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  • Eliphas Levi
    The Blazing Pentagram

    ​The Blazing Pentagram - Eliphas LeviThe Blazing Pentagram

    Eliphas Levi

    Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual, Chapter V

     

    We proceed to the explanation and consecration of the Sacred and Mysterious Pentagram. At this point, let the ignorant and superstitious close the book; they will either see nothing but darkness, or they will be scandalized. The Pentagram, which in Gnostic schools is called the Blazing Star, is the sign of intellectual omnipotence and autocracy. It is the Star of the Magi; it is the sign of the Word made flesh; and, according to the direction of its points, this absolute magical symbol represents order or confusion, the Divine Lamb of Ormuz and St. John, or the accursed goat of Mendes. It is initiation or profanation; it is Lucifer or Vesper, the star of morning or evening. It is Mary or Lilith, victory or death, day or night.

    The Pentagram with two points in the ascendant represents Satan as the goat of the Sabbath; when one point is in the ascendant, it is the sign of the Saviour. The Pentagram is the figure of the human body, having the four limbs and a single point representing the head. A human figure head downwards naturally represents a demon that is, intellectual subversion, disorder or madness. Now, if Magic be a reality, if occult science be really the true law of the three worlds, this absolute sign, this sign ancient as history and more ancient, should and does exercise an incalculable influence upon spirits set free from their material envelope.

    The sign of the Pentagram is called the Sign of the Microcosm, and it represents what the Kabalists of the book Zohar term the Microprosopus. The complete comprehension of the Pentagram is the key of the two worlds. It is absolute philosophy and natural science. The sign of the Pentagram should be composed of the seven metals, or at least traced in pure gold upon white marble. It may be also drawn with vermilion on an unblemished lambskin the symbol of integrity and light. The marble should be virgin, that is, should never have been used for another purpose; the lambskin should be prepared under the auspices of the sun.

    The lamb must have been slain at Paschal time with a new knife, and the skin must be salted with salt consecrated by magical operations. The omission of even one of these difficult and apparently arbitrary ceremonies makes void the entire success of the great works of science.

    The Pentagram is consecrated with the four elements; the magical figure is breathed on five times; it is sprinkled with holy water; it is dried by the smoke of five perfumes, namely, incense, myrrh, aloes, sulphur and camphor, to which a little white resin and ambergris may be added. The five breathings are accompanied by the utterance of names attributed to the five genii, who are Gabriel, Raphael, Anael, Samael and Oriphiel. Afterwards the Pentacle is placed successively at the north, south, east, west and centre of the astronomical cross, pronouncing at the same time, one after another, the consonants of the Sacred Tetragram, and then, in an undertone, the blessed letters ALEPH and the mysterious TAU, united in the kabalistic name of AZOTH.

    The Pentagram should be placed upon the altar of perfumes and under the tripod of evocations. The operator should wear the sign also as well as that of the Macrocosm, which is composed of two crossed and superposed triangles. When a spirit of light is evoked, the head of the star – that is, one of its points – should be directed towards the tripod of evocations and the two inferior points towards the altar of perfumes. In the case of a spirit of darkness, the opposite course is pursued, but then the operator must be careful to set the end of the rod or the point of the sword upon the head of the Pentagram. We have said that signs are the active voice of the word of will. Now, the word of will must be given in its completeness, so that it may be transformed into action; and a single negligence, representing an idle speech or a doubt, falsifies and paralyses the whole process, turning back upon the operator all the forces thus expended in vain. We must therefore abstain absolutely from magical ceremonies or scrupulously and exactly fulfil them all.

    The Pentagram, engraved in luminous lines upon glass by the electrical machine, exercises also a great influence upon spirits and terrifies phantoms. The old magicians traced the sign of the Pentagram upon their doorsteps, to prevent evil spirits from entering and good spirits from departing. This constraint followed from the direction of the points of the star. Two points on the outer side drove away the evil; two points on the inner side imprisoned them; one only on the inner side held good spirits captive. All these magical theories, based upon the one dogma of Hermes and on the analogical deductions of science, have been confirmed invariably by the visions of ecstatics and the paroxysms of cataleptics, declaring that they are possessed by spirits. The G which Freemasons place in the middle of the Blazing Star signifies GNOSIS and GENERATION, the two sacred words of the ancient Kabalah. It signifies also GRAND ARCHITECT, for the Pentagram on every side represents an A. By placing it in such a manner that two of its points are in the ascendant and one is below, we may see the horns, ears and beard of the hierarchic Goat of Mendes, when it becomes the sign of infernal evocations.

    The allegorical Star of the Magi is no other than the mysterious Pentagram; and those three kings, sons of Zoroaster, conducted by the Blazing Star to the cradle of the microcosmic God, are themselves a full demonstration of the kabalistic and magical beginnings of Christian doc-trine. One of these kings is white, another black and the third brown. The white king offers gold, symbol of light and life; the black king presents myrrh, image of death and of darkness; the brown king sacrifices incense, emblem of the conciliating doctrine of the two principles.

    They return thereafter into their own land by another road, to show that a new cultus is only a new path, conducting man to one religion, being that of the sacred triad and the radiant Pentagram, the sole eternal catholicism. St. John, in the Apocalypse, beholds this same star fall from heaven to earth. It is then called absinthe or wormwood, and all the waters of the sea become bitter – a striking image of the materialization of dogma, which produces fanaticism and the acridities of controversy. Then unto Christianity itself may be applied those words of Isaiah: “How has thou fallen from heaven, bright star, which wast so splendid in thy prime!” But the Pentagram, profaned by men, burns ever unclouded in the right hand of the Word of Truth, and the inspired voice guarantees to him that overcometh the possession of the Morning Star – a solemn promise of restitution held out to the Star of Lucifer.

    As will be seen, all Mysteries of Magic, all symbols of the Gnosis, all figures of occultism, all kabalistic keys of prophecy are summed up in the Sign of the Pentagram, which Paracelsus proclaims to be the greatest and most potent of all signs.

    Need anyone be surprised therefore that every Magus believes in the real influence exercised by this sign over spirits of all hierarchies? Those who set at naught the Sign of the Cross tremble before the Star of the Microcosm. On the contrary, when conscious of failing will, the Magus turns his eyes towards this symbol, takes it in his right hand and feels armed with intellectual omnipotence, provided that he is truly a king, worthy to be led by the star to the cradle of divine realization; provided that he KNOWS, DARES, WILLS and KEEPS SILENT; provided that he is familiar with the usages of the Pentacle, the Cup, the Wand and the Sword; provided, finally, that the intrepid gaze of his soul corresponds to those two eyes which the ascending point of our Pentagram ever presents open.

     

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