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Secrets of the Hexagram

As we have seen, one of the symbols associated with Trump 5 is the Pentagram in which context it represents the human form. The head is at the top, the arms are outstretched and the legs spread apart. In this diagram, one human being stands for the entire species. pentagramManEach human being is a microcosm, a representation, constructed on a smaller scale, of the macrocosm, the entire magnificent and diverse universe. The Pentagram, therefore, is a symbol of the Microcosm.

Turning to the Lovers tarot card , we find occultists associating it with the Hexagram in the form of the Seal of Solomon and assigning it the Latin tag Pentagrammatica Libertas. The Six-pointed star, or Hexagram, makes clear sense since the number of the card is Six. But why does the Pentagram make a reappearance here in the form of the Pentagrammatica Libertas? Let us go through the problem step by step.


The Hexagram is the symbol for the Macrocosm, just as that Pentagram is a symbol of the Microcosm. The Macrocosm, as I’ve said, embraces the whole Universe, a term sometimes applied to Trump 21 as an alternative to The World. Indeed, we will encounter the hexagram again when we come to investigate the properties of Trump 21. Occult teaching is that, if the student magician can, though esoteric practices, align themself with the harmony of the Universe, they will attain a state of liberation analogous to the state that Buddhism calls Nirvana. If that reading of the microcosm and the macrocosm is taken into account, it becomes apparent that the inner meaning of Pentagrammatica Libertas is “the freedom of human will”. When human will is brought into harmony with the will of the Cosmos it can work marvels. In coming into harmony with the will of the Cosmos, human will is absorbed into a higher will and aligned with it in such a fashion that human will desires what the will of the Cosmos desires, naturally, of its own free choice and without dissension.

This formula is reflected in the divinatory significances certain well-respected occultists assign to Trump 6. Paul Foster Case interprets The Lovers as meaning, “Attraction, beauty, love. Harmony of inner and outer life.” A.E. Waite takes a similar view of the card: “Material union, affection, desire, natural love, passion, harmony of things; contains also the notions of modus vivendi, concord and so forth; equilibrium.” These are attributes associated with the card’s geometric figure, the Hexagram, wherein two triangles, one upward facing, the other downward facing, are interlocked, forming a balanced, harmonious figure. It can represent the amicable union of two people or, as Paul Foster Case puts it, the “harmony of the inner and outer life” of an individual.

r-w-lovers     BOTA Lovers

The Lovers has other meanings, relating to the ordeals the initiate goes through as they travel the road to adepthood. The rationale to these ordeals is that they bring about harmony within the soul of the candidate for adepthood by ironing out any kinks that exist within the candidate’s inner nature. However, these ordeals are not the subject of our scrutiny in this review of the esoteric principles lying behind, and working through, the tarot Trumps.

The occult principle associated with the Lovers is Harmonization. It brings about an agreeable alignment between disparate parts, whether these be the disparate parts of the human organism, with its physical, astral and mental bodies, or of planet Earth, with all its biodiversity, or of the Cosmos, made up of innumerable solar systems and a sprinkling of black holes too.

In traditional Chinese lore Six is the number of Peace but also of Sacred Emptiness, meaning Emptiness of Form. In the time of absolute emptiness, so it is taught, one can plant the seed of one’s wishes. Whatever one thinks or imagines at that time can become a reality. This sacred moment of absolute emptiness occurs when the forces represented by the two triangles making up the hexagram are in perfect harmony, having achieved perfect balance.

In one occult school belonging to the Western Esoteric Tradition, there are three symbols depicting the stages of initiation. Two triangles one above the other, the first with its single point facing down, the second with its single point facing up, represents the lower grade initiate, the Trainee or Apprentice. A drawing of the same two triangles, this time with their points touching, indicates the grade of the Lesser Adept. But the symbol of the hexagram, the two triangles conjoined, is the badge of the Fully-Fledged Adept.

In such schools, there are grades within grades. When a Fully-Fledged Adept makes the step to Minor Magus, they recite this oath and its preamble before the assembled company of their peers. “It is written that anyone who hears the word of enlightenment must dedicated themselves to the cultivation of kindness and good. Anyone who listens to the word will gain wisdom. In order to enter the grade of Minor Magus, my mind and heart must unite as one, in harmony with all living creatures. Therefore, I renounce selfishness, for in each thought of personal interest good and bad intentions co-exist. I swear to maintain a big heart, a merciful heart, and a kind heart, even toward the insects that crawl at my feet.”

The rationale behind this oath is the conviction that the ideal magician must have a good heart and good ethics. For a person cannot hope to manipulate successfully the basic building blocks of the universe, the forces of Yin and Yang, without becoming one with the Cosmos. The hexagram is the symbol of that oneness. Neither you, dear Reader, nor I have attained the giddy heights of Minor Magus. But it is a goal we can aspire to, while, on the other hand, the conditions embodied in the hexagram do sometimes come about in the world, not as a permanent arrangement, but existing for a brief instance. When those conditions arise so does the opportunity to take advantage of Sacred Emptiness. At such a time can be planted the seeds of Good, not as part of the quest of personal attainment, but in order to sow love, mercy and harmony in the world for the benefit of the whole of Nature – the Earth and everything that is on it and in it, including humankind – at a time when all seems bleak, when division has become the order of the day.

Let me remind you of the words of L.R. Knost.

“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go, love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”

Occultists and philosophers have, for millennia, insisted that all individuals possess this power . . . if they will only nurture it, and having nurtured it, put it to use. How to use it? That question was answered centuries ago by the Chinese sage Lao Tzu:

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”

This is the work of the Pentagram (the individual human being) that will exalt it to the next stage, that of Pentagrammatica Libertas. We be only at the beginning of this adventure, yet we may still play a part. When two triangles align, creating the shape of a Hexagram, we can cast our Will into the Sacred Emptiness and sow seeds of goodness that will blossom in time to come. That is what the Fifth Exercise is all about.





Exercise Five

Warning. Do not attempt this guided visualization if you have not already completed the previous four exercises.

At the start of this visualization, I want you to imagine that you are in a wood or forest. You can use a place you know as the model for your starting point. If you are unfortunate enough never to have visited an actual wood or forest, you can borrow an image from a movie you have seen. You could use the rainforest of the planet Pandora from Avatar or the background to the deer hunting scenes filmed in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest that lie at the heart of The Deer Hunter. Adapt the scenery from any movie you have seen that has a forest in it.

To begin, sit facing East with your Wand on your lap. Light a candle to mark the beginning of the exercise. Close your eyes and conjure up the image of a wood or forest in your mind. You are in a natural clearing, narrow and broadly curved. The forest lies before you. Behind, you can hear the gentle sound of running water and you ‘know’ that a swift-flowing stream lies at your back. “In vision” you carry your Wand in your dominant hand (even though, in reality, it lies on your lap). Start to move into the wood, walking on the grass and avoiding any obvious obstacles such as bushes or clumps of nettles.

As you proceed, the canopy overhead becomes denser causing the light to take on a greenish tinge. You are unable to move forward in a straight line because the trees are distributed haphazardly. Every so often, you have to sidestep one of them. Try as best you can to continue in an easterly direction.

Keep your eyes peeled for a tree that has the sign of two triangles, separate, their points facing each other, carved into its bark. When you come to the sign, step to the right of that tree and follow the narrow path you will find there and which runs ever deeper into the forest. The tree trunks are more massive now, the trees themselves unbelievably ancient. There is a buzz of insects in the air and at times you hear the croaking of frogs. Tiny, brightly colored birds dart across your field of vision, busy with their quest for food. Make your way carefully along the path until you come to a tree with the sign of two triangles, their points touching, carved into its bole. Again, go to the right of this tree and press ahead. You will come to a massive boulder blocking your way. It is flanked on either side by two enormous redwoods, stretching above you seemingly into infinity. On the boulder, someone has painted in sky blue the astrological sigil for Venus and below it an arrow pointing to your left.

The path to your left may meander around the redwoods and the boulder, emerging on the other side of them. Or it may strike out at right angles to them, or it might twist you around and take you back in a westerly or north-westerly direction. Your path from here forward will be your path, one unique to you, shared with no other person on the planet. Follow your path until you come to a tree with a hexagram carved inclip_image002[11]to its bark, the sign of Human Will in perfect harmony with Cosmic Will. When you find it, look to your right and you will see another tree some distance ahead of you, huge and mighty, with a door set in its trunk, and three wooden steps leading up to the door. Approach this tree, mount the stairs, and knock at the door. It will slide open revealing a softly lit space within. Enter this space and the door will close again, and after a moment another door will slide silently open.

Passing through this second door, you find yourself in medium-sized room lit from above by a glowing globe of amber light. In the center of the room is a stone altar upon which lay two wooden triangles, one painted blue and with its point facing downward, the other painted red and with its point facing upward. Approach the altar and lay your Wand upon it while you adjust the positions of the two triangles so that they form a hexagram, and the hexagram is in the center of the altar. Once the two triangles are perfectly aligned they will change color. The entire hexagram will turn flaming scarlet if your Wand is red; it will become shining white if you are the possessor of a white Wand; and it will turn vivid emerald if own a green Wand.

