Part of the Magick in Theory & Practice series.
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The first task of the Magician in every ceremony is therefore to render his Circle absolutely impregnable.—Aleister Crowley
A banishing is generally performed before the beginning of a magical ritual. Its purpose is to cleanse the area for the ritual—whether it be a room or a magick circle—all those elements that might interfere with the magical operation. Banishing consists of removing all objects from a place of working in order to put into that reserved space those objects which are pertinent to the operation.
In elaborate ceremonies, the Magician may choose to banish all the elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, & Spirit), the planets, the signs of the zodiac, spirits, godforms, and even the ten Sephiroth. Even the force to be invoked is banished. As Crowley says, "for that force as existing in Nature is always impure."
Banishing rituals may also be performed for their own sake. This can be done for several reasons—to cleanse a room or home, to eliminate negative or unwanted energy, or to simply calm and balance the mind. Many magicians practice banishing rituals daily.
Methods of Banishing
A simple method of banishing is by the use of Liber XXV: The Star Ruby or the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. These two rituals utilize the pentagram in all four quarters. "Only the four elements are specifically mentioned, but these four elements contain the planets and the signs - the four elements are Tetragrammaton; and Tetragrammaton is the Universe." (Crowley, Aleister) Thus banishing by way of the pentagram can be viewed as a general method of banishing anything in the universe.
In Enochian magick, the Thirty Aethers have a close relationship to the elements. Each Aether has three Governors except the 30th which has four. The names of these Governors are taken from the elemental tablets. Thus we see the influence of the elements extending even to the highest reaches of the Aethers.
The Pentagram rituals
Each element may be invoked or banished at will by the Magician. The manner in which this is done is by the direction the pentagram is drawn. A general rule of tracing banishing pentagrams is to start at the point of the pentagram attributed to the element in question and move away from it, ending where you began. See Liber O, Part IV (http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/libero.html) for elemental attributions of the points on a pentagram.
"Be alert and on your guard! Watch before you pray! The feeling of success in banishing, once acquired, is unmistakable."
Various Banishing Rituals
- Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
- Greater Ritual of the Pentagram
- The Star Ruby
- Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram
- The Star Sapphire
- The Blue Topaz
- Book 4, Part III, CH. XIII, "Of the Banishing and of the Purifications."
- Enochian World of Aleister Crowley, Ch. 4, Part V, "The Thirty Aethers or Aires."