Friday, June 28, 2013

The L(B)RP

The LRP gets a lot of flak, and for some very legitimate reasons.  It’s kind of fussy, it’s sometimes hard to do it without feeling really goofy, and its certainly quite monotheistic, which I know is troubling for lots of people.  It is, however, a very powerful ritual, easy to learn, easy to adapt, and one that’s good for studying to understand the general structure of ceremonial magic.  That makes it a good framework for learning how to write your own magic.

First, here’s a basic outline of the ritual, which is just a fancy version of b'shem Hashem (a prayer said at bedtime).  This is pretty much how I do it, which is more or less standard.  I’ll talk about some of the deviations from the Golden Dawn version as I go.  The big differences are that I don’t really use the words except at the end, mine is more physical, and the end is arranged a little differently.

Begin facing whichever way seems “forward” in the space you are in.  The way I’m presenting it here takes some room; you can tone down the motions if you’re cramped or in public.  Keep your spine straight.  Move your body around some until you feel comfortable, lithe, and stable.  Put your arms up, above your head, palms up.  Breathe deeply, and reach up as high as you can.  Higher!  The goal is to reach to the to the spinning black hole at the center of the galaxy, to the very end (beginning?) of the universe. 

Once you’ve reached up that high, grab hold with both hands of the light (Ein Soph Aur) you find there and drag it straight down into the top of your head, through the crown between the tips of your ears.  I hold my hands over my eyes while I do this next part.  Let the “energy” sit there.  It might rotate, it might buzz, or you might not feel it at all.  That’s ok, it’s there even if you can’t feel it.  If you want, you can vibrate[1] the word "Ata".  If you want, you can also vibrate "Ani" instead, but that’s sort of a secret… ;)

Once you feel like the energy has “sunk in”, run your hands down your face, down your neck, down your body, and fling the energy into the ground as hard as you can.   When I do this, My hands start over my eyes, and then my elbows go out and my palms down, finger tips touching, mid-chest, and then they push down and apart just below my waist.  Push hard.  The goal is to send “the light” the center of the earth.  If you want, vibrate “malchat” as low in your body as you can get it.

Pull the light back up from the earth.  It might feel different this time…cool, wet, slow, heavy.  If you can’t feel it, that’s ok.  Just imagine that you can.  Trust that it's there whether you can feel it or not.  Pull it into the center of your chest, and let it sit there a little while.  I keep my hands on my chest, palm in, making a rounded kite with my thumbs and index fingers while I do this, although a triangle (thumbs straight) is more traditional.  Once it’s “settled in” (it might start to feel lighter and warmer when this happens), take a hold of some of it with your right hand and pull it straight across your chest, through your arm, and out the center of your right palm.  Vibrate "v’gevorah" if you’re into vibrating stuff.  Leave your arm out.

With your left hand, do the same thing on the left.  Vibrate "v’gedulah" if you’re vibrating.  Leave your arms out for a while.

Whenever you’re ready, pull all the energy from all four points back into your center, and let it settle in.  Here, the thing to vibrate is "l’olam, amen.”  The goal is that you’ve now relocated the ends of the universe, the center of the world, the four corners of the earth into your own heart.  This should be intoxicatingly awesome.  If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong.

You might want to sway around for a little while (I make giant hip circles) really laying claim to the entirety of space for a while.  If you wanted to vibrate something here, I’d go with “kadosh, kadosh, kadosh”, although that’s not traditional.  Whenever you’re ready…

Step forward, reach forward with your left hand, and find a place in front of your left hip (if you're banishing.  If invoking, start over your head, and go downs and to the left, and then continue the pentagram from there)) where you can grab the fabric of the world. (Have you read “The Subtle Knife”?  Like that.)  Pull up and to the right, stopping in front of your head.  Grab hold with your right hand and pull to your right hip.  With your left hand, pull up to your left shoulder, and then pull it with your right hand straight across to your right shoulder.  With your left hand, pull back down to your left hip, closing the star.  You ought to have cut a pentagram shaped portal in the fabric of reality.   Bring your hands back to your chest, and dip into the endless light there. You might need to rest or sway or otherwise recharge a little.  All of this pulling and cutting should be hard work.  If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong (or maybe you’re just way better than me at this; energy manipulation is not my strong suit).   Pull some energy out and push it through the portal, like an anime energy-ball.  When you do, yell “yud heh vav heh”  through the open window.  Retreat back to the center and regroup. 