As soon as the transformation occurs, in vision only, take up your Wand again and place its tip at the center of the hexagram, and wait to the count of five. (One, and two, and three, and . . .) During that time a figure will step forward out of the shadows gathered at the room’s corners. The figure approaches you and confirms that the time is right for casting the image of an ideal future into the Sacred Emptiness of the moment. On hearing this, you should form a mental picture of the Earth seen from space, revolving slowly, the varied blues of the oceans, the multitudinous greens on the continents, with here and there sandy shades marking out the deserts, and charcoal grey splotches indicating the sprawling conurbations of Europe, North America and China. Imagine peace within nations and between nations; imagine harmony between humankind and the natural world – the birds, the fish, the trees, the corals of the Pacific, the animals, the insects, the prolific plant life of our home planet. Allow these thoughts and images to well up in your heart and then will them to travel across to the shoulder of your active arm, down that arm, into your hand, into the Wand your hand is holding, and from the Wand into the center of the vivified hexagram. Take as long as you need, as long as the process requires. When you sense that the energy is no longer flowing out from your heart, remove the tip of your wand from the middle of the hexagram, and take a step back from the altar.

The figure that came forward out of the shadows now leads you to one side of the room (it may take you to the left or to the right, there is no set formula at this point) to where stands another altar. On this altar is a shallow silver bowl filled almost to the brim with water. The figure gestures for you to gaze into the water. On doing so, you will at first see only reflected light on the water’s surface, the bowl appearing to resemble a full moon. After a moment, light is replaced by darkness on the surface of the water, as if the moon was in eclipse, and you can see into the bowl. However, you find yourself peering into what seems to be the depths of the sea. Your vision ripples and you are aware of looking down hundreds of miles below the room in which you are standing. A form approaches moving with great speed. It streams up to the surface of the water in the bowl in front of you and emerges into the room. An arm and hand extend from the water. In the hand is an object. If you are the possessor of a white Wand, the object will be an ancient, leather-bound book lying flat on the palm of the hand. If your Wand is green, the object will be a simple gold ring, like a wedding band. Should you own a red Wand, the object is a short sword which the hand holds by its hilt, directing the blade skywards. Take the object. Be careful how you handle it if it is a sword! (You may put your Wand on the altar beside the bowl in order to retrieve the object.) The mysterious figure will then hand you a satchel. Put the object in the satchel and sling the satchel over your shoulder. Take up your Wand again. Let the figure guide you back to the central altar. You will see that the two triangles have been broken up into their constituent parts and arranged, one line above the other, so as to form the I Ching symbol Kh-Yen representing the purest form of power and positive energy. It is an expression of unadulterated truth and strength that exceeds all worldly, physical or immediate concerns.

You do not have the leisure to contemplate this change, however, for now it is time to return home. Go to the door by which you entered, which remains open, and step into the softly-lit space within. This door will slide shut and almost immediately another will slide open allowing you to walk down the three wooden steps and into the depths of the wild, untamed forest. Make your way back to the tree that has the hexagram carved on it and from there retrace your steps until you come to the massive boulder sandwiched between the two imposing redwoods. As you pass the boulder, you note that, while the sigil for Venus remains on it, the arrow giving directions to the tree of knowledge has mysteriously vanished.

Keeping to the path, continue until you reach the tree with the two triangles, points touching, incised into its bark. Walk on and in a while you will come to the tree on which the two separate triangles, one above the other, are carved. Continue and you will find more light penetrating the forest, and eventually you will reach the fast-flowing stream that cuts through it, the stream that was at your back when you set out on this adventure. Approach the stream and turn around so that you are facing East, as you were standing at the start of the exercise. In vision, hold up your Wand, pointing it heavenward. Then place it against your chest. Let the image fade and, gently but firmly, bring your consciousness back to the physical world, centering it in your body, seated, and with your actual Wand laying in your lap. When you feel your consciousness has fully returned to the material plane, extinguish the candle, leave the room and have something to eat or a hot drink.

divider 999

This may seem a lot to remember. To help you with the feat of memory, reduce the instructions to its component parts: You are in a forest; you go forward until you see the symbol of two separate triangles; step to the right and go forward until you find the second symbol; step to the right again and go forward until you come to the boulder between two redwoods; follow the arrow on the boulder and continue on that path until you see the third symbol to the right of which stands a tree with a door set in it. Go through the door, arrange the two triangles into a hexagram; look into the silver bowl, take the object when it comes out of the bowl; return to your starting point and then back to everyday consciousness.

Study the synopsis of events until the route you are to take is imprinted on your mind. Then you are ready to begin the guided visualization.

It will help if you understand the symbolism involved. The meaning of the three Arcane-Arcana-06-amoureux-loversymbols composed of two triangles you already know. An important juncture is reaching in the guided visualization when you come to the boulder between two redwood trees. The redwood, being a type of cypress, is sacred to Venus, who rules cypresses of all kinds. The arrow has been painted on the boulder in sky blue paint. The lighter shades of blue are also ruled by Venus, goddess of peace and harmony. She has an obvious connection with a card named The Lovers. Although in English-speaking countries The Lovers is almost always put under the rulership of Gemini, on the continent the card is widely believed to be governed by Taurus, one of the signs of Venus. (See illustration.) In numerology, Six is under the rule of Venus, and the Hexagram, the geometric representation of the powers of the number Six, is inexorably linked to The Lovers, as Trump 6. It is unsurprising, therefore, that this guided visualization is dedicated to the goddess of love and harmony, the Lady Venus.

divider 999

With this information in your possession, you should have no difficulty following the instructions for Exercise Five.

The Fifth Principle, Part II

by Tony Willis   

In previous exercises, we have identified our current destined esoteric Path and consecrated our magick Wand, the physical representation of that Path. Now is the time to dedicate ourselves and the Wand, as a single unit, to the work of our destined Path.

On the physical plane you will need: A candle, candle holder, matches or a lighter; a table or flat surface to act as your altar; your Wand, removed from its wrapping and laid on the altar. The candle can be Green, if you have been placed on the Path of Love, White if you have been assigned to the Path of Wisdom, or Red if you have been placed on the Path of Will. You will also need the first five Trumps from your tarot deck along with the Ace corresponding to the Path that has been assigned to you. If your feet have been set upon the path of Will, select the Ace of the suit that represents Fire to you. For some this will be the suit of Wands, for others it will be the suit of Swords. If your allotted Path is that of Wisdom, select the Ace of the suit that represents Air to you. Again, for some this will be the suit of Swords while for others it will be the suit of Wands. If your current destined Path is that of Love, select the Ace of Cups. It makes no difference which deck you use. If you have one particular deck you reserve for magickal work, then, obviously, you should choose cards from that deck.

The geometric symbol most frequently associated with the number 5 in occultism is the pentagram. It symbolizes Spirit (the top point of the pentagram) raised above the Four Elements (designated by the pentagram’s remaining four points). <pentagram> However, a better symbol for our purposes is to be found in the way the number Five is depicted on dice and dominoes – four dots arranged in a square with a fifth dot at their center. This is the symbol of Spirit working within the physical universe. It also represents the spark of God that lives within each of us, although for most people the spark remains latent, uncontacted, unactivated.

my--pentagram        image

All those levels of interpretation are invoked by the way in which our altar is laid out for this dedication ritual. Place the tarot card of the Hierophant at the center of the space on your altar. Then put the Magician card above the Hierophant and at some distance to its right and the High Priestess card in a similar position to the Hierophant’s left. The Empress card goes below the High Priestess and the Emperor card below the Magician so that these four cards form a square around the central Hierophant card. Finally, set the Ace signifying the Path that has been assigned to you above the Hierophant card so that its bottom edge is in alignment with the top edge of Trump 5, and lay your magick Wand horizontally underneath the whole tableau of the six cards. If you are right-handed, lay the Wand’s head to the left; if you are left-handed, lay the Wand’s head to the right. This simply positions the Wand so that you can pick it up, when required to do so, with the minimum of fuss.

self-D altar

Once you have set up your altar as directed, leave the room for a minute or two while you mentally prepare yourself for the ritual you are about to perform. When you re-enter the room, walk a full circle around the altar, moving in a clockwise direction. After you have made one complete circuit of the room, approach the altar, continuing to move in a clockwise direction. Stand at the altar facing East. Light the candle. Close your eyes and, in your imagination, return to the astral environment where you consecrated your Wand. In vision, see (or feel, sense) the courtyard and the four altars. On the central stone altar lies the astral double of your Wand and, positioned above it, six tarot cards in exactly the same configuration as they hold on your physical altar. A candle and a book of matches lies on the altar too. In your imagination, strike a match and light the candle. Not matter at what time of day you are performing this ritual, in the astral world the sky is light, the weather fine; but you light the candle anyway, to signal to the Forces of the Inner Planes that a work of magick is about to begin.

