OmE on the Hermetic House of Life Discord server recently brought to my attention Israel Regardie’s “Revised Version for 5=6” of the Middle Pillar Ritual, found in the Llewellyn edition on page 212. It’s been so long since I’ve read The Middle Pillar that I had forgotten this ritual existed, and this was long before my own 5=6 initiation, so I didn’t pay it much attention at the time.

While this is a long ritual composed of six parts, with lengthy orations in each, the rubric itself is reasonably straightforward. After the opening LBRP, the ritual proceeds with sections dedicated to Spirit, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, corresponding to the ordering of the elements found in the Four Winds system and of the LBRP. For each of the sections, a sphere of the Middle Pillar is activated, corresponding to the same locations found in the standard Middle Pillar Ritual but without the Sephirothic connotations. In the elemental sections, the divine and angelic names corresponding to each element are vibrated (the elemental angels deriving from the Key of Solomon), and the prayer of the corresponding elementals (derived from Eliphas Lévi) is said.

The section for Spirit is a bit different from the rest, using only the divine names and the vibration of the four angelic names from the Enochian Tablet of Union. Oddly, these proceed in a different elemental order: EXARP, BITOM, NANTA, and HCOMA, corresponding to Air, Fire, Earth, and Water respectively. This is also different from the ordering on the Enochian Tablet of Union. It is possible that NANTA and HCOMA are inadvertently transposed, but Regardie repeats this ordering in his commentary on the ritual so it is more likely that the ordering is intentional but opaque. The oration is also different, drawing upon the combination of Christian scripture and the oration of Osiris Onnophris the Justified One, the verbiage of which is encountered in Regardie’s ceremony for the Consecration of the Vault of the Adepti and in several of Regardie’s Z.2 rituals.

Finally, the Light is circulated in several different directions and the Osiris godform is assumed before the closing LBRP.

What struck me most about this ritual is that it uses some of the form of the Middle Pillar Ritual, but it works with a completely different language–the language of the Elements, rather than the language of the Sephiroth. While the Middle Pillar Ritual works with the Sephiroth as the primary language and Regardie’s revised 5=6 version works primarily with the Elements, the reason why this is a “revised for 5=6” ritual is because when one reaches the Adeptus Minor grade the Outer Order elemental work is complete, and 5=6 is all about integrating the perfected elements back into the self in harmony and balance. And that’s the primary goal of the revised/elemental Middle Pillar ritual. This is as opposed to the “vanilla” Middle Pillar, which is all about striking the balance in the Middle Pillar with reference to the energy dynamics of the Tree of Life. Both are designed to cultivate balance and harmony, but while there’s a structural similarity the two go about that task in very different ways. And the two rituals are establishing a very different kind of balance. It’s almost like black tea versus green tea. They’re both tea, but the taste is really different.