The diagram which is the subject of this paper was originally included in the RR et AC’s “Pentagram Lecture”. The paper itself is pretty heavy duty magic. This is both in terms of its discussion, which is very Qabalistic, and its practical implications. Knowledge of and prolonged meditation upon this diagram really is essential to succesful work with the RR et AC Supreme Pentagram Ritual, the Zodical Pentagrams and others based on the same formulae. The lack of inclusion of the diagram in most current GD curricula and Orders is one of the many deficiencies i mentioned in my recent post on the state of the GD in Cyberspace.
Most people do not even know this diagram exists and reproduce the SRP without it. I will also fall into this category with the publication of By Names and Images – most of which was written a long time ago when I was under commitment not to share some things 🙂 However, the diagram here (from Whare Ra) has been available on the Internet for a while now, so it is fine to ‘publish’ these notes. Really, they are no big deal; the diagram however as a meditation object is immensely potent.
The diagram has yet to be fully published in book form (as far as i know, but i am somewhat out of the loop at present ). I have seen a couple of versions of it, more or less complete, in journals over the years. I have reproduced my own version and the version from the Whare Ra Temple. The versions are almost identical. The Whare Ra Pentagram lecture is already on the net thanks to Al Billings right here.
“Why Israel Regardie omitted this diagram in his two GD Books is not clear. He may never have received it from the Stella Matutina RR et AC, it being perhaps dropped by that Order by the time of his 5=6 initiation. However, Crowley (whom Regardie studied with) would most likely have had access to a copy, and it was also being distributed in the New Zealand Orders after the first World War. In any case, the diagram contains much very useful and interesting information embedded within it and is a good example of the multi-layering of the symbolism used within the GD and RR et AC. This is only a brief interpretation of the symbolism and hidden energies from an elemental and Qabalistic point of view. The notes here are not definitive and, like all explanations in the Hermetic tradition, are but an aid in your own personal interaction and communion with the symbol via meditation and non-verbal methods.
The diagram shows the standard attribution of the points to the four elements plus spirit. The points of the diagram are coloured in the elemental colours (I have seen one version with the earth arm coloured with the four colours of Malkuth from the Queen Scale). The ten Sephrioth of are shown on the diagram moving around the edges of the Pentagram. They start with Kether and move, clockwise around each edge of the pentagram in order until Malkuth. We thus get:Kether – Spirit
- Kether – Spirit
- Chokmah – Spirit
- Binah – Water
- Chesed – Water
- Geburah – Fire
- Tiphareth – Fire
- Netzach – Earth
- Hod – Earth
- Yesod – Air
- Malkuth – Air
A lot of this seems to make no sense at first glance, but in fact these attributions are keys to some of the deeper Qabalistic principles embedded within the pentagram as used within the GD. Kether is obviously related to spirit. Chokmah also shares this attribution as the reflection or eidolon of Kether, the First Cause manifesting a copy of itself. Binah has the association with water from the regular Yetziratic attributions, the same with Chesed. Similarly, Geburah is mostly attributed to fire. Tiphareth also has hidden fire attributions as the Solar Fire and the Refiner’s Fire in the Christian Qabalah. It also has a special link with Geburah and its fiery nature, as shown symbolically by the reversal of the 5=6 to 6=5 in the grade attributions. The two fires here are linked by the meditating power of Lamed, the Ox Goad, Justice from the Tarot. This is the path where the Adept faces head on her soul Karma and it is burnt away by the twin fires of the Sun and Mars co-joined.
The next attribution seems a bit forced at first – Netzach and Hod to earth. We see here however a reference to the powers of Nature and the Goddess of Nature within Netzach, thus relating Netzach to Earth. Venus, the planet of Netzach is also, as Light Bringer and Lucifer, said to be found deep within the depths of the Earth herself. The element of earth is also linked to the Malkuth principle of the completion of creation, where all spheres and all powers are to be found. Upon the Tree of Life however this principle is first foreshadowed in Netzach through the glyph of its planet, Venus, embracing all ten Sephrioth. The connection here also shows the connection between the love of Venus and the Earth, that is the need for the full embracing of material life and embodied existence.