Pause for a moment. Then, open your eyes and pick up your Wand. Now close your eyes again and, this time in vision, take up the Wand from the astral altar. Fuse the actual and the astral in your mind, so that in reality and in vision you are holding your consecrated Wand. When you have accomplished this fusion, walk, moving clockwise, to the appropriate altar. This means that, if your wand is Green, you will walk from the central altar towards the altar in the North-East, curving round past the eastern-most part of the courtyard to the altar in the South-East. From there you will proceed to the West where the altar on which the image of the Empress card is set up. Go to the West of that altar and face East.

If you have a Red Wand, you will follow the same path but you will stop at the South-Eastern altar presided over by the image of the Magician card. If you have a White Wand, you merely walk directly from the central altar to the altar in the North-East that has the image of the High Priestess card on it. In both cases, stand at the altar facing East.

Once at the appropriate altar, transfer the Wand to your left hand and place your right palm on your heart. Do this and the following actions in reality and in vision. Hold the Wand at head height, its bulbous head pointing skywards. (If you are left-handed reverse these directions.) Say: “Eternal Parent, you vast and mighty Being, who exists beyond Nature and beyond human understanding, I freely and willingly dedicate myself and this Wand to the work of the Higher Will [or Wisdom, or Love], that every act we perform together shall be for the benefit of Planet Earth and to Your greater glory.”

Wait for a response. In circumstances like this, magickal power arises in the East; that is why you are instructed to face East when making this speech. If your perceptions of astral currents are particularly strong, you may sense an energy approaching the courtyard from across the plane of whispering grasses that lies to the East of it. More likely, however, you will become aware of the energy only when it touches the head of your Wand, which acts very much like a lightning conductor at this point in the proceedings. The energy sent forth by the Eternal Parent flows from the East, into the courtyard and the sacred space you have created there. It then enters the Wand through its bulbous head and passes from the Wand into your hand holding it, at which point the energy floods your entire body with vitality and inner strength.

When you feel the energy pulsing within you, say: “I ask You, Eternal Parent, Creator of Heaven and Earth and of all that is in them, both visible and invisible, that you stretch out your right hand of power upon me and this consecrated Wand and bless us in your Sacred Name. Accept our dedication and aid all our legitimate magickal endeavors if we find favor in your eyes, O, great ruler and judge of all. Amen.”

If your dedication is accepted, a sign will appear, either on the altar in front of you or in the air above the altar. It may take the form of a vision of your tutelary deity, should you have one, or of one of that deity’s symbols. Alternatively (and this is far more likely) it will be a symbol of one of the deities associated with the Path you have been set upon. If you are on the Path of Love, a cord, tied so as to form a loop, may appear on the altar. This is the famed Girdle of Venus, Roman goddess of love. Or you may see, with your inner eyes, a bundle of freshly reaped corn, bound in the middle. This is the symbol of Demeter, whose great love for her daughter Persephone brought the latter back from the underworld, where she had been taken by the god Hades.

(If you are new to the occult side of tarot and feel uneducated on the subject of symbolism, you may want to arm yourself with a book such as Practical Greek Magic by Murry Hope. Ms Hope has two chapters in her book that throw much light on the subject. One is on magical symbolism in the Greek legends relating to the heroes – characters such as Theseus and Herakles – the other is on the most significant symbols associated with the Greek gods. Since a great deal of the symbolism of the Western Mystery Tradition is rooted in Greek mythology, or the similar myths of the Romans, and considering that these myths are frequently reflected in the imagery found on traditional tarot Trumps, a book on the symbolism of the Greek heroes and gods should take you a very long way towards an understanding of the subject. Should you have previously steeped yourself in the legends of the Celts, or the complex magickal system practiced in ancient Egypt, then you will need to seek out books cataloging and explaining those particular mythologies and the symbolism associated with them. For the most part, however, an understanding of Greek and Roman myth will suffice.)

The vision will not last long, and when it vanishes, you will be aware that the energy which entered your body through your Wand has settled, found a home, in your interior organs and also has impregnated the Wand, binding the two of you together.

Now, moving in a clockwise direction, return to the central altar. If you have been standing at the Western altar, it is best that you make a complete circuit of the courtyard, going to the North, then the East, then the South, and finally back to the central altar. Once you arrive at the central altar, place your Wand upon it. Open your eyes and set the actual Wand on your physical altar.

Close your eyes again and take a moment to compose your emotions. Then say, “Eternal Parent, Creator of Heaven and Earth and of all that is in them, I give thanks for the blessing conferred upon me and my trusty Wand this evening [this morning, today – whatever is appropriate]. Amen.” After a pause, say, “I now release all spirits and elementals drawn into this sacred space by the creation of the magick circle so that they may return to their own places in the natural world.”

In your imagination, leave the central altar and walk anti-clockwise to the East. Turn, face East and bow to the direction from which magickal power arises. Then turn to your left and proceed anti-clockwise around the courtyard, passing in turn the altar in the North-East, the Western altar, and the altar in the South-East. On returning to the East again, once more turn, face East, and bow. Then, continuing to move anti-clockwise around the courtyard, go back to the central altar. In vision, blow out the candle that stands upon the altar. Lastly, open your eyes and blow out the candle on your physical altar. The ritual is over. You may leave the room and disrobe. Return later to remove the candle, its holder, the box of matches, etc. Wrap your Wand in the cloth you keep it swaddled in, and put it away somewhere safe, where no one else is likely to come upon it. Soon there will be an astral adventure for you and your Wand to participate in, for the world is in need of healing.

Earlier in this article, I wrote about the five dots that appear on a dice to represent the number 5. I said that they symbolize the spark of God that dwells within each of us. I further explained that so far as most people are concerned this spark remains latent, asleep within us, waiting to be awoken. The ritual I have detailed above has the power to awaken that spark in you. This may seem an incredible statement. To provide you with the theory behind it, I am going to end with a paraphrase of something the great adept Paracelsus wrote over four hundred years ago, in which he makes clear in no uncertain terms the link between the quintessence (the occult energy that flows through the number Five, personified by the Hierophant card) and homo sapiens. “Each individual human being is a microcosm, or little world, because every last one of us constitutes an extract from the stars and planets inhabiting the firmament above us, on the one hand, and from the Earth below us and the Four Elements from which it is composed, on the other, and we humans are therefore the quintessence of all those energies.” Human beings are themselves a quintessence. That is why the occult symbol for a person is the pentagram, this being an alternative way of representing the number Five symbolically.

my--pentagram        thoth hierophant 5

The Fifth Principle, Part I

by Tony Willis     

The Emperor, Trump 4, symbolizes the Four Elements of the Wise – Fire, Air, Water, and Earth – interacting on the Material Plane. The card also corresponds to the Element of Earth itself. As is apparent from the card’s symbolism, the Emperor acts as an ordering center – a central point around which all other things are arranged. The Emperor brings order to the multiplicity of qualities brought forth through the activity of The Empress.

The energy mediated by the Emperor is related to all manifestations of what occultism terms “the powers of Four”. Included in that concept is the planet on which we live and the way our minds interpret it through the impressions of it we receive via our five senses. We perceive planet Earth spatially through the medium of the four directions. The solidity of the Earth, its tactile aspect, is represented symbolically by the cube and in some occult Tarots the Emperor is depicted seated upon a cube. The cube is the Platonic solid equated with the Element of Earth.

Arcane-Arcana-04-empereur-emperor  red sulphur  BOTA Emperor

The Emperor is also associated with Alchemical Sulfur, which has fiery connotations. This may appear at odds with other attributions given to Trump 4, in particular its connection with the Element of Earth. What we find represented in the Emperor, however, is the prima materia in solidified form. When the student of tarot first encounters the prima materia, in Trump 2, The High Priestess, it is in a fluid, chaotic state, “without form, and void” as the opening chapter of the Book of Genesis describes it. While, at this stage of evolution the prima materia might be lacking form or even existence as human beings understand the word, yet, all the same, it contained within it a potency that the alchemists of old called Sulfur. They taught that, if this Sulfur was extracted and separated from the prima materia, then what remained would be another potency that the alchemists called Mercury. The next phase of the alchemical operation was to reunite the Sulfur and Mercury in such a way as to create a new substance – the Philosopher’s Stone. At the stage of spiritual evolution denoted by Trump 4, this goal lies some distance ahead. What the student of occult tarot needs to grasp at this point is simply that Philosophical Sulfur dwells within Earth, seen as the prima material made apprehendable. In most occult tarots, the configuration of the Emperor’s torso and limbs suggests the sigil for Alchemical Sulfur, a triangle over a cross, hinting both at the correspondence between the Trump and the Sulfur of the Wise, and at the possibility of extracting it from the solidified form of the prima materia, represented by the cube upon which the Emperor sits.

