Pentagram and hexagram rituals that banish and invoke energy are must-have tools for ceremonial magick. The basics of both are covered in Magick.Me's flagship Adept Initiative course, plus we’ve got a whole Introduction to Banishing Rituals to get to grips with, too.
These essential arcane applications might be considered entry level stuff—but they are, admittedly, nuanced, and there’s a multitude of different takes out there. This means that students always have a host of questions about pentagram and hexagram rituals. So if you’re concerned that you might be making a polygon-related blunder—Magick.Me has your back.
So What’s the Hexagram Ritual, Anyway?
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) is a staple of neophytes and virtuosos both. It's probably part of your own daily practice. Some of us, though, aren’t quite as familiar with hexagram rituals. What makes them different? When might we want to perform a hexagram ritual rather than a pentagram one? How come there seem to be various different six-sided shapes involved… and none of them you’ve seen (so far at least) look like Crowley’s "Unicursal Hexagram" on all the Thelema merch you can buy off Etsy?
When Do I Perform a Hexagram Ritual?
Both pentagram and hexagram rituals can be used for either banishing or invoking. Anecdotally though, it’s fair to say hexagrams are associated with invoking psychic energy to juice up rituals and other workings. The six points of the hexagram are certainly used to invoke different planetary energies (we're using broad brushstrokes here).
Why are Hexagram Rituals Important?
Vitally, pentagram rituals provide balance and foundation while the hexagrams assist the magician’s quest towards their higher self and true will. Hexagram rituals are like the "next level" after pentagram rituals, and are best attempted once the equilibrium their five-sided friends provide is attained.
Which Hexagram Ritual, and Why? There Seem to Be a Few…
Various hexagram forms are employed in the rituals… although, frankly, a practical breakdown of the Thelemite Hexagram Ritual is beyond the scope of this particular piece. You can take our Introduction to Banishing Rituals or The Adept Initiative to get a scope on things, or Jason recommends referring to the original material in Crowley’s Liber O rather than rifling through conflicting opinions on the Internet.
The "Unicursal Hexagram" is practically Aleister Crowley’s logo. It’s synonymous with Thelema, the spiritual doctrine Crowley spun from the teachings of Victorian occultists The Golden Dawn. Crowley claimed he invented the distinctive take on the regular six-sided "Star of David" hexagram, so it could be drawn in the air in one continuous motion, hence "unicursal." He actually pinched it from a Golden Dawn pamphlet named Polygons and Polygrams. The shape’s first recorded appearance was as a woodcut print in a 1588 esoteric geometry paper published in Prague.
Because hexagram rituals are tricky, often new territory it’s no wonder us newbies end up confused about some aspects. Where are we making mistakes?
The Big Mistake – Don’t Use the Hexagram Ritual Like an Energy Drink!
Like our caller, you may find that invoking hexagram rituals give you a metaphysical buzz. Find your comfort point with this energy – certainly don’t knock out four rituals in a row. Identify which elements require balance (there are exercises for this in The Adept Initiative course). Find your comfort point: Get used to the energy, tolerate it and capacitate it.
Some of us invoke with a hexagram ritual in the morning to get us some energy, and throw up an LBRP in the evening for calm. It’s a simplistic understanding of how the two compare, so here’s an albeit only slightly less reduced explanation. The pentagram rituals are intended to promote balance: they encourage spiritual homeostasis, like a tuina massage for the soul, and build firm psychic foundations. The Hexagram rituals are "stage two" as it were, and set us on the course to discovering our true will by accessing planetary energies (working with the planets is covered in our Alchemy of Chaos course).
Jason recommends keeping the energy in the ritual space, rather than stocking up on it and bowling around town dispensing occult vibes. If you experience energetic boundary issues, like the sense of merging into the landscape, feeling airy and spaced, or having encounters with strangers saying unusual things, it’s time to dial it down.
Mistake Number Two – Don’t Get Hung Up on Process. Enjoy Yourself!
In the video below, a Magick.Me student attending Office Hours, our regular live surgery session, is concerned she’s not performing the hexagram ritual entirely correctly. She’s including the spoken line, “Let the divine light descend!” when it’s not specified in Magick.Me's Adept Initiative breakdown.
“Let the divine light descend!” is associated with a ritual called The Analysis of the Keyword LVX (pronounced "lux"). Crowley opened his own hexagram rituals with an Analysis of the Keyword INRI… that nonetheless involves LVX. Perhaps this is where confusion understandably lies.
Divinity from on high – light descending – is a heliocentric approach that could be considered patriarchal, medieval, even downright Christian. Thelemites specifically believe the godhead flows from all around, including inside us. So the relevance of “let the divine light descend” is questionable. But… it doesn’t matter! “It’s cartoonishly dramatic, and even if I don’t endorse it, I still enjoy it,” says our student in the video, and this is entirely the attitude to take.
Magick is designed to improve communication between our rational and imaginative selves. The more sensation, drama and excitement we can summon up when we’re performing rituals, often the better. Plus, any awkwardness or embarrassment is the first test of our true will – are we willing to look like fools in search of the truth? We offer our nihilistic facades up to the universe, and it’s a sacrifice that comes back a thousandfold.
Right now, we live in a secular, bureaucratic age where little is sacred. At Magick.Me we took a conscious decision to embrace the wondrous and the infinite instead. Is it a bit silly? Yes! And scary too, sometimes. But if you don’t like feeling a bit silly – or scared – every now and then, you’re in the wrong spiritual practice.