Ritual Signs | Quick Guide

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signs are positions assumed by the body, whether physical or astral, that are commonly used in Thelemic . These signs are part of a series of practices that seek to produce an experiential event of participation in a magical worldview. 

Within Thelema, the Great Work is generally defined as those spiritual practices leading to the accomplishment of the True Will of one's Self in mystical union with the All. Its founder, author and occultist , based this path of mystical attainment or enlightenment on his studies in Hermetic alchemy and the Hermetic Qabalah, particularly as they were expounded by Eliphas Levi in the 19th century and later by various members in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult society of which Crowley had been a member.

Crowley wrote that in 1904 he heard and transcribed, from an entity called Aiwass, a book which came to be titled The Book of the Law. Crowley made this book the central sacred text of his new religious movement called Thelema, which he believed heralded a new Aeon for mankind. Between 1907 and 1911, Crowley wrote a series of other small texts which he considered to be inspired, written through him rather than by him, which he afterwards collected together in an anthology now called The Holy Books of Thelema. These texts formed the mystical backbone of Crowley's system, on which he elaborated in his extensive writings on magick, mysticism, and occult subjects.

Hidden Ceremony

The concept of an experiential event of participation in a magical worldview refers to a or practice that aims to create a profound and immersive experience within a magical belief system.

  1.  Magical Worldview: A magical worldview is a belief system that incorporates supernatural or mystical elements, such as the manipulation of spiritual or occult forces. It involves perceiving the world through a lens of magic and recognising the potential for supernatural phenomena.
  2.   Practices: These are specific actions or ceremonies performed within a magical context to achieve a desired outcome or connect with the magical realm. Rituals often involve symbolic gestures, incantations, and the use of sacred objects.
  3.  Experiential Event: An experiential event refers to a subjective and immersive experience that deeply engages the senses, emotions, and consciousness of the participant. In the context of a magical worldview, the goal is to create a transformative experience that connects the individual with the magical realm and alters their perception of reality.
  4.  Participation: Participation in a magical worldview involves actively engaging in rituals, practices, or ceremonies associated with the belief system. It requires a willingness to suspend disbelief and fully immerse oneself in the magical experience.
  5.  Phenomenological Perspective: The phenomenological perspective emphasizes the subjective experience and the study of consciousness. It focuses on how individuals perceive and interpret their experiences within a particular worldview. In the context of a magical , the phenomenological perspective seeks to understand how the shapes the participant's sense of self and their perception of the world.

Overall, an experiential event of participation in a magical worldview involves engaging in practices that aim to create a transformative and immersive experience within a magical belief system. It seeks to connect individuals with the supernatural realm and shape their perception of reality through subjective experiences.

is a type of ceremonial magic that encompasses a wide variety of rituals, characterised by ceremony and numerous requisite accessories to aid the practitioner. It can be seen as an extension of magic, and in most cases, synonymous with it.

The use of signs is one way to construct a psychophysical body, which is critical to the study of magic. The body is an interface for the study of magic, and the body is successfully created to alter the subjectivity of ‘being-in-the-world' as a ‘Magician'.

There are many kinds of magic, but the categories of that are recommended by Crowley include:

  • Banishing: Banishings are performed to “clean out” various forces and presences represented by the classic elements, the planets, the signs of the Zodiac, and adjacent spaces in the astral world. The general theory of also proposes that various spirits and non-corporeal intelligences can be present.
  •  Invocation and Evocation: These rituals involve calling upon or summoning specific entities, spirits, or deities for various purposes.
  •  Eucharistic : These rituals involve the use of sacraments or symbolic elements to establish a connection with higher powers or to partake in a sacred communion.
  •  Consecration and Purification: These rituals are performed to cleanse and sanctify objects, spaces, or individuals for magical purposes.
  •  Astral Travel: These rituals involve the projection of consciousness or the exploration of other realms beyond the physical plane.
  •  Yoga: These rituals incorporate physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to achieve spiritual and magical goals.
  •  Sex : These rituals involve the use of sexual energy and acts as a means of harnessing and directing magical power.
  •  Divination: These rituals involve the use of various tools or methods to gain insight, guidance, or knowledge about the past, present, or future.

The use of signs is not unique to Thelemic , and there are different types of signs used in different traditions. For example, The Encyclopedia of Thelema & Magick lists four types of signs: Neophyte Signs, Elemental Grade Signs, The L.V.X. Signs, and The N.O.X. Signs.