At the evolutionary stage represented by Trump 4, then, the prima materia has assumed a form and can be apprehended by the senses. This form we call Matter. At the Emperor stage, it is often referred to as dead matter. Once matter exists in this fashion, it needs to be spiritualized, blessed one might say; hallowed was another name for this process, as in the old form of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name”. This process of spiritualization falls under the governance of the occult principle mediated by the energy symbolized by Trump 5, called the Hierophant in some occult tarots, and the Pope in others.

Psychologically, Trump 5 indicates the awakening of the inner powers of individualization. Under its influence the divine spirit within becomes manifest. The more ancient view was that the Hierophant stood for the fifth element, known as the Quintessence, which lay at the heart of all things. Its effect was to synthesize, refine, and spiritualize all experience. Occultists of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries, believed that even numbers were female and odd numbers male. At the same time, they did not think of One as a number; rather, to them, One was the Father of Numbers. Therefore, in the number Five, they saw the first even number (Two) joined with the first odd number (Three), and interpreted the Pentad as the marriage of female and male. When the tarot is used predictively, Trump 5 can signify marriage, union, or reunion. In Catholicism, one of the Pope’s titles is Supreme Pontiff, where ‘pontiff’ means ‘bridgebuilder’. The Pope’s chief function is to act as a bridge between the human world and the spiritual realm presided over by God.

Arcane-Arcana-05-pape-pope   BOTA HP

Read in another way, Five, the Pentad, represented Spirit or God (One) united with the physical Universe (Four). Hence the Quintessence was also called the Spiritus Mundi, literally the World’s Spirit, and metaphorically it is interpreted as Spirit or God (One) infused throughout the physical Universe (Four). The Renaissance mage Henry Cornelius Agrippa makes clear the importance of the Spiritus Mundi by stating that, “By this Spirit, therefore, every occult property is conveyed into herbs, stones, metals and animals, through [the action of] the Sun, Moon, planets and through stars higher than the planets.” (Three Books of Occult Philosophy Bk. I, Chapter 14 (Tyson ed.) p. 44.) The Spiritus Mundi forms a vital link in the chain of correspondences lying at the heart of astrological, alchemical and magickal theory. A deep understanding of the Spiritus Mundi plus the ability to manipulate it are necessary for the mastery of both magick and alchemy. Consequently, to the would-be magus, or the alchemist in search of the Philosopher’s Stone, acquisition of the Quintessence represented command of the physical laws of nature.

In the search for the Philosopher’s Stone, the One has to be divided into the four elements which must then be recombined into a Unity. In tarot symbolism, the One, represented by Trump 1, divides first in Two (Trump 2, polarity), then into Three (Trump 3, the three Qualities) and finally into Four (Trump 4, the Elements). After this, the individual potencies represented by the first four trumps are re-united so as to form the potency of Spirit (also known as Æther), a quality denoted by the fifth trump, The Pope or Hierophant. The entire process is summed up in a saying attributed to Jesus: “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom of heaven].” This, said the alchemists, is the result of Spirit (One) being suffused throughout the physical Universe (Four) – One plus Four equaling Five.

thoth hierophant 5    5t tdm

As already explained, Trump 4 acts as an ordering center. At a personal level, the force the Emperor represents sets about arranging around itself everything the student of magick acknowledges as constituting reality. As what psychology calls the Self gains in strength, that Self takes over the central role, and the Emperor hands over control of the ordering process to the Pope, or Hierophant. Carl Gustave Jung stated that the Self, as center, then becomes the spiritus rector [the spiritual guide] to daily life. Few reach this stage of inner development, but it is possible to do so. Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, Socrates managed to do it; he referred to his spiritual guide as his daimon. How can one attain this level of spiritual evolution? That is a conundrum unraveled succinctly by the Sufi mystic Rumi as follows: “I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.”

I have slightly adapted the words of the psychologist Maria van Franz to illustrate further the role of the Self as the spiritual guide. “From the psychological standpoint, a genuinely religious attitude consists of an effort to discover the unique experience of contacting the Higher Self/God and gradually to keep in tune with it . . . so that the Higher Self becomes an inner partner toward whom one’s attention is continually turned.” There are magickal and psychological procedures intended to lead a person to this mental state but none will be successful if the seeker has not first dedicated herself to the Higher Powers, whether these are taken to be Angels and Archangels or the deities associated with one or other of the ancient pantheons.

Our next step, now we have consecrated our Wands, is to pledge ourselves and our Wand, as a single unit, to the service of the Higher Powers. I will give that ritual in the second part of this article.

The Fourth Principle, Part II

by Tony Willis     

The Third Exercise
Preparation for the Ritual of Consecration

Our third exercise is the consecration of the Wand. A consecration is a magickal ceremony that charges an item with numinous (OtherWorldly) energy. The version of the consecration ritual I am about to give you is carried out almost entirely “in vision”. On the physical plane you will need a table, to act as your altar, your ritually cleansed Wand, and a chair to sit on. On the astral plane, i.e., “in vision”, you will be working in the courtyard of large stone building, with high towers and gabled roofs, set on top of a hill. In this ritual, as with many rituals of the Western Esoteric Tradition, Divine Power enters the “magick circle” from the East. Consequently, you will commence the ritual facing East.

In preparation for the ritual to consecrate your Wand, close your eyes and imagine (or sense) the following scene building up around you. Imagine that you are facing East, the place of sunrise, the direction from which an energetic blessing will flow into the “magick circle” you will create around yourself when you actually come to perform the ritual. An imposing grey stone building is a short distance away, on your left. You stand in a wide, square, paved area that has a stone rectangular altar at its center. This altar stands upon the north/south axis of this courtyard; that is to say, one of the altar’s longer sides is towards you, its narrower sides pointing north and south.

It is daylight and you can see your surroundings clearly. Ahead, beyond the eastern end of the building, the land dips a little before turning into a spreading plain of grassland. You are aware of the grass waving in the breeze that plays across the plain. A long way off you can make out a low mountain range looming a misty purple in the distance. Two peaks of this range in particular catch your eye. It is as if they form a marker denoting due East, and that at dawn the sun would have risen between them.

Directing your attention to your right, you become aware of the land making a steep descent into a valley. On the far side of this valley rise the almost flat tops of barren ochre mountains. Several of these mountain tops house volcanoes and from the crater of one of these a plume of dark grey smoke issues, rising straight up into the heavens. In your imagination, turn right and keep turning until you are facing away from the grassy plain of the east, the altar now directly behind you. You find yourself looking over a low wall some distance ahead of you at the tops of fruit-bearing trees. You may be able to identify an apple orchard beyond the wall together with a fine display of pear trees and another of cherry trees. It is the end of summer and the tree branches hang heavy with fruit.

Turning right once more, you come to stand directly facing the grey stone building. It is three stories high and the side of the building you are looking at has many windows all with small unevenly shaped panes on all three floors. You can also make out a door with one large step in front of it; a wooden door with metal fittings, all painted black. Finally, you should complete the circuit of the courtyard by turning to your right one last time so that you are standing at the rectangular altar looking ahead toward the expanse of heath away to the east and the two far-off mountain peaks indicating the place of sunrise.

Build this picture up in your imagination several times before attempting the ritual of consecration.

BOTA Mag     Arcane-Arcana-01-bateleur-magician

The Layout of the Astral Temple

The action of this ritual takes place almost entirely on the astral plane. On the physical plane you will need a table to act as your altar; your Wand, cleansed of all astral impurities; a candle in a holder; and a lighter or box of matches. The Wand should be placed in the center of the altar, the candle to one side, preferably to your right, to make it easier for a right-handed person to light and douse the candle when required to do so. Also place upon the Altar the tarot cards of The Magician, The High Priestess and the Empress. Set the Empress down closest to you, that is to say near the western edge of your altar. The High Priestess goes higher up and to your left, in the north-east sector of the altar. The Magician is placed opposite the High Priestess so that the three cards form an equilateral triangle around the centrally sited Wand.

In the ritual you are going to imagine these tarot Trumps on their own altars, set out around the paved courtyard that is to act as your workspace. In the courtyard, the cards will be placed in the same configuration as they have on your physical altar. This will site the High Priestess card to the North-East of the courtyard, the Magician card to the South-East and the Empress card will be behind you in the West. To be clear: those will be the positions of the three cards on their respective altars around the “magick circle” that you are about to create to contain the OtherWorldly energy you are going to call upon to consecrate your Wand.

If you think of the magick circle in terms of time, the East point is the equivalent of the first day of Spring. In esoteric thought, the first day of Spring marks the dawn of the year. The Teutonic goddess of dawn and springtime was Ēostre. From her name comes the English term Easter. South is equivalent to the beginning of Summer, while the West represents the commencement of Autumn. This is the period of the year when the fruitfulness of the Earth is gathered in. It is when corn and other cereal crops are harvested and a little later the grape harvest occurs. The start of Autumn coincides with the celebration known in Christian circles in the UK as Harvest Festival. The North point on the magick circle is the equivalent of the beginning of Winter.

