Draw near, O thou great god Thoth! O Djeḥuti! O ⲐⲞⲨⲦ!
Divine Architect who comes to those who call upon him Build in my heart and mind thy glorious Temple Wer-Hekau, Thou who art Great in Heka Thou Silver Sun, thou Beautiful One who shines in the night Reflect the rays of Tiphereth into my willing heart Thou who drives away evil Preserve me against the Evil Triad as I persevere through the Mysteries
Lord of Heka, thou who fashioned the Magical Current Lord of Judging, husband of Ma’at Thou Orderer of Fate who peers into the heart of the Candidate Superintend my judgement against the Feather of Ma’at in the Hall of Two Truths Advocate for me and write my name in the Book of Life Thrice-Great One who came to be at the beginning Bestow your blessings upon me And on the day of judgement, record that my heart is pure
Lord of Books and Lord of Script Thou who sets forth by writing Lover and Scribe of Ma’at who fashioned all things As I sit myself down to dip my reed in ink May your ḥeka flow through my hand May my heart be made ma’at And may I serve as a sacred scribe to your honor and glory
Every so often, I hear from students who say that they don’t feel anything when doing ritual. Invariably they worry that this is a problem: that not experiencing tangible results from their ritual practice is an indication of failure or of the practice not working. And it’s easy to see why. There are certainly many people who do get those results and can clearly articulate them. Pat Zalewski talks at length about the astral dynamics of ritual that were perceived psychically by Jack Taylor in Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries. Descriptions of bodily sensations and changes in the surrounding environment and whatnot abound. When you don’t experience any of these things in your own practice, it’s hard not to feel like a “squib” (to borrow a term from Harry Potter) who simply has no magical ability.
I have been doing Golden Dawn work for more than 20 years now, and magical work for longer than that, and I still don’t feel anything at all from ritual in most cases other than a generalized sense of peace and groundedness. The exceptions are with spirit work: I’ve had some subtle but quite distinct experiences when assuming godforms, and I’ve had some quite powerful ones when doing evocations. But do I feel much of anything from the LBRP, or the Middle Pillar, or the like? Nope. Forget about it.
And indeed, forgetting about it may be the single best thing that a student can do in this situation. Some people sense astral dynamics, some people feel energy changes. I am not one of them. And I believe this is simply innate to one degree or another. Just like there’s a normal spectrum of human variation when it comes to phantasia, with some people being entirely aphantasic, some hyperphantasic, and most in between, I have come to believe that the same is true of the type of senses we’re talking about here as well. And all appearances are that where each of us ends up on that spectrum is an inborn neurological trait. Similarly, different people experience psychometry in different ways, with information presenting itself in different sensory impressions, and to different degrees of intensity.
Similarly, I am convinced that to some degree the ability to feel ritual, to sense actual change as a result of it or to receive sensory impressions from it, is a faculty that each of us possesses to a greater or lesser degree but which may seem largely or entirely absent in some people such as myself. At this point in my magical journey, if I were going to experience that sort of thing, I expect I would have done so already. It seems unlikely that this will change any time in the foreseeable future. So I forget about it, and move on with doing my work.
Now that said, do I wish I could feel the astral dynamics of ritual, or sense the subtle changes in energy, or differentiate between the feeling of the banishing and invoking Ritual of the Pentagram? Absolutely. And would it be cool to experience that? Hell yeah. And to be sure, there are ways of developing those senses, just as there are techniques and exercises for working with your visualization and improving your dream recall and things like that. But it’s not necessary, and it’s not something you should expect to experience–because everyone’s experience is different.
And don’t think because you don’t feel anything that the rituals aren’t working. I’ve certainly seen results from my ritual work, and those haven’t been impaired by not feeling the subtle workings of the energies of a given ritual in the moment. You simply learn to measure your magic by different yardsticks, and have to focus on its efficacy rather than on your feels. And you’ve got to remember that just because you aren’t feeling it, that doesn’t mean anything is inherently amiss, or that you’re doing anything wrong.