Within Thelema, the Great Work is generally defined as those spiritual practices leading to the accomplishment of the True Will of one's Self in mystical union with the All. Its founder, author and occultist , based this path of mystical attainment or enlightenment on his studies in Hermetic alchemy and the Hermetic Qabalah, particularly as they were expounded by Eliphas Levi in the 19th century and later by various members in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult society of which Crowley had been a member. Crowley wrote that in 1904 he heard and transcribed, from an entity called Aiwass, a book which came to be titled The Book of the Law. Crowley made this book the central sacred text of his new religious movement called Thelema, which he believed heralded a new Aeon for mankind.

Ritual Signs

The following sets of signs were assigned by  to the various Grades of his order, the A.'.A.'.. The first sets (the Neophyte, elemental grade signs and L.V.X. signs) were derived from the grade signs of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Such signs often have multiple uses and meanings, depending on the context.

Neophyte Signs

Neophyte signs in refer to a set of signs used in ceremonial by those who are new to the practice, or neophytes. These signs are used in various rituals and are meant to symbolize different aspects of the magickal practice. The term “neophyte” is derived from the Greek words “neo” meaning new, and “phytos” meaning plant, and is used to describe someone who is just starting and growing in a particular spiritual path. Ceremonial , also known as high , is a broad term used to describe magickal practices that involve the actions of deities or spirits. The use of signs is a common practice in ceremonial , and the neophyte signs are just one set of signs used in this practice. The neophyte signs are part of a larger set of signs used in ceremonial , which also includes elemental grade signs, the L.V.X. signs, and the N.O.X. signs. These signs are used to represent different aspects of the magickal practice, and are often used in combination with other magickal tools, such as wands, pentacles, and incense. Overall, neophyte signs in are a set of signs used in ceremonial by those who are new to the practice. They are part of a larger set of signs used to represent different aspects of the magickal practice, and are often used in combination with other magickal tools.

Image:sign_enterer.gif

Common title: The Enterer. Horus.
A.'.A.'. grade: 0°=0°
Description: The Sign of the Enterer is performed by taking a step forward with the left foot, and then leaning the body forward while thrusting out with both hands, fingers outstretched, as if reaching for something.

Image:sign_silence.gif

Common title: Silence. Harpocrates.
A.'.A.'. grade: 0°=0°
Description: Standing upright, left hand at the side, place the tip of the index finger of the right hand just on the lower lip. 

Elemental Grade Signs

Elemental Grade Signs are a set of symbols used in to represent the four classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. These signs are associated with the Elemental Grades, which are a series of steps or levels in the study of . The Elemental Grade Signs are typically used in rituals and ceremonies to invoke the power of the elements and to represent the magician's mastery of the corresponding Elemental Grade. The four Elemental Grade Signs are:

  •  Earth: The Elemental Grade Sign for earth is a pentacle, which is a five-pointed star enclosed in a circle. The pentacle represents the element of earth, which is associated with stability, grounding, and materiality.
  •  Air: The Elemental Grade Sign for air is a sword, which represents the element of air, associated with intellect, communication, and the power of the mind.
  •  Fire: The Elemental Grade Sign for fire is a wand, which represents the element of fire, associated with passion, creativity, and transformation.
  •  Water: The Elemental Grade Sign for water is a cup or chalice, which represents the element of water, associated with emotions, intuition, and the subconscious mind.

The use of Elemental Grade Signs is a common practice in , particularly in traditions that emphasize the importance of working with the elements.

Image:sign_earth.gif

Common title: Earth. The God Set fighting.
A.'.A.'. grade: 1°=10°
Description: Advance the right foot, and swing the right arm up and forward at a 45° angle, with the left arm back and down, also at a 45° angle. 

Image:sign_air.gif

Common title: Air. The God Shu supporting the sky.
A.'.A.'. grade: 2°=9°
Description: Arms raised, elbows bent 90°, forearms vertical, with wrists bent as though holding up the sky.

Image:sign_water.gif

Common title: Water. The Goddess Auramoth.
A.'.A.'. grade: 3°=8°
Description: With thumbs and index fingers, place the hands together on the torso, forming a downward-pointing triangle.

Image:sign_fire.gif

Common title: Fire. The Goddess Thoum-aesh-neith.
A.'.A.'. grade: 4°=7°
Description: With thumbs and index fingers, place the hands together on the forehead, forming an upward-pointing triangle.

Image:sign_veil(1).gif
Image:sign_veil(2).gif

Common title: Spirit. The Rending and Closing of the Veil
A.'.A.'. grade: Dominus Liminis
Description: Properly speaking, this is two different signs, where the magician is either tearing open a split veil or closing it. The forearms should be roughly parallel to the floor.