BOTA HPS    2t tdm

In the ritual of consecration I am about to describe, note that The High Priestess occupies the North-East, the mid-point between the onset of Winter and the promise of new life offered by the coming of Spring. In northern latitudes, many animals hibernate during this season. For humans, who do not physically hibernate, it is a time for reflection and the formulating of future plans. These are the months on the cycle of the year when the adepts and magi of the Western Mystery Tradition mentally organize and develop the work they intend to carry out over the course of the coming twelve months.

The Magician card, on his altar in the South-East, symbolizes the adept (of whatever gender) now past the planning stage, and actively striving to turn the plans constructed during the High Priestess stage of the year into a tangible reality. The Empress, at the Western point of the magick circle, represents the fruition of those plans, the harvest of all the effort lavished upon them over the preceding six-month period. Bear all this in mind as you walk around the magick circle at the start of the ritual of consecration.

Although your Wand will be consecrated to only one magickal path, you should bear in mind that the three magickal paths form a triad. They do not function alone. All three qualities – Will, Knowledge and Action – support one another and none ever works entirely alone but is always supported in a dozen subtle ways by the other two.

You may wear a robe when you come to perform the ritual. If, however, you do not possess a robe, no matter. Since the real work of magick is carried out in vision, it is enough that you imagine yourself robed. At this stage of your magickal career, your robe should be plain, and deep brown or buff, the same shade as a manila envelope. You can girdle yourself with either a black or a white cord.

In the course of this ritual, you will be asked to walk, in your imagination, around the courtyard where the activity takes place on the astral plane. If the directions require you to make a circumambulation that means you are to circle the courtyard once. Circumambulations always start in the East. As said, this is the direction from which power arises, and its symbol is the Sun breasting the horizon at dawn. Beginning your circumambulations in the East will also help you to tap into a ritual pattern that has been in use for millennia among adepts of the Western Esoteric Tradition and to draw energy from that ages-old tradition. From the East, a circumambulation proceeds to the South, then to the West, to the North, and finally back to the East. The pattern you create on the astral as you mentally circle the paved courtyard will resonate at the same frequency as the ancient ritual pattern thus forming a connection between the two. By means of that connection your magickal work will be energized, strengthened and enlivened.

BOTA Empress     3t tdm

The Ritual of Consecration

Set out your altar as directed. Then leave the room for a moment and mentally prepare yourself for the ritual you are about to perform.

When you re-enter the room, walk a full circle around the altar, going clockwise. Only after you have made one complete circuit of the room approach the central altar, continuing to travel in a clockwise direction, and stand at it facing East. If you are not physically wearing a robe, visualize yourself as wearing one. When you have done so to the best of your ability, return your attention to the physical plane and light the altar candle to mark the commencement of the ritual. Pause and still your mind.

When you feel ready, close your eyes and imagine yourself in the courtyard of the old, stone-built building, the rectangular stone altar in front of you. On this altar lies your Wand, a lit candle and a taper. (A taper is a long, ultra-slim version of a candle used to carry flame from one place to another.) Ahead of you and to your left, closer to the walls of the house, is another altar. On this, standing upright, is a large version of The High Priestess card. To your right, towards the southward perimeter of the courtyard, is a third altar on which stands a large representation of The Magician card. “In vision”, turn around clockwise so that you are facing West. Over toward to orchards, there is a fourth altar. On this, standing upright, is a large representation of The Empress card. Continue turning clockwise until you are facing the central altar again.

Imagine yourself lighting the taper from the candle on the central altar. Proceed clockwise around the central altar and past the altar in the North-East. Pass by the East and come to the altar in the South-East, on which stands the tarot card The Magician. There is a candle in a holder on this altar, placed in front of the Magician card. Light this candle from your taper. Continue in a clockwise direction until you come to the altar in the West, upon which stands the tarot card The Empress. Light the candle on that altar from your taper also. Continue walking clockwise until you come again to the altar in the North-East, on which stands the tarot card the High Priestess. Light the candle on that altar from your taper before continuing on to the East and around past the altar in the South-East so that you can the approach the central altar from the western portion of the courtyard and finish, facing East, with the altar, with your Wand on it, in front of you. Blow out the flame at the end of your taper and lay the taper back on the stone altar.

In vision, pick up your Wand and carry it to the appropriate altar – to the South-East if you have been directed onto the Path of Power, to the North-East if you have been directed onto the Path of Knowledge, to the West if you have been directed onto the Path of Informed Action. Hold your Wand above the flame of the candle on the altar you stand at and wait.

An inner contact will place a hand over the Wand; or it may take the Wand from you and perform some action with it: the inner contact might, for instance, point with the Wand, or simply grasp it in the middle and hold it upright. If the inner contact places a hand on the Wand, set your hand “in vision” over the inner contact’s hand. When you do so you will feel a flow of energy passing through the inner contact and then through you and also into the Wand. The process of instilling OtherWorldly energy into the Wand may take a long time or it may last only a brief moment. The experience will be different for everyone. Once the inner contact has finished charging the Wand with energy, or has ceased performing an action with it, leave the altar you are at and return, walking clockwise, to the central altar. Place the now charged and consecrated Wand back on the central altar.

Take a moment to compose your emotions, then open your eyes and leave the room, travelling as always in a clockwise direction. The inner contact needs to focus intently upon the physical Wand at this point in order to complete the transfer of numinous power from it to the Wand. This process will proceed more smoothly and with greater efficacy if there is no human present in the room while this transfer is made.

At the end of fifteen minutes, go back in and walk in a clockwise direction to the altar. Once there, close your eyes and, in vision, go around the magick circle, passing by the East until you reach the altar in the South-East. Blow out the candle on that altar. Proceed to the Western altar and blow out the candle in front of the large card depicting the Empress that stands upon the altar there. Then pass on to the North-East, to the altar dedicated to the High Priestess, and blow out that candle. Travelling on to the East and then the South, return to the central altar and blow out the flame on that altar’s candle too. Open your eyes and blow out the flame of the candle standing on your physical altar. This acts as a signal to your unconscious mind that the ritual has concluded. Now you can wrap your consecrated Wand in the material in which you intend to store it, and afterwards you should set the Wand aside somewhere safe until you are ready to use it.

BOTA Emperor      4 II

Although you have performed this ceremony of consecration entirely in vision, handling an imagined Wand, while the actual Wand remained on a table in a room of your home, you will find that your Wand has, nonetheless, been invested with OtherWorldly energy. When you grasp the Wand in your fingers, you should, with a little practice, be able to feel an energetic charge running through it.

Slip the three tarot cards back into the deck and clear away the candle, its holder, and any other paraphernalia you have used in the course of the ritual. Exit the room again and stay out of it for ten to fifteen minutes to allow the atmosphere within to return to normal.

If, previously to carrying out this consecration, you have read up on occult procedures, you may be aware that, at the end of most magickal ceremonies there is performed a reverse circumambulation, or a banishing or dismissal of the energies invoked during the course of the ritual. This is not the case following a consecration. Energy has been called into the magick circle (invoke literally means “to call in”) and then deposited within the consecrated object (in this instance your Wand). A banishing operation would be counter-productive under these conditions as it could have the result of drawing energy back out of the Wand, thus rendering it less potent and consequently making it a less effective magickal tool.

The Fourth Principle, Part I

by Tony Willis    

The Force known to students of the Occult Tarot as The Empress mediates the principle of multiplication or fecundity, as described in the previous article. In that role, and in line with her association with the number Three, she creates a triad of Qualities to aid her in her function. In the East, these Qualities are known as the Three Gunas and are named Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Guna simply means ‘quality’ or ‘attribute’. Sattva describes a state of harmony, balance, joy, and intelligence. Rajas describes a state of energy, action, change, and movement while Tamas describes an opposite a state of darkness, inertia, inactivity, and materiality. The Gunas represent two opposing states plus a third state that seeks ever to harmonize or balance out the other two. All three Gunas are in constant flux, participating in a never-ending dance of interaction with each other.

This continual state of flux needs to be stabilized if anything concrete is ever to be manifested. Enter the Force known to students of the Occult Tarot as The Emperor, embodying the principle of organization. His attribute is Form and his corresponding Element is Earth. His symbol is the Philosophers’ Cross, or the Cross of the Wise, a reference to the four directions and what is sometimes poetically referred to as “the Four Corners of the Earth”. Consideration of these associations enables one to see that the Emperor rules over, not only the Element of Earth, but the planet Earth itself, and by extension, the ‘plane of Earth’, meaning the material plane.

emperor card-s

The Emperor’s chief quality is given as Authority, for to him has been delegated the power to shape the immaterial qualities of the Gunas as they proceed with their unending dance, Sattva pirouetting with Tamas, Tamas performing a pas de deux with Rajas, and, it may be, Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva all dancing together. The Emperor’s first act of shaping is to create those forces know to occultists as the Elements of the Wise, namely Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. At an intellectual level, these represent, working backwards, the solid state, the liquid state, the gaseous state, and electro-magnetic state, all of which are present in the material world. Water, H2O, is ice in its solid state, water in its liquid state, and humidity in its gaseous state. The electro-magnetic state can be detected in the material world in the subtle energy running through animals and even plants, where certain species react to the Sun’s ray by turning their petals in that direction during daylight hours in an effort to absorb solar energy.