Whenever you’re ready, slowly turn 90 degrees clockwise and repeat the star opening procedure.  This time, yell “Adonai”

Turn another 90 degrees, make another star, and send "Eh heh yeh" out to the ends of the earth.

Last quarter, here the traditional name is "AGLA" (Ata gibor l’ola Adonai).  I’m partial to “Elohim” instead.  Try both (or none) and see what seems right.  If you know what you're talking about, feel free to sub a different name.

Turn another 90 degrees.  You should be back when you started.  Recollect yourself, which might take a little while.  You just threw chi to the four corners of the earth.

When your ready call (or chant or sing):
B’shem Hashem, Elohei Yisrael
B’yamini Michael
U’smoli Gavriel
U’milfanai Uriel
Me’acharai Raphael
V’al roshi, v’al roshi, Shechinat-El
In the name of The Name, the El of Israel,
Before me, Michael,
Behind me, Gabriel,
To my right, Uriel,
To my left, Raphael,
And within me the six-rayed star.

The Hebrew version (traditional) and the English version (Golden Dawn) are significantly different; among other things, the angels are in different places and the ending is different.  Try both, think about how they’re different, and do it however you like. 

When you do this, do it slow.  Really take the time to feel each of the presences rise up around you.  Here’s what they feel like to me:
  • Elohai Yisrael:  Here's the thing, Judaism isn't actually a religion.  It's a tribal affiliation.  Every tribe has its own god: Athena is the god of the Athenians, Marduk the patron of Babylon.  Out tribal god is Elohai Yisrael.  No'w, the crazy thing is, the thing that makes Judaism very different from other beliefs is that we say "Adonai elohechem, Adonai achad"...  Our little tribal god grew up, found his Buddha nature, attained Nirvana, or whatever, and is now the Unnameable and Eternal One.  Crazy!
  • Michael: A shining leader.  Justice.  Righteousness.  Legitimate Authority.  Michael and I don’t especially get along; I find him kind of paternalistic, but that’s probably just my issues.
  • Gabriel: Powerful, strong, protective.  Very masculine, almost overwhelmingly so. (again, that’s probably just me).  Electricity, fire.  Gabriel and I work very well together. 
  • Auriel: Depth, distance, light.  Auriel and I don’t have much of a connection.  I don’t really “get” him.  Sometimes I call Azrael instead, who is similarly distance and deep, but dark instead of light.  Weirdly, those two things are sometimes interchangeable.
  • Raphael: Healing, calming, peaceful, softly radiant.  A little melancholy, but not sad.
  • Shekhinah:  If you’ve never felt Shekhinah descend, I’m not sure I know how to describe it.  It’s like being filled up with life.  Like you're someone else’s smile.  "A field of Holy apples", says Luria.  Like Being the light of the world.  All that being said, your experience is likely to be radically different than mine.  You'll figure it out.  Read this:
After you've called the presences, turn around slowly, making sure they're all there.  Then, dispatch them to the corners of the universe, carrying the message of your sovereignty.

[1] Vibrating a word or name is hard to explain, but not so hard to do.  It’s a real physical sensation; you’ll know when you’re doing it.  The way I got the knack of it is  like this:  Hum loud.  Louder!  Feel the vibrating in your lips?  Open your mouth and try to feel it in your throat.   Play around with your diaphragm, and move the pitch up and down, trying to feel it in different parts of your body.   (Traditionally, there are different vowel sounds for different body parts…try “eeeeeee” in your head, “ahhhh” in your chest, and “ohhhhh” in your belly.)