Monday, April 12, 2010

If you're happy with the LBRP...

...then chances are pretty good this blog will, at times, offend you. I do not like it, Sam I am, I do not like lame rites in a can.

That said, have you ever said something in the heat of a moment that you later realize was perhaps a little more vehement and exaggerated than you really feel? In response to Jason's first comment on my previous post, I said:

As for the LBRP, it's a bullshit ritual, completely overblown, overanalyzed, and remains a shit stain on the underwear of the occult left by incontinent old men who pulled the teeth from the Hermetic Tradition trying to make it reflect the fairy tales of the Theosophists and their own made up "history" of their Masonic roots.

If occultists spent as much time reading chapters of Agrippa as they do analyzing that stupid fucking ritual, we'd probably have reached global Enlightenment by now.
Now, I really do believe that statement sometimes, but it's totally hyperbolic and should be put in context, because there is one instance that I can think of where the above statement is completely false, intolerable, and should never have been uttered. So let me explain.

If you are in a Golden Dawn Order, if you are planning on going through all the initiations and achieving the Great Work following the path laid out within the Golden Dawn, the LBRP is a fantastic, and truly necessary ritual to perform daily. It creates in your sphere contact points, like a circuit, that are activated at various stages of your initiation. It prepares you for specific revelations and empowerments that you will achieve at later grades. From the first time you stumble through it, through the mid-career point when you realize you've been saying it wrong for the last two years, to the last gasping "within me shines the six-rayed Star" before you die, you are performing a ritual that is the keystone to an entire transformative process that can only be properly completed in the framework that originated the rite.

Do you know why you're supposed to start a "Banishing pentagram of the Earth" by your left hip, trace up to your forehead, then go to the right hip, then the left shoulder, right shoulder, and end at the left hip? Or why the Qabalistic Cross puts the "vigiburah" at the right shoulder and the "vigedulah" at the left? It's because you're building the Tree of Life into your sphere, tracing a path along the Tree of Life, a graphic designed by Athanasius Kircher to reflect his understanding of Christian Kabbala and the Sefer Yetzirah.

In the Golden Dawn, the rituals performed create a spiritual, astral form of the Tree of Life in your own sphere. The left hip is the starting place of the Earth banishing Pentagram because that is where one of the spheres falls within your sphere. It's Hod, or Netzach, depending on whether you believe you're standing facing an image of the Tree of Life, or standing inside the image looking out.

Do you know which sphere the banishing pentagram of Earth is supposed to start in? The source of the powers you're activating? The right side is the Pillar of Severity, the left is the Pillar of Mercy, and the Middle Pillar runs along the spine, but continues into the Earth and extends to a point well past Kether. It's really a Circle, but that's ... a Mystery! Anyway, the banishing Pentagram of Earth begins in Netzach, which is really interesting when you learn what the Golden Dawn meant by the "natural magic" that is sourced in the Sphere of Netzach.*

If you didn't know, then really you don't know what you're doing, or why you're doing it. And that's ok, for a Novitiate within an Order. They aren't supposed to know everything.

I don't know how much of the original Golden Dawn's structure and instruction survive today. I hope that people who knew the original founders managed to get a complete rundown of what's supposed to happen at each Grade Initiation. I know Regardie never made it past the 4th degree, and whatever he wrote was incomplete. All those people basing their Golden Dawn Orders on the published materials of Regardie are working from half, or less than half of the full understanding of the Order. Folks who have access to the Inner Order's original curriculum and overall goal are better situated to form a complete system of initiation as envisioned by the original Golden Dawn founders. Whether or not their system actually does what they intended it to do is another topic.

Assuming some order out there has all the original plans for the initiatory process (or has guessed right about what they filled in the blanks with) and what has to happen to the sphere of the magician at each Grade in order to integrate the powers and lessons of that Grade, the LBRP can be an invaluable tool in the magician's kit, one that is necessary for everything else to stick and manifest.

But if you're not in the Golden Dawn, most of what it does is useless to you. You're building a spiritual model of a tree of life into your sphere that may or may not line up with the forces you're going to end up Working with in the course of your path. You're creating a resonance that will mesh harmoniously with the more advanced Work of the GD structure, but may cause discord when you try to do something outside that very specialized field of occult practice.

When I see non-GD folks recommend the LBRP, I cringe. Most of it is based on traditional enough sources that it won't likely interfere with your Work, but enough of it is specialized that it's a waste of time, time that could be spent building the kinds of things into your sphere that will cause harmony and power to manifest over the course of your Work.

And that's what I plan to focus on going forward. I've noticed lately that a lot of my posts tend to be me bitchin' about this, or complaining about that. When I started this blog, it was a lot more about doing magic, and the neat stuff I was learning. The thing is, I've learned the pieces of a system that seems to do amazing things, and to find out how effective the system is takes Work. Now that I know the pieces and stages for each phase of the Work, I need to Work them to prove that I've properly understood what I've read and heard from the spirits.

So I'll be writing about things that I do that form the system I use. Hopefully it will help people who are interested in finding a system to put the grimoire pieces into that accomplishes the Great Work. Instead of just pointing out what's "wrong" with other people's interpretations or techniques, I'd much rather focus on laying out what works.

Which doesn't mean I'll stop bitching. A man's got to be what he is, after all, and sometimes this man's a bitch.

* Fuckin, fuckin', and more fuckin', in case you were curious.


  1. a very Interesting take (and 99.9%correct)on the LBRP within the initiation structure of the GD.