Welcome to the latest video in my Golden Dawn ritual series. This work represents the most complete and comprehensive treatment of the Rose Cross Ritual I have seen in print or elsewhere, and I hope it serves you well. As usual, I have posted the full script below for those of you who prefer to consume your information via text. Thanks for watching and/or reading!
The Rose Cross Ritual is an Adept ritual of the Golden Dawn, which serves to create an astral sanctuary around you—with all of the meanings that word implies. It’s intended to serve as a refuge that veils and protects you against outside influences, and also finds application in healing magic. When you first see the Rose Cross Ritual written out and attempt to read through it, it can seem a bit confusing. But in reality, this is one of the easiest Adept rituals you can do—and when you see it performed, it becomes much clearer and easier to wrap your head around. So as you’ve come to expect from my other videos, I’m going to give you just enough preface to understand what actions to take before launching into a demonstration of the ritual, and afterwards I’ll catch you up on the theory. By the time we’re done, you’ll know how to perform the Rose Cross Ritual correctly and competently in the Golden Dawn tradition.
The key symbol here is of course that of the Rose Cross, which you’ll be tracing in each direction. This should be visualized as a golden Calvary Cross with a rose-red circle. The cross corresponds to the four Elements and the four Rivers of the Garden of Eden, whereas the circle signifies Spirit or Quintessence. Together, these symbolize the same forces represented in the Rose Cross Lamen of the Adept. The circle always starts and ends at the right arm of the cross, at the point symbolized by Chesed.
Unlike the Pentagram Ritual, where you have to learn four different divine names for the four directions, along with the four corresponding Archangels, here there’s only a single name: Yeheshuah. This name is vibrated in each of the four directions, as well as above and below. As long as you can remember which direction to turn in (hint: it’s always clockwise), you’ve already got most of the basics down for the first part of the ritual. First you’ll circumambulate around the space, making the sign of a Rose Cross and vibrating YEHESHUAH in each quarter as you go. Then when you get back to where you started, you’ll trace a line above your head to the opposite side, vibrating YEHESHUAH toward the ceiling; and you’ll carry that line downward and back to the original point, vibrating YEHESHUAH again toward the floor. Then you’ll trace those same lines from a different angle, making a cross or an X with the intersecting lines. Finally you’ll trace a larger Rose Cross in the same quarter you started in, sealing it with the words YEHESHUAH YEHOVASHAH. And the first part of the ritual is done. Don’t worry if it sounds confusing, it’s way easier to wrap your head around it once you see it.
The second part of the ritual is the Analysis of the Keyword, and this will be familiar to anyone who’s done the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram. Ah, but wait, you say! I’ve done the Analysis of the Keyword many times and I have that down, you say! Well, think again! It wouldn’t be a Golden Dawn ritual if there weren’t some kind of gotcha, would it? And unfortunately there is. As it turns out, there are two formulas for the Analysis of the Keyword: the regular version that one finds in the Hexagram Ritual and in the Consecration of the Vault of the Adepti, and the Roseate Analysis of the Keyword, which only appears in the Rose Cross Ritual. The difference between the two is minor but significant. After saying INRI and vibrating Yod Nun Resh Yod, there are two components to the Analysis of the Keyword. In the regular formula, the first component begins with “Virgo, Isis, Mighty Mother” and ends with “Isis, Apophis, Osiris, IAO”. The second component begins with “The Sign of Osiris Slain” and ends with “L.V.X., the Light of the Cross.” In the Roseate formula of the Analysis of the Keyword, these two components are in reverse order. If you’re already familiar with the Analysis of the Keyword, you’ll see what I mean here shortly—and I guarantee you it will trip you up if you aren’t careful. If you aren’t already familiar with it, don’t worry about it too much—just know that when you encounter the Analysis of the Keyword elsewhere, you’ll need to be cognizant of that difference.
The Roseate formula of the Keyword also adds two lines: at the end of the Analysis you’ll vibrate the four names from the Enochian Tablet of Union—EXARP, HCOMA, NANTA, and BITOM—and say “Let the Divine Light descend”.
Now, unlike almost every other Golden Dawn ritual, the Rose Cross Ritual does not need to be prefaced with the LBRP or the LBRH, or even the Qabalistic Cross. You’re welcome to do so, and in fact I rarely perform the Rose Cross Ritual without all of these since I incorporate the ritual into a larger daily practice; but this is not necessary.