Hod is also related to earth here and this shows the linkage between concrete thought and matter, the interconnection between the idea making and forming principle of the mind and the universe producing material forms. This is also a reference to the Gnostic idea that the entire universe began with the First Mind through thought. Yesod is traditionally associated with air and is fitting here. Malkuth is associated here with air since the Kerub of air is the Man or human, and it is through humanity that Malkuth may, in the Qabalistic understanding, be redeemed.
Looking at this diagram and the progression of the Sephiroth upon it we see that it shows the process of evolution and involution. The right hand side of the diagram, from the spirit down to the end of the Tiphareth point (moving to Netzach) shows the evolution and the left hand side the involution, the withdrawing back into spirit. It is important to note that the two dividing points are spirit above and Shin below.
The Shin below refers to the Spirit within matter. It is at this point, the completion of Tiphareth that consciousness moves into a new phase, whereby it becomes more concrete and knows itself, yet at the same time is returning to the source at the Spirit point. It is only after full expression in Malkuth, physical form, that Kether, unity, may be experienced and thereby the return to the Ain Soph Aur, the Spirit point ensured. This shows clearly the Qabalistic Doctrine that Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth is in Kether. On this diagram, Kether is not separate from Malkuth as it is in the Tree of Life, but rather is its neighbour. Indeed, Kether or Unity is the path and experience between the Limitless Light of the Spirit and embodied existence within Malkuth.
If we were to place the Paths that connect the Sephrioth upon this diagram, we find that the actual point of the cross-over between evolution and involution is the path of Nun, Death in the Tarot trumps. This is a very fitting discovery, as it shows clearly the nature of the switch over in this great cycle of evolution and involution. We feel the same essential energy and power in all our personal cycles (and the great solar and lunar and tidal changes), when a force at its very peak begins to die and its opposite power begins to ascend. This point is the reflection of the Shin power below it in the diagram, and shows the connection between death and the Spirit. We also see here a link between death and the Judgment trump attributed to Shin.
In opposition and reflection to the Death card at the bottom of the diagram, we find the trump of the Fool at the very top point – the connection between Kether and Chokmah. The Fool here is a reflection of the Spirit wheel above on the diagram, and this is shown clearly in the symbology of the Fool and the second attribution of Spirit to the path of Aleph on the Tree, where the Fool is also attributed. The opposition and polarity between the Fool and Death is a opportunity for much meditation and experience.
The key in many ways to the whole Pentagram system within the GD tradition is the Pentagrammaton, YHShVH, Yeheshuah, Jesus. Much on this name can be read in the GD books themselves as well as elsewhere. We see in this diagram both forms of the name. YHShVH is formed by tracing anti-clockwise the attributions of the elements to the name for each of the points of the diagram. The fire arm, Yod; the water arm, Heh; the Spirit arm, Shin; the air arm, Vau; and the earth arm, Heh final. YHVShH, the earthing forming of the name, is formed by tracing the letters on the diagram, outside of the Pentagram in clockwise order. We see here (from the Northern hemisphere perspective) that these two forms of names refer to Sacrifice (YHShVH), going against the power of the Sun, and Redemption of matter (YHVShH), going with the power of the Sun.
Looking more closely at the placement of these letters outside the diagram, we see that the beginning point, Yod is at that exact crossover point between Malkuth and Kether. This point of course has no traditional path. It is the secret path we must all find and it opens to us the moment we see and experience divinity and matter as One. It is this place, this energy, this awareness that is the First cause, the Primer Mover, the Yod of the great YHVShH, the redeemer of matter. The name and presence of Christ changes our awareness into the deep understanding that Kether and Malkuth, spirit and matter are essentially the same.
