In my last video on the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram, I gave the bare rudiments of practical information so you can perform the ritual competently in the Golden Dawn tradition. Now it’s time to dig into the whys and wherefores behind the ritual, and take a deep dive into the theory.
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram was historically one of the first rituals that an Adeptus Minor in the Golden Dawn would encounter, and among the first they were expected to master along with the rest of the Pentagram and Hexagram Rituals.
Whereas the Pentagram Rituals are intended to work with the Elemental realm, the Rituals of the Hexagram are used specifically for working with the Planets. In the same way that the LBRP is not an Elemental ritual, however, but rather a general Microcosmic banishing, it may also be fair to say that the LBRH is a general Macrocosmic banishing rather than a specifically Planetary ritual. Regardless, because the Hexagram is especially referred to the Planets and their corresponding Sephiroth, it can be said that the LBRH “shakes the cosmic Etch-a-Sketch” on this level, so to speak. As a result, you should use it to clear the astral air before doing any sort of working with the planets or the Sephiroth.
So the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram is a planetary banishing, and also a general Macrocosmic banishing. In the Golden Dawn system, the Hexagram Ritual is also used to create the magic circle for a planetary or sephirothic working (which is a different operation from the banishing!), but this is done via the Lesser Invoking Hexagram appropriate to that specific planet rather than the general Lesser Banishing Hexagram.
This is different from the Pentagram Ritual, in which the LBRP is always used as a preamble to any more advanced working and is done again at its conclusion. By contrast, the banishing forms of the Hexagram Ritual are used only to clear the air prior to performing a Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram in an unconsecrated space, or to “tear down” the magic circle previously built up in ritual with the appropriate Lesser Invoking Hexagram. The one circumstance where the LBRH would be used in a specifically planetary context is when you’re working with the energies of multiple planets at the same time—in which case you’ll still open with the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram, and only use the LBRH to tear down the circle afterward.
Just like the LBRP uses Earth, the densest and heaviest element, as a shorthand notation for a general banishing ritual, the LBRH uses Saturn, the densest and heaviest planet, as its own shorthand notation for general banishing. Saturn, the planet of limits and of boundaries, is also symbolically appropriate to the task—just as the LBRP is suitable for “grounding” to microcosmic earth.
Each Hexagram in the LBRH is composed of two triangles, and the corners or vertices of these triangles correspond to individual planets as laid out around Tiphereth on the Tree of Life. The first triangle is always traced starting from the point of the planet you’re working with; the second one is traced starting from the point directly opposite that planet. In the case of the Saturn Hexagram, used in the LBRH, the first triangle always begins at the point of Saturn and the second triangle always begins at the point of the Moon.
The four forms of the hexagram were originally spotted by S. L. MacGregor Mathers in a manuscript of the Key of Solomon on one of the Solomonic pentacles, and were adapted to the four directions in the LBRH. The Hexagrams do have distinct elemental attributions according to the direction in which they’re drawn. Additionally, the hexagrams are always formed of a triangle of Fire and one of Water, thus maintaining a state of equilibrium. In the LBRH, the Fire triangle is always drawn first as Saturn resides at the apex of this triangle when it’s superimposed on the Tree of Life.
Unlike the Pentagrams, which are assigned to the directions according to the Four Winds attribution, the Hexagrams are assigned to the directions using the astrological scheme. The cardinal directions correspond in this case to the four Cardinal Signs of astrology: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn.
In the East, in the place where the Sun rises in Aries at the Vernal Equinox, the Fire Hexagram is composed of two upright triangles—the only hexagram in which this is the case. The Water triangle in this case is flipped, and is the bottom of the two. This hexagram was given to the East because the two upright triangles echo the elemental symbol for Fire, and like Fire they reach toward the heavens.
In the South, corresponding to Capricorn, is the Earth Hexagram. The Earth Hexagram is the form we’re all familiar with, with two interlocking triangles. This echoes the symbol of the Hexagram on the Earth Pentacle of the Adept, and represents the Microcosmic realm of Earth on the Macrocosmic level.
In the West, the place of Libra and the Autumnal Equinox, is the Air Hexagram. The Air Hexagram is formed out of two triangles that touch on one side, and this form of the Hexagram was assigned to the element of Air because the diamond shape resembles the octahedron, the Platonic solid corresponding to that element.
Finally, in the North, the direction of Cancer, we have the Water Hexagram. Unlike the Air Hexagram, the Water Hexagram is made out of two triangles that touch at one point. This form of the Hexagram was referred to the element of Water because the shape is said to resemble a cup.
A full discussion of the Analysis of the Key-Word really warrants its own separate treatment, and is beyond the scope of the LBRH—but suffice it to say that the L.V.X. signs are the grade signs of Adeptus Minor; and they’re used in the macrocosmic Hexagram Ritual in the same way that the elemental and Portal grade signs are used in the microcosmic Pentagram Ritual, in its Greater and Supreme forms. The Analysis of the Key-Word that summarizes the L.V.X. formula is an expression of equilibrium and balance similar to the Qabalistic Cross, insofar as it expresses the macrocosmic currents of Chesed and Gevurah harmonized on the Middle Pillar in Tiphereth.
The Divine Name used in each of the four quarters in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram is ARARITA. This is a notariqon, or Hebrew acrostic—much like AGLA in the LBRP stands for “Atah Gibor Le-Olam Adonai”, or “Thou art great forever, O Lord”. In this case, ARARITA stands for “Echad Rosh, Achduto Rosh Yichudo, Temurato Echad” (אחד ראש אחדותו ראש יחודו תמורתו אחד). This is traditionally translated as “One is His Beginning; One is His Individuality; His Permutation is One”. A better translation, however, might be something like “One is the Beginning of his Unity/Oneness; his Beginning is his Uniqueness; his Permutation is One”.
According to Éliphas Lévi, in Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, translated into English by A. E. Waite as Transcendental Magic, ARARITA is the sound by which the Tetragrammaton was pronounced. Lévi includes some typically dense prose about the significance of the way the word is formed, but most notably for our purposes, the name ARARITA is composed of seven letters—ideal for use when working with the seven planets; and indeed the Hexagram Ritual assigns one of the letters of the name ARARITA to each specific planet. This comes into play when performing the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram, but you need not concern yourself with the finer points of detail for the purposes of the LBRH.
The name ARARITA itself originates in Jewish Kabbalah around the beginning of the 13th century. The expanded notariqon itself also appears in gate 21 chapter 3 of the 16th century Kabbalistic text Pardes Rimonim, or the Garden of Pomegranates—the same text Israel Regardie named his book about Qabalah after. But I digress. The composition of the name ARARITA is interesting and contains Kabbalistic significance, but since it’s beyond the scope of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram, I’ll leave you to pursue that rabbit hole on your own if you like, alongside the Analysis of the Key-Word.
That wraps up the theory of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram. Thanks for reading and/or watching.