Another quality ascribed to The Emperor is Adaptation. (These titles and associations can be checked by consulting books dealing with the philosophical aspect of the tarot, such as The Tarot of the Bohemians. At the same time, many of the attributes can be found written on the tarot cards designed by Gabriel Goulinat or listed in Mouni Sadhu’s book The Tarot: A Contemporary Course of the Quintessence of Hermetic Occultism.) The Emperor was awarded the quality of Adaptation by our predecessor adepts on account of the role he plays in connection with the Gunas, adapting their combinations, and giving them form; giving them, at one point in history, such and such a form, and at another, a different form, so that carbon can manifest as wood – the trunk of a tree – in one era, as coal in another, and as a diamond in another. The Emperor rules over ‘elements’ as science thinks of them – hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and all the rest of the periodic table.


In the process known as Creation, the Emperor represents the coming into being of the material universe. The Force mediated by the card springs into action with the event referred to by physicists as the Big Bang, that mysterious explosion, emerging apparently out of nothing, and marking the advent of the Cosmos as a tangible, measurable thing. This adaptive, organizing Force continues to work in the world today. Wherever you can see organization going on – in the running of a hotel, on a building site, somebody packing belongings into the trunk of a car – the Emperor Force is at work. By the same token, whenever you see adaptation going on – from the branches of a tree growing around, and at times encompassing, some obstacle in their path to such recent inventions improving on something that already existed, like Electric and Plug-In Hybrid automobiles – you are witnessing the Emperor Force at work.

4 II      BOTA Emperor

It is this Force that you will need to contact and form a relationship with in order to consecrate your Wand. Before we move to the consecration stage, however, the Wand needs to be cleansed of whatever energies it currently carries. Only when it has been ritually purified will it be safe to infuse it with a quantity of Emperor Force.

Second Exercise

To recapitulate: If you have been directed to one of the Three Paths of Magick through the use of the visualization technique shown you in the previous article, you are ready to consecrate your own personal magick Wand. I will assume that you have made yourself a Wand, or had one made for you. The next step is the cleanse the Wand of any energetic detritus it may have picked up on its journey from being a humble piece of wood to becoming an intentionally crafted magickal implement.

This exercise is carried out mainly on the physical plane, although there is, as you would expect, an astral plane dimension to the rite. At this stage it is not vitally necessary that you are aware of what is going on “in vision”. If you are able to see or to sense the movement of astral plane energies, so much the better; but, as said, it is not a requirement, and the rite will work perfectly successfully whether you are aware of the Inner Plane forces or not.

Before going any further, buy a piece of material in which to wrap your Wand once it has been cleansed. The material can be of any kind, although silk is best since it is endowed with properties that prevent magickally charged energies leaking out into the wider world. It can be of any color. A shade of red is appropriate for the Red Wand, a green hue for the Green Wand, and a clear white for the White Wand.

Cleansing of the Wand prior to Consecration

To carry out this rite you will need: a candle in a holder and a lighter or box of matches; a saucer holding a small quantity of salt; and a cup containing water. Place the candle in its holder, the saucer and the cup along with your unconsecrated Wand on the table you intend to use as your altar. Light the candle as a signal to your unconscious mind that you are about to begin a serious magickal working. Pause and steady your mind.

Point to the salt using the first two fingers of your active hand. If you are right-handed, your active hand is your right hand; if you are left-handed then your active hand is your left hand. While pointing at the salt as directed say out loud:

“I exorcise you, creature of Earth, by the power of the Eternal Parent [as you say this, make a small equal-armed cross with your extended fingers over the salt], so that you may be purified of all evil and negative influences.”

Then hold your active hand flat over the salt, about three or four inches above it, and say:

“Creature of Earth, adore your Creator! In the name of the Eternal Parent, I consecrate you exclusively to the service of evolutionary good. Amen.”

After a small pause, point to the water using the first two fingers of your active hand, and say:

“I exorcise you, creature of Water, by the power of the Eternal Parent [make a small equal-armed cross with your extended fingers over the water], so that you may be purified of all evil and negative influences.”

Hold your active hand flat over the water and say:

“Creature of Water, adore your Creator! In the name of the Eternal Parent, I consecrate you exclusively to the service of evolutionary good. Amen.”

Tip the salt into the water and say:

“I ask You, Eternal Parent, Creator of Heaven and Earth and of all that is in them, both visible and invisible, that you stretch out your right hand of power upon these creatures of the Elements and bless them in your Sacred Name. Grant that this salt may make for health of the body and this water for health of the soul, and that there may be banished from the place where they are used every power of adversity and every illusion and artifice of evil. Amen.”

Now sprinkle the Wand with the blessed water while saying:

“In the Sacred Name which is above every other name, and in the power of the Eternal Parent of All, I exorcise all influences and seeds of evil from this Wand, that they may be bound fast as if with chains of steel and cast into outer darkness from where they shall not be able to trouble me as I carry out my function as a servant of the Sacred Mysteries.”

Wait a moment and then dab the Wand dry with a soft cloth. The salt and water should be returned to Nature. This is best done by pouring the salt-infused water on to a lawn. If you don’t have a lawn, throw the water into a neighbor’s garden or distribute it on plants in a park, since most city-dwellers have access to someone else’s garden or some communal green area.

Wrap the Wand in the material you have bought to store it in. Blow out the candle flame so as to signify to your unconscious mind that the ritual has concluded. Put the Wand aside until you are ready to consecrate it.

In Part II of this article, I will give instructions as to how the ritual of consecration is to be carried out.

Working ‘In Vision’

by Tony Willis     
Basic Instruction on Working ‘In Vision’

The main tool the magician employs when working ‘in vision’ is their Imagination. In books on magickal technique you will find it called the Active Imagination or the Creative Imagination, and the process associated with it is called Creative Visualization. Magicians use Creative Visualization to gain access to the various aspects or levels of the Astral Plane, or as it is sometimes known, the OtherWorld, the Invisible Universe that is the twin of the Visible Universe, our physical world. The use of creative visualization is one of the most powerful and ancient ways of performing magick. Creative visualization occurs when a mental picture is deliberately built up in the magician’s mind. The contents of that mental picture are carefully delineated and many of the images made use of by the higher adepts are kept secret because they are extremely potent.

At the outset, when working with any of the exercises I am going to give you, it can be enormously difficult to discern what is real on the Astral Plane and what the student magician has invented for themselves as a form of wish-fulfilment. Do not, at this early stage, concern yourself with any of that. Just work at today’s exercise and let your active imagination create a doorway into the OtherWorld. You will know for certain when you have genuinely made the transition from this world to the OtherWorld because you will feel drained of energy for some time after the exercise has finished. To make the transition successfully and to link up with your tutelary deity is hard work; naturally, after working so hard, you will subsequently experience some degree of exhaustion.

Those who have made the journey to the OtherWorld are advised to eat something or have a hot drink on their return to physical reality. Books of instruction in such matters say that this is form of grounding, of re-focusing the mind on the material plane; and so it is, but it is also fulfils the need for sustenance the body experiences after physical exertion. Activity on the Astral Planes functions no differently to activity on the physical plane – after an output of energy, an input of some sort is required to maintain balance in the human organism, which is composed of body, mind and spirit. If your mind and spirit have been at work, they will need “feeding” in exactly the same way as the body needs to be fed at the end of an eight-hour shift in a factory.

Despite the constant use of “imagination” to describe the activity, suggesting that images play the most important part in the procedure, in fact all the senses are used in vision work. To see in vision is called clairvoyance, to hear in vision is called clairaudience, to feel in vision is called clairsentience, and so on for the other two senses. Some students are very clairvoyant, but you may not be. In any case, clairvoyant sight isn’t anything like normal vision. When astral viewing, the person can usually see only what they are looking at directly, there is little or no peripheral vision. In vision work the most useful sense is often feeling, not in the tactile sense, but in the sense of “feeling something is right”, or alternatively “feeling that something is wrong.” The Astral Plane is a malleable world: the Energies that dwell there can and do take on Form so as to communicate with humans, but they can choose the Form they assume, and a Dark Energy can, with consummate ease, put on a Body of Light. Fortunately, the type of Energy that has clothed itself in an attractive Form can be detected by the student’s Sixth Sense. Rule number one of working in vision is: If you sense that something is wrong, make an immediate return to your physical body and the safety of the material plane.

The first exercise I am going to give you will help you to develop your psychic sensitivity to the veil between the worlds. In later exercises, you will become able to feel (sense) Energies flowing to and fro within the invisible world. You will start to become aware of those places where the invisible world overlaps or intersects with the physical world, places where the veil between the worlds is thin, and where it is easier to step between one world and the other. The only requirement is that you follow my instructions to the letter. I cannot be responsible for what happens to any student who goes off-message or attempts to explore the OtherWorld on their own account without having mastered the basics of working in vision.