A few final notes before we begin:
When you do trace the crosses, make them a couple feet or so tall; there’s no need to go huge with it. As you trace the cross and circle for each Rose Cross except for the final one, time it so that you finish tracing the figure on the last syllable of Yeheshuah. When you’ve finished tracing all of the crosses around the circle and have come back to where you started, prior to proceeding with the Analysis of the Keyword, you’ll retrace the first Rose Cross you drew; except this one you’ll draw larger—and as mentioned before, this time you’ll vibrate YEHESHUAH YEHOVAHSHAH. YEHESHUAH while drawing the top part of the circle around the cross, YEHOVAHSHAH while drawing the bottom part of the circle.
And with that, you know all that you need to know. So let me show you how it’s done.
Incense and Implements
Traditionally, the Rose Cross Ritual is performed using a stick of incense. But you don’t need to be limited to this; feel free to use your fingers or any suitable implement. The Ciceros have come up with a specific Rose Cross Wand to be used with this ritual, and if a tool like that enhances your practice, more power to you. At the end of the day, the tool is merely a focus for and an extension of your Will, and as long as you don’t use a tool that clashes in meaning with the ritual itself, it’s hard to go particularly wrong. You wouldn’t want to use the Magic Sword of Gevurah here, for example, in a ritual of Tiphereth which is supposed to instill peace and grant refuge. But as for myself, while I used an incense stick to demonstrate, I find that I most commonly perform the Rose Cross Ritual using my Lotus Wand. I’m generally already using it for other work, and it’s easy enough to hold the wand by the white band and trace the Rose Crosses using the head of the Lotus. But again, feel free to use whatever you like.
Now the first thing you’re likely to notice about the Rose Cross Ritual, and its biggest point of departure from other Golden Dawn ceremonies, is that it’s performed in the cross quarters rather than in the cardinal directions. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wondered why that is. Unfortunately this question isn’t addressed anywhere in the existing material, but I have a theory. When directionality is used in the Golden Dawn system, it always refers to specific types of symbolism. You have the spatial language of the Elements—as you can see in the LBRP for example—and you have the spatial language of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, which you can see in the initiation ceremonies and the Ceremony of the Equinox.
Within the Outer Order, the only time the cross-quarters hold any significance is in the invisible station of the four Sons of Horus in the Hall of the Neophytes: Imsety, Hapy, Duamutef, and Kebehsenuef are all placed in the ordinal directions—which is to say northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest. Yet the Sons of Horus are fairly minor bit players in this ceremony, and do not connect to any larger nexus of meaning within the spatial geometry of the Temple, as far as I can discern.
But we must remember that the Rose Cross Ritual is not an Outer Order ritual: it is an Adept ritual, which means it is using a different language. Now more so than anything else, the Rose Cross Ritual anchors itself and the operator to the Sephirah of Tiphereth. It’s especially worth pointing out here the instructions which state that after the Analysis of the Keyword, “EXARP HCOMA NANTA BITOM” is only vibrated when you are NOT performing the ritual in the Vault of the Adepti. Since I’m guessing none of you has your own Vault just sitting in a corner of your house—I certainly don’t—this probably won’t be an issue 🙂 But it does tell us something very important about the ritual: as it was originally written, the Rose Cross Ritual was primarily intended to be performed within the Vault of the Adepti. This is also one reason why the LBRP is not performed as a preliminary to the Rose Cross Ritual: banishing is never performed within the Vault, since the Vault is a permanently consecrated space that requires no banishing. The Vault is also housed within the sphere of Tiphereth, as its geometry and symbolism shows.