We see also, that the name YHVShH as placed on this diagram reveals more of its inner power. The father, Yod is opposed and in polarity with the Son, Vau. In the same manner the Mother, Heh is opposed and in polarity with the Daughter, Heh final. There is also a hidden polarity between the two forms or spirit, that above symbolised by the wheel and that below, symbolised by the letter Shin. The above we can seen on another level as spirit Active and the below as Spirit passive. These three polarities indicate the activation of the Tetragrammaton into the Pentagrammaton and thence into the macrocosm, as indicated by the six pointed hexagram. This shows the path of the adept – from perfecting their elemental make-up, to being possessed and split asunder by the Spirit of the Gods to the establishment within their auric sphere and consciousness of the polarity of the Spirit, thus lifting them beyond the realm of “humanity”, that is becoming fully conscious and a co-creator in the universe. This leads to St Terera of Avila ‘s final stage of Mystical Prayer, ‘Transformational Union’, where the Holy Spirit dwells within the indvidual soul (Neschamah).
This establishment of the dynamic interaction of the two aspects of spirit within the aura is one the more advanced teachings of the RR et AC, and is pre-shadowed in the circulation of the Light from Kether to Malkuth and back in the exercises that were reduced by Regardie into the Middle Pillar Exercise.
The sum of the letters of YHShVH equals 326. The theosophical reduction of this number is eleven (3+2+6) and refers to the two pillars of the temple as the gateway of the Hidden Wisdom and also embodiment. In this context it refers to material existence as duality and the interplay of opposite powers, symbolised by the black and white pillars. This relates to the pentagram as the symbol of the Microcosm or human being who experiences and creates this duality. Eleven is also the number of the Trump of the Fool, the highest point of this diagram. The number eleven occurs elsewhere within the numerology of this diagram. Placing upon the inner angles of the pentagram those paths which connect the two Sephiroth on either side we have, clockwise from the top, the paths of Daleth, Teth, Nun, Resh and a hidden path. The numeration of these paths (4+9+50+200 = 263) when theosophically reduced equals eleven (2+6+3). If we add this number, the number of the paths of the angles of the Pentagram, to the number of the letters of YHShVH (326) attributed to points of the Pentagram we obtain the number 589, which reduces to 22, the total number of paths upon the Tree of Life.
However, if we place at the points of the pentagram those paths that are links between the Sephiroth attributed to lines on either side of the point, then we obtain the paths of Aleph, a hidden path, Lamed, Peh and Tau These paths produce the number 511 (1+30=80+400). This number when added to the sum above of 589 equals 1100, the number eleven multiplied by 1000. Further than this however, the order of the paths Aleph, a hidden path, Lamed, Peh and Tau shows the whole of creation since Aleph is the first letter of the alphabet and Tau the last. This is the Alpha et Omega, the first and the last symbolised by the endless knot or tracing of the single line of the pentagram.
The various modes of the inscription of the pentagrams within the Supreme pentagram rituals also yield much when placed upon this diagram.
- Invoking Spirit active is a movement from Tiphareth, through Samech to Yesod, thus activating and enlivening the astral light with the brilliance of Tiphareth, which is exactly what occurs in practice.
- Invoking Spirit passive, is a movement from Netzach, through Kaph, to Chesed. Kaph is the path of the Wheel, the letting go and surrender and this whole movement is concerned with the transference of the mystical yearning, the desire to be passive in the presence of God/dess being moved from Netzach, home of the spiritual yearning to the deeper passivity of the compassion of God/dess in Chesed.
- Invoking earth is the movement of the spirit to mind, of Kether into Hod, which the realm of the concrete mind, the form building aspect of our consciousness.
- Invoking fire is the movement of Chokmah to Geburah, the movement of fire unto fire, the driving force of the universe into the Will of the adept.
- Invoking water, is the movement from Malkuth to Binah, the lesser mother moving to the greater moving, the adept aspiring to lose the sense of self in the waters of the mother.
- Invoking air, is the movement of the Spirit of Binah into the breath of the man or human, the Kerub of earth in Malkuth.