For you must first learn how to open a gateway to the OtherWorld so as to enable an Inner Plane Being to come through it into our world, or so that may you to pass through the gateway and set about exploring the landscape you find on the other side. This facility will not be working perfectly for you straightaway; it is a skill that has to be worked at, repeated over and over until its use becomes second nature. Understand, therefore, that it may take several attempts before you “feel” that your inner vision is functioning properly.

Another thing you need to know is that the Beings attracted by the exercise I am about to give are specific Energies that are safe to work with and educative in nature. In magickal parlance they are called tutelary deities. The exercise uses visionary techniques to establish contact with one of these tutelary deities; first to forge it and then to anchor it.

What comes next, Reader, apprentice magician, is a simple exercise that will train you in the basic methods of working “in vision”, and will prepare you for the acquisition of deeper visionary skills. First, however, some ground rules.

Ensure that you have excluded all distractions. Turn off phones, the radio, the television, and so forth, and close the door of the room you are in so that you will not be disturbed. Mark the beginning of the exercise by lighting a candle and taking a moment to still your mind. Then sit in a straight-backed chair, both feet on the floor. Do not lie down to do these exercises. Sit upright so that you do not fall asleep. When you have completed the exercise, open your eyes, stand up, and blow out the candle. Walk around a little to ground yourself in the physical world, and go and make yourself a hot drink and eat a biscuit or a slice of toast, as eating and drinking will help ground you too.

The First Exercise

Now that you are aware of the name of the High Priestess of the Tarot, you have a decision to make: Will you start out along the path that, if you remain upon it, will result in you learning the secrets of occult Knowledge?

Think the matter over before answering that question. Your decision will have repercussions. As we learn, we grow. As we grow, we become better fitted for more testing experiences. Consider that well.

Also, if you decide to tread this path, it would be unwise to do so unless you are already carrying out the exercise of sending out love to humanity on a daily basis as described in my article on The Magician that proceeded the one on The High Priestess. You should either be performing this exercise or be carrying out the three daily salutations in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. The latter exercise is described by the British occultist W.E. Butler among others. You may have come across it – you may already be performing it daily for all I know. But you must be making this connection either through the sending of love exercise or by making the three daily salutations before starting off upon the path to higher knowledge.

If you determine to pursue this path, your next action is this:

Give yourself some free time when you will not be disturbed. Sit, as described above, close your eyes, and imagine yourself standing before the Two Pillars as they are shown on the Waite-Smith High Priestess card – the Black Pillar on your left, the White Pillar on your right. You may imagine that you stand in a vestibule or open space in front of the Pillars, but there is no need to visualize the High Priestess herself.

On the other side of the Pillars, imagine a darkened space. From where you stand, you can make out nothing beyond the Pillars; you are only aware that there is a room, a hall perhaps, the size of a concert hall but seemingly empty, no seats, no stage for an orchestra.

When you feel ready, imagine yourself stepping forward between the Pillars and pausing there, at the entrance to the home of the Sacred Mysteries. Hold your arms out wide, stretching towards the White Pillar on one side of you and towards the Black Pillar on the other. Say (silently, in your head, if necessary), “The name of the Tarot’s High Priestess is ⸺⸺, and in that Name I humbly request to be permitted to cross the threshold of the Temple of the Mysteries.”

Wait. Do not move forward yourself. You will feel your body gradually drawn forward into the area on the other side of the Pillars. As you are propelled forward, the space into which you are drawn will lighten and you will be able to see more of the interior of the Temple into which you are about to be inducted. You will either find yourself in the presence of a Being – a deity from an ancient pantheon – or you will be met by the keepers of the Temple gates and led into the presence of such a Being. I cannot predict which Being you will be taken to meet. Everyone who undertakes this exercise will have her or his own tutelary deity.

If the Being in an Earth goddess such as Cybele, Gaia, or Demeter, the Green Path of Love is being offered you. This is love in the higher sense, the kind of love a mother has for her children; the kind of love the Bible has in mind when it says, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.” If you accept what is being offered, you are entitled to wield the Green Wand of the Goddess of Nature.

If the Being you are presented to is a Sun god, a war god, or ruler god, like Zeus, then the Red Path of Will-Power is being offered to you. If you consent to travel this path then you are entitled to wield the Red Wand of the Gods of Action and Decisiveness.

If the Being is a deity associated with magick – Isis and Thoth from the Egyptian pantheon, Mercury and Hecate from the Roman – or with the Mysteries – Isis and Thoth again, but Persephone and Orpheus from the Greco-Roman pantheon – then the White Path of Wisdom is being offered you. And if you consent to travel this path then you are entitled to wield the White Wand of the Deities of Learning, and more importantly, of Understanding, as the Bible tells us, “Get wisdom; and with all your getting, get understanding.”

After you have been introduced to your tutelary deity, the Being will fade away and you will be left alone with your thoughts in the astral Temple of the Mysteries.

When the exercise is over, it will be made plain that you are to return your consciousness to the material plane and to your physical body. One generally feels the energy of the astral Temple retreating, ebbing away, as it were, and one is left alone in the sacred space with no task to carry out there: the meeting with your tutelary deity is concluded. For now. When you have that feeling, transfer your consciousness to the physical plane, open your eyes, stand, blow out the candle and walk around as instructed above.


Understand that whatever you see during the course of this exercise is what you see. It will be your vision and no one else’s. I cannot predict exactly what will happen. The experience will be largely personal to you. That is to say, the interior of your Temple of the Sacred Mysteries will probably not look anything like the interior of my Temple of the Mysteries. The symbolism you find there will depend upon the attributes of the deity assigned to be your mentor and instructor.


If you choose to go no further now that you have realized what the name of the High Priestess is, you will not be penalized in any way. All will remain for you as it was. You will be neither worse off nor better off than you are at this moment.

Think well on what I have said. When you are ready, make you decision.


However, if you do undertake the exercise and are received by your tutelary deity within the astral Temple of the Sacred Mysteries, then you should make yourself a wand and paint it with the correct colors, or have one made for you. There are artisans advertising their products on the Internet; you can search for them. If you are a UK resident, I can recommend the following craftsperson, who has experience in creating this type of short wand:, We will consecrate the wand at a later date.

The Third Principle

by Tony Willis    

The Empress represents the occult principle sometimes called multiplication. Various schools of magick name it in other ways. On the Gabriel Goulinat Empress card, right at the bottom, you will see the word “Generation” in French. It is a reference to the power of generation mediated by this Trump in any magickally charged tarot. In Mouni Sadhu’s The Tarot: A Contemporary Course of the Quintessence of Hermetic Occultism, again the last word written under the picture of the Empress is “Generatis”, having the same meaning as “La Generation” from the Goulinat card. Above “Generatis” is the word “Partus”, birth. All these words – multiplication, generation, parturition – steer the mind in a certain direction, towards ideas of growth, increase, fertility, coming into being, and abundance. In books dealing with the divinatory meanings of the cards, the Empress is regularly assigned significances such as Creativity and Pregnancy (or Conception) and the empress herself is often times depicted as a pregnant female.

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In occult tarots, the image on the Empress card is a visual representation of the creative force that animates the physical world. This force does not operate alone but in concert with the forces represented by the Magician and the High Priestess. Above the Mouni Sadhu Empress are the words “Phisis” and “Nature”. Physis is a Greek goddess who, the ancient texts declare, gave birth “by her own breeding”, begat “without bridal, without wedding,” that is to say, of herself. From her Greek name we get the English words “physical” and “physics”, the study of the natural world. The Roman equivalent of Physis is Natura, Nature, frequently spoken of as Mother Nature, a personification of the forces lying in back of observable natural cycles such as the planting, shooting up, ripening and gathering in of corn.

Mother Nature receives the energies that Chinese philosophers called Yin and Yang and blends them in a thousand diverse ways to bring into being the natural world, the physical universe in which humankind live and move and function. She then continues to work upon the two opposites in such a way as to sustain and perpetuate the physical universe. The occultist remains ever aware that Mother Nature is the visible, apprehendable aspect of a triumvirate, a Triad of forces: the male, Yang, force symbolized in the occult tarot by the Magician; the female, Yin, force symbolized by the High Priestess; and the force that unites these two in an unending variety of ways, creating the glorious multiplicity that is physical life on planet Earth.

On the Goulinat card you will see the phrase the Mercury of the Wise. Whenever “of the Wise” or “of the Philosophers” or some similar wording is added to a term, it signifies analogy. The Mercury of the Wise refers not to that unusual metal mercury which seems more like a liquid than a metal, but to something that cannot be described in any other way than by saying “it is like the metal Mercury whilst not actually being Mercury.” If you are puzzled by that remark it is because you are meant to be. Occultists of the past were careful to lift only the smallest corner of the veil hanging before the Holy of Holies in the Temple of the Greater Mysteries. They left it to seekers with sufficient wit and daring to attempt to raise that veil even higher. There were clues and hints aplenty scattered about, and one proved one’s worthiness to pass behind the veil by acting on those hints, by putting two and two together and making four.