What this means is that in order to decipher the energy dynamics inherent in the Rose Cross Ritual, we can’t look to the geometry of the Neophyte Hall for our answer. Instead we look at the geometry of the Vault, and of the Tree of Life from the reference point of Tiphereth. And if we orient our perspective here, we quickly see why the cross-quarters are significant: this places us squarely in the center of the Tree of Life, surrounded by four Sephiroth, one in each corner: Chesed, Gevurah, Netzach, and Hod. Kether as the source of Light and Life remains situated in the East, as it has in the astral dynamics of the Tree of Life throughout the Outer Order grades. Chesed and Gevurah are in the Southeast and Northeast respectively, and Netzach and Hod are in the Southwest and Northwest. When we trace the Rose Crosses in the four corners, we are situating ourselves within Tiphereth and essentially sealing and consecrating the Paths which lead from Tiphereth to the adjacent Sephiroth.
This arrangement also holds the key to understanding why we begin and end the Rose Cross Ritual in the Southeast. Remember that just as we begin by invoking the Highest in all that we do and then working our way downwards, from divine names through to archangels and the angels, so too do we begin and end our rituals by orienting ourselves towards the Highest. This is why the LBRP and other rituals begin and end in the East, the Source of Light and Life—and in the Outer Order, the direction of Tiphereth. In the case of the Rose Cross Ritual, we begin and end in the Southeast, orienting ourselves toward the Sephirah of Chesed. As Tiphereth is the loftiest peak represented to the Outer Order, so too does Chesed represent the point of greatest attainment in the Inner Order. As Israel Regardie said, “The Qabalah is the means whereby we may unlock the closed doors of the veiled intimations which abound in the Order rituals.”
Now that we’ve unpacked one of the biggest mysteries of the underlying theory behind the Rose Cross Ritual, let’s spend a moment talking about the Divine Name that the ritual utilizes. Yeheshuah is the Hebraicized form of the name Jesus, and is also called the Pentagrammaton. Note that I say it’s the Hebraicized form, and not the Hebrew form. The actual Hebrew name of Jesus is Yehoshuah, which means “the Lord is salvation”; or more commonly Yeshua, the shortened form of Yehoshuah, which is spelled yod shin vav ayin. Both of these forms were used during the Second Temple period in which Jesus lived, and they were often used interchangeably in the same way one might call someone either Joshua or Josh today. I go into this historical digression to point out that while Yeheshuah is not the actual Hebrew name of the historical Jesus, it serves that mythic function in the magic we perform. The Pentagrammaton that we know today, the Yod Heh Shin Vav Heh, is first attested in Athanasius Kircher and other Renaissance occultists in the 17th century, and was later popularized by Eliphas Lévi, whence it entered the Golden Dawn tradition.
The Pentagrammaton is significant to this ritual, however. In the grades through Portal, the initiate experiences the Elemental energies which are then stabilized and equilibrated by sealing them with the Shin of Yod Heh Shin Vav Heh, the descending Spirit interpenetrating the material world of the elements represented by the Tetragrammaton. In the Rose Cross Ritual you have the same symbolism, with the cross of the elements surrounded by the rose circle of Spirit, sealing and consecrating it.
After tracing the final Rose Cross, the operator vibrates “YEHESHUAH YEHOVASHAH” to seal the whole matrix of interconnected Rose Crosses that has been created within the ritual. The “Yeheshuah Yehovashah” formula is not used frequently within the Golden Dawn system, occurring primarily here in the Rose Cross Ritual. It is also used in the License to Depart, at least in the modern Regardie-derived tradition, in which spirits are told to depart in peace unto their abodes and habitations with the blessings of Yeheshuah Yehovashah.
This formula uses two permutations of the Pentagrammaton: the first, Yeheshuah, places the Shin of Spirit between the Yod-Heh of Fire and Water and the Vav-Heh of Earth and Air, as we’ve already noted. The second, Yehovashah, inserts the Shin before the final Heh of Earth. This has the consequence of placing the letters Yod, Heh, and Vav together. These collectively correspond to the three Qabalistic elements, which in turn are represented by the three Mother Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, Alef (Air), Mem (Water), and Shin (Fire). Thus whereas the name “Yeheshuah” emphasizes the immanence of Spirit in the microcosmic world of the Elements, the name “Yehovashah” places its emphasis on Spirit mediating the three Qabalistic Elements which are the building blocks of all terrestrial things, and coming into final manifestation in the Heh of Earth. The name Yeheshuah connects to Spirit; the name Yehovashah brings Spirit into manifestation in Matter.