The L.V.X. Signs

The L.V.X. signs are a set of signs used in , particularly in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn tradition. The L.V.X. formula is a key part of the Golden Dawn system of , used to “call down the light” into a working. The L.V.X. signs are part of the analysis of the keyword used in the Adeptus Minor of the Golden Dawn, in which each letter is linked with an Egyptian Godform. The L.V.X. signs are often used in conjunction with the N.O.X. signs, which represent the darkness or absence of light. The L.V.X. signs are believed to have specific supernatural effects, and are used to invoke or evoke spirits.

Image:sign_osirisslain.gif

Common title: Osiris Slain. The Cross.
Letter of LVX: [+]
A.'.A.'. grade: 5°=6°
Description: At shoulder level, hold arms straight out at the sides to form a cross.

Image:sign_isismourning.gif

Common title: Isis Mourning. The Svastika.
Letter of LVX: L
A.'.A.'. grade: 5°=6°
Description: Right arm is bent at 90°, upper arm parallel with the ground, forearm pointing upwards, fingers extended. Left arm is the same, but with the forearm arm pointing downwards. Head faces to the left and down. Right foot rests on its ball, with the knee bent.

Image:sign_typhon.gif

Common title: Typhon. The Trident.
Letter of LVX: V
A.'.A.'. grade: 5°=6°
Description: Raise arms above the head at an angle of 60° to each other, and throw the head back, as if looking upwards. Stand up on the balls of both feet.

Image:sign_osirisrisen.gif

Common title: . The Pentagram. Attitude of Resurrection.
Letter of LVX: X 
A.'.A.'. grade: 5°=6°
Description: Standing upright, cross the arms over the chest, right over left, so that the open hands rest on the shoulders. 

The N.O.X. Signs

The N.O.X. signs are associated with the Night of Pan, which represents the stage of ego-death in the process of spiritual attainment. The signs are used to represent the union of opposites, such as life and death, light and darkness, and male and female. The N.O.X. signs consist of three gestures:

  1.  The Sign of the Enterer (N): This sign is associated with the Tarot symbol of Death and represents the destruction of the ego.
  2.  The Sign of Silence (O): This sign is associated with the phallus and represents the union of opposites.
  3.  The Sign of the Eye (X): This sign is associated with the reduction of duality to unity and represents the attainment of spiritual enlightenment.

The N.O.X. signs are used in conjunction with other signs, such as the L.V.X. signs, to create a complete system of .

Image:sign_puer.gif

Common title: Puer. Khem. Horus and Mentu.
Letter of NOX: N
A.'.A.'. grade: 6°=5°
Description: Right arm forms an “L”, with closed hand, thumb pointing towards the head. Closed left hand rests at the base of the torso, thumb pointing away from the body.

Image:sign_vir.gif

Common title: Vir. Pater. Amoun. Attitude of Pan or Bacchus.
Letter of NOX: O
A.'.A.'. grade: 7°=4°
Description: Place closed hands at the temples with thumbs facing outwards, resembling horns. 

Image:sign_puella.gif

Common title: Puella. Venus Pudica. The Sign of Chastity.
A.'.A.'. grade: Babe of the Abyss
Description: Standing upright, place open right hand over the breast, and the open left hand over the groin. 

Image:sign_mulier.gif

Common title: Mulier. Isis in Welcome. Sign of Babalon. Attitude of Baphomet.
Letter of NOX: XA.'.A.'. grade: Babe of the Abyss
Description: Arms form a 90° angle above head, elbows bent slightly, with hands open. Feet are a little over shoulder width apart, facing forward. Head looks upwards.

Image:sign_isisrejoicing.gif

Common title: Isis Rejoicing. Mater Triumphans. Isis with Horus.
A.'.A.'. grade: 8°=3°
Description: Head looking downwards, the right hand pinches the left nipple, while the left hand cradles just below solar plexus, as if holding a baby.

Sources and links

Source: Xavier Jambou on YouTube

Source: Thelema – Wikipedia

Source: Thelema – Britannica

Source: 666 – Thelemapedia

Source: Ritual Signs – Thelemapedia

Source: Great Work (Thelema)

Source: Magical formula – Wikipedia

Source: Ceremonial magic – Wikipedia

Source: The Golden Dawn's LVX Formula

Source: The Star Ruby Ritual — An analyses of  Liber XXV

Source: Elemental Witchcraft: A Guide to Living a Magickal Life Through the Elements

Source: Sexuality, Magic(k) and the Ritual Body: A Phenomenology of Embodiment and Participation in a Modern Magical Ritual – JSTOR

Source: Wikipedia:WikiProject Thelema/Peer review/Magick

Source: The Sorcerer and His Apprentice: Aleister Crowley and the Magical Exploration of Edwardian Subjectivity

Source: Theatre Magick: Aleister Crowley And The Rites Of Eleusis

Source: Luciferian Osiris risen sign. Ordo Templi Orientis. – YouTube

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