At the present time, many things that were once held secret have been made public. That being so, I am able, without breaking any oaths of secrecy, to disclose the meaning of the Mercury of the Wise, in one aspect at least. (I could reveal its higher meaning; but, reader, unless you already hold the grade of Lesser Adept you would not understand my explanation.) The key to the phrase “the Mercury of the Wise” lies, as it so often does, in the sigil the magi of the past accorded to the planet Mercury. On the Magician card, we found the infinity sign, indicative of the Sun behind our physical sun. On the High Priestess card, we found a Sun and a Moon placed at the tmercury astro sigilop of her two pillars in some occult tarots; in other tarots, the pillars were black and white, the colors associated with Yin and Yang in the Far East, or they were red and blue, suggesting, to the observant student of the mysteries, Fire and Water, the elements traditionally assigned to the Sun and Moon respectively. The progression is: Sun – Sun and Moon. Logic ought to tell us that the next step forward will concern the Sun, the Moon and some third quality. The imagery revealing what that third quality is is not to be found on the card itself, but in the symbol magicians have attached to the card: the sigil for the planet Mercury. This sigil is built up around a solar disc; above this is a lunar crescent, and below it is a Cross, representing the Four Elements of the Wise, called the Cross of Matter. For matter, as human beings understand the word, only comes into existence along with the occult Force named by the occult tarot as the Empress.

As we have seen, the High Priestess is a symbol for the Prima Materia, the first embryonic manifestation of Matter, so basic in its constitution that it hardly warrants the name of “matter” at all. It is the primitive, formless basis of all matter that is to come. It has much in common with the Greek concept of chaos. Which is to say, it shares many of the characteristics attributed to Chaos in classical mythology. “A rude and undeveloped mass” is how the Roman poet Ovid described Chaos. The Prima Materia would remain in this rude, undeveloped state if it were not acted upon by another Force, a third Force brought into existence so as to stand beside the Power represented by the Magician and the Knowledge of how that Power can be put to good use represented by the High Priestess.

This third Force is generally named “Action” by occultists. The first five occult principles, corresponding to the Trumps 1 to 5 in the tarot, are emanated from the Void of All-Potential. When the third occult principle is so emanated, a Triad is formed. Now, not only do Power and the Knowledge of the ways in which Power can be directed exist; they are united by Action – knowledge activated. In the same way as the Prima Materia is the most primitive form of matter lying behind all manifestations of matter on the physical plane, so is the Empress represent the Action lying behind all subsequent Actions. The image of the Empress in any occult tarot presents a summation of the qualities of the Triad of which she herself is the summit. She is drawn so as to represent Physis, the goddess of Nature, crowned with twelve stars, denoting the zodiac signs mediating the power of Heaven, and seated at the edge of a wheat-field, signifying the fruitfulness of the Earth. Physis, however, is a goddess, just as Mother Nature is an intellectual concept. So far as humankind is concerned, She is immaterial; for in our progression through the tarot Trumps we have not yet arrived in the realm of Form as we understand it. We are almost there, but not quite. In the first two representations of the card towards the start of this article, Physis’s status as a divine being is denoted by the wings she has been endowed with in those designs.

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Returning to the Goulinat Empress card (the first image above), note the triangle at the top of the card, highlighting the idea of a Triad. Towards the bottom, preceding the phrase “The Mercury of the Wise”, there is the word “Water”. This is the Element associated with Trump 3. On the Waite-Smith Empress card, and on all versions of the Empress influenced by the Waite-Smith imagery, a waterfall is a prominent feature in the background. Also, the wheat depicted in the foreground of the card would not flourish if it were not adequately watered. There was much debate in pre-classical and classical Greece as to which of the four Elements of the Wise held primacy. The three candidates were Fire, Air and Water. The most popular of these was Water. It was favored precisely because of its perceived fertilizing properties; ancient peoples of Europe were well aware that, following rain, plant life flourished, and in more advanced cultures the principle of irrigation was recognized and made good use of. However, occultism teaches that, while the Water of the Wise has a fertilizing nature, it is not the first of the Elements. Indeed, the pattern of the tarot Trumps suggests that it is the third Element to come into being, since it is associated with Trump 3. Any of my readers who have delved into the mysteries of the Qabalah will be aware of a hierarchy of Elements which starts with Fire and proceeds to Water and then Air and finally Earth. This is not the sequence depicted on the tarot Trumps. There we find a hierarchy dictated by observation of the world around us. At its base lies Earth, obviously. Water, in the form of rivers, lakes and seas, lays upon the Earth. Above Earth and Water is the realm of Air, the atmosphere, and above that, it was supposed, lay the Heavens, home of the Sun by day and the stars by night. These celestial objects were recognized as fiery “beings” and the region they inhabited was associated with the Element of Fire.

Before moving on, I will say a few words about another Triad sometimes assigned to the first three Trumps. It is a set of designations relating to theology, a recondite area of study that not many today are drawn to. I am going to list the designations but I am not going attempt to explain them. They represent a highly rarified aspect of occult thought that most people today, even quite advanced adepts, find so detached from magickal theory and practice that they do not bother their heads thinking about it.

Look again at the Mouni Sadhu Empress. Above the word “Partus” you will see the phrase “Divina Natura”, Divine Nature. This phrase must be read in conjunction with the phrases Mouni Sadhu allocates to the two preceding Trumps. He associates the Magician with “Divina Essentia”, Divine Essence, and the High Priestess with “Divina Substantia”, Divine Substance. This is the theological Triad I referred to a moment ago: Divine Essence, Divine Substance (the Prima Materia), and Divine Nature – the essence of Divinity, the material aspect of Divinity (and again ‘material’ refers to something far removed from anything you or I would consider material), and the nature (i.e. the character) of Divinity. Having pointed students interested in such aspects of tarot lore in the right direction, I shall move on to the magickal implications of the Triad composed of Trumps 1, 2 and 3.

In the Occult Tarot, Trump 1 symbolizes the WILL to act; Trump 2 symbolizes the MEANS through which one may act; and Trump 3 is the ACT itself. In terms of ritual work, the first three principles manifest as power (Trump 1), the knowledge of how that power it can be safely used (Trump 2), and contact – contact with the gods, demi-gods, angels, archangels, and daemons that are personifications of a variety of Subtle Energies functioning within the Invisible World (Trump 3). Not until all three sides of this Triangle of Occult Power have been established can magick be performed.

For the student of Occult Tarot who has been following the instructions laid out in this series of articles, the pattern of events invariably runs as follows. The student first takes up the daily practice of sending out love to the whole of humanity (or makes a daily salutation to the Original Energy/God). Next, she is gifted with the realization of the ‘name’ by which the High Priestess is known to the Wise. The student is thereafter taken, in vision, between the pillars of the Temple of the Mysteries so as to be introduced to her tutelary deity, the OtherWorld being who will be her mentor and guide through a series of experiences intended to train and cleanse her soul. The final stage of this initiation (which allows the aspirant to adepthood to call herself a Junior member of the Temple of the Mysteries) is that she is presented with the name of the Path the Higher Powers desire her to follow in the initial stages of her magickal education.

There are three Paths the Junior initiate may be called upon to follow at this juncture. These are the Red Path, the White Path, and the Green Path. They correspond to the first three tarot Trumps. The Red Path is governed by the Magician card, the White Path by the High Priestess card, and the Green Path by the Empress card, for it represents contact with the multiform energies of Mother Nature – the powers of increase and decrease, of growth, fruition, and decay leading to new growth. The visible symbol that the student has been accepted as an apprentice on the Magician, the High Priestess, or the Empress Path to magickal attainment is the short Wand they are allowed to own as a symbol of the Road they are following. The wand is either red, white, or green according to the Principle to which the student has been dedicated. The short wand is about 9 inches (23 cm) long, and takes the form of a straight piece of wood having a bulbous protrusion at the top ending in a point. It is all one color, except that the protrusion is painted with a swirl effect, yellow in the case of the Red wand, cream for the White wand, and leaf green for the Green wand.

I include a rough drawing of the red wand, executed by myself, plus a more detailed view of its tip giving an idea of the swirling yellow lines with which it is decorated.

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In the next article, I will explain a method of working magickally ‘in vision’, and give instructions as to how the short Wand can be incorporated into magickal operations carried out ‘in vision’. At the present time, with social distancing in force in most countries around the globe, opportunities for magicians to gather together to practice magick are limited, and in some cases those opportunities are non-existent. Under conditions such as these, working magick in the mind, or as it is sometimes called ‘in vision’, has become far more normal practice than once it was. Until now, working in vision has been considered to be a form of magick appropriate only for the most advanced magi to engage in. But circumstances alter cases, and today the method of working in vision is being taught to students even of the lesser grades of Neophyte and Junior. It is in that spirit that I will be providing instruction on the blog as to how to carry out magickal workings ‘in vision’ and giving novices in this area of practice a few tips and general guidelines that will hopefully make their efforts more effective.