The Roseate Analysis of the Keyword
As I mentioned in the preface to the ritual demonstration, the Roseate version of the Analysis of the Keyword is different from that found in the Hexagram Ritual and in the Consecration of the Vault of the Adepti. Apart from the presence of the phrases “Let the Divine Light descend” and the vibration of “EXARP HCOMA NANTA BITOM”, the Roseate formula transposes the portion beginning “Virgo, Isis, Mighty Mother” and that beginning “L, the Sign of the Mourning of Isis”. Why is this different? Why is the formula used in the Rose Cross Ritual different from that used elsewhere?
Well, the truth of the matter is that I have absolutely no idea, and neither as far as I can tell does anyone else. Or if they do, they aren’t telling. So for the time being, this is one of those little eccentricities that you simply have to accept and play along with. If you have any idea why the Analysis of the Keyword differs here, please let me know.
The Enochian angelic names, “EXARP HCOMA NANTA BITOM”, are vibrated immediately before the end of the ritual provided that the operator is not performing the ritual within the Vault of the Adepti. The use of the Enochian names here operates similarly to the Qabalistic Cross and the invocation of the Archangels in the LBRP, in that it expresses an equilibration of the Elemental energies through the angelic names corresponding to those elements. They are only used outside of the Vault firstly because Enochian is not used within the Vault, and secondly because the Vault is already a carefully equilibrated space and therefore this step is rendered unnecessary when performing the ritual within it.
We briefly touched on the purpose of the Rose Cross Ritual at the beginning of this video, but knowing how to perform a ritual doesn’t help you much if you don’t know what to do with it—so I always like to make sure I cover the use cases before I wrap up.
The canonical use of the Rose Cross Ritual is as an astral sanctuary and veil for the operator. With respect to sanctuary, this ritual can protect you from astral entities and influences by concealing you from them and providing you with a sphere of refuge. While this function overlaps somewhat with that of the banishing rituals with which you are no doubt familiar, the two rituals operate in different ways. Banishing forcibly clears the air, as it were, sweeping away unwanted influences from a space or from your consciousness. Westcott wrote that the Rose Cross Ritual is “like a veil”, and contrasts it with the Pentagram Ritual by saying that “the Pentagrams protect, but they also light up the astral and make entities aware of you”. The Ciceros have said that the ritual is “more like a blessing than a banishing”, in that it instead consecrates the space and the operator, raising them to the state of Tiphereth, and rendering them impervious to, and to some extent invisible from, outside influence. This property of the ritual is responsible for much of its efficacy in the use cases that are generally discussed, such as protection against psychic invasion or disturbed psychic conditions, maintaining inner calm, and the like. The Ciceros have also contrasted the Rose Cross Ritual with the Pentagram Ritual by saying that “the Pentagram and the Rose Cross are both symbols of protection, but while the Pentagram is well suited for summoning and dismissing specific energies, the Rose Cross is particularly suited for meditation, protection, balancing, blessing, and healing.”
Now I just said a moment ago that the Rose Cross Ritual raises the operator and the working space to the state of Tiphereth, and to my mind the importance of this function can’t be overstated. Tiphereth consciousness, or “Christ consciousness” if you prefer, is the state which the Adeptus Minor is attempting to cultivate through this ritual. This state of consciousness aligns the human will to the Divine Will, and better enables the magician to serve as a vessel or conduit through which the divine energy can flow. Describing this state, Regardie says that it should result “in the acquisition of some degree of peace and quiet”, and that “a sense of well being and inner assurance will arise from within”. He continues, saying “it is the tranquility and calmness now developed that permits, as it were, the mind to open up and receive the influx of the Holy Spirit”.
Working from this state and in this ritual context also facilitates healing magic. This entails building up an astral image of the afflicted person within the center of the circle, and calling down the Light upon them just as it is called upon to fill the working sphere and the operator.
That wraps up the theory and practice of the Rose Cross Ritual. Thanks for watching. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comments or feel free to contact me. For more of my work, check out my blog at Hermeticulture.org, or find me on Discord; links are below. Until next time, keep making magic!
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