    Coming from a source that works with materials from the original inner order and other orders predating that I can say that there is a point in the way the rituals are structured in the way Frtaer R.O. argues

    I fully agree that doing the ritual outside of the initiatory structure is moronic, UNLESS you spend the time deconstructing the ritual(s) to try and understand what it does and then do them. Something that a lot of so called GD adepts themselevs have never taken the time to do.

    When studying the basic outlines of the rituals, diagrams and initiation rituals it becomes obvious, when deconstructuring them, that they're bult around the idea of bringing the practitioner through to a lunar consciousness (me <> divine) where the practitioner works with the albedo phase, if you will, or the "becoming a reflection of the divine" and then working through their way up through this untill the rubedo is reached and there is an identification with the solar consciosness.

    The entire systems (the gd its derivatives and the older stuff that looks simillar to it) ritual system is thus more akin to a theurgic mystery school where the forces used are aspects of the universe and the rituals are used as an aid to reach a slar consciousness /initiation into the spheres.

    When done properly working with neophyte formula based pentagrams rtuals for the zodiac and elements and 5=6 fomrula based hexagram rituals for the planets you become initiated into those levels of consciosuness, whether youre working with their angelic asepcts or the godforms, the same thing will happen as when you work through any system of initiation into higher spheres, be it an olf planetary grimoire of Frater R.O,'s way of doing things.

    Its strange how people react when you try to work with Lwa or orisha outside of those traditions yet everyone peddles the LBRP as if it was a universal ritual workable by whoever whenever.

    Things only work if it is within an appropriate worldview.

    Instead of an LBRP just draw a circle. simple effective and part of 85% of all paradigms available out there. What bro Miller calls "Tech"

  2. Ummm... but that's not why the pentagram is drawn that way. Nope. Not the Tree of Life at all. The Qabbalistic Cross, yeah. Pentagram, no. See mee elsewhere for what that's about. ;-)

  3. "Its strange how people react when you try to work with Lwa or orisha outside of those traditions yet everyone peddles the LBRP as if it was a universal ritual workable by whoever whenever"

    There is way more potential danger in working with the Lwa and Orishas outside of their cultural context than there is in working with Archangels and the GD stuff.

    It can be done, but there is way more than needs to be taken into account for it to be done safely.

  4. Say what you want how you want on your blog. I'm a big girl and can take it. I just started doing LBRP on a regular basis, and being a medium, I got tutored from spiritual entities on how to do it more accurately over the days, and I'm still trying to perfect the ritual until the tutors are satisfied. It's good to question designs of rituals, because questioning brings wisdom and understanding.

  5. I ended up writing a longer post then intended :)

    I was not referring to the level of danger inherent in working with Lwa or the LBRP outside of the tradition, it was the appropriation of elements of a living tradition I referred too, but seemingly not well enough.

    and before we miss to point people in the right direction with this tidbit:

    One of the things I did not agree with in the post was the pentagrams. Theyre based on the elementalo attributions of the enochian tablets,

    a pentagram placed on top of one of them will yield the correct element-point correspondence with the top point being roughly where the sigil of the enochian elemental prince is on GD tablets.

  6. I think it "works' for whomever because it does generate interesting sensations. But that really means little, especially in a hedonistic society. If anything else happens, you may give credit to something other than self or Self.
    I truly suspect that if we could wipe the history of this and replace it with the idea of the lbrp causing neurosis people's experiences would closely follow!
    Heard that this originally came from a bed time prayer...
    I must add that it's amazing all the crap I see about the pentagram. Trendy magickal currents have absolutely nothing to say about it's geometric significance. The tree of life to for that matter.
    All this is auto suggestion with someone else's labels.

  7. although I am a practitioner of a shamanic path which has woven through a great many areas of study, I had always considered the lbrp to be unnecasary and most "high ritual" magick to be, well, I like Buckland's quote "like plugging a car battery into something that needs a 9 volt" I recently encountered an entity which resisted every other defensive magic technique, visualisation, spirit ally, and rune charm I had access to-they worked but only for a short time-in disbelief(I have dealt with things which seemed worse, a lot easier.)I decided to try the lbrp-just because I ridiculed it doesn't mean I didn't know it-well long story short it worked every time and still does- after your explanation of the mechanics of it I understand why-it's damn hard to defeat the tree lol

  8. It works, imo, because you're conjuring the four Angels of the four Corners of the World. They're the bosses of the elemental spirits on Earth, and unless there's a reason they want you tormented by a spirit, the spirit goes when they're around.

  9. Did you ever come up with a banishing and/or invoking ritual you were happy with?

  10. Fun stuff! The "L-Burpo", as I spent the '90s calling it, never did make sense to me... So I just revised the original Hebrew prayer into a similar ceremonial model in which I knew what I was drawing from, and to.... I don't ever intend to work with the Golden Dawn system, because I find Kircher's work to be a naive Jesuit affront to the original Hebrew sources I've worked from since I was 16. [I only stopped calling it "L-Burpo" when I became a Mason, as it tended to piss off a lot of guys I'd rather be on better terms with... But such sensitivity about it!]

    1. Your "mason" comments make no sense. I am a master mason I have also completed the York & Scottish rites. At no time do we use/discuss the lbrp. Its not a ritual in a blue lodge or concordent body. Please do not represent yourself as a masin if you are not.

  11. Hey allegedly "master" Masin, this blog often requires the ability to comprehend context clues and subtlety of the English language beyond fourth grade grammar school educations. If you can't figure out that there are a lot of masons who do the lbrp, not as part if their masonic rites, but in personal practice from your experience and the comment you replied to, you're not going to understand the context here. Please take your affront and indignation elsewhere.


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.