started as a collection of meteorological and astronomical omens. It's a flexible way to measure time that is able to sway a bit with the vagaries of the yearly cycle. Of course, this is a seriously different way of looking at time-keeping from the mainstream Western perspective, but, on the upside, your correspondence charts write themselves in the plant and animal columns. What is available is what corresponds to the "sign."

#40 R. Eugene Laughlin

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 01:39 AM

View Postwren, on 17 August 2014 - 12:57 AM, said:

The possibility of a terrestrial "astrology" is actually pretty big in my mind. Annual fluctuations like the el nino effect means that "spring" isn't going to fall on Aries 0 in any of the systems consistently. Rather, the local folklore says that planting time/last frost/the beginning of spring comes when the pecan trees green. This is in many ways closer to the origins of astrology, which started as a collection of meteorological and astronomical omens. It's a flexible way to measure time that is able to sway a bit with the vagaries of the yearly cycle. Of course, this is a seriously different way of looking at time-keeping from the mainstream Western perspective, but, on the upside, your correspondence charts write themselves in the plant and animal columns. What is available is what corresponds to the "sign."

Any zodiac is possible, but to be a zodiac, it's going to have 0° point. That's where the grand cycle starts and restarts, whatever defines that, however you define the consecutive processes, etc. It doesn't haven't be based on an annual time frame. I think developing a useful zodiac that way is big, big project. Defining and organizing the processes of nature in a manner that's comprehensive enough to address pretty much any goal a magician might want? I don't know. Keep in mind that the timing doesn't matter anyway. It's the meaning of the transitions; and those can be in/evoked at will, given sufficient preparation.

I agree that the specific correspondences that rightly belong to each transition in a zodiac are best left to deep reflection and personal discovery, as opposed to taking them lock, stock and barrel from published lists, but the overall organization scheme? Why reinvent The Wheel? Heh.

The Western Tradition is messy, but is massively useful if addressed comprehensively.

Edited by R. Eugene Laughlin, 17 August 2014 - 01:40 AM.

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