If you are a follower of ceremonial magick as it is taught in western traditions, then it is highly likely you have come across The Middle Pillar (MP). It is an exercise which focuses on the central pillar of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and the five sephirot that are located on it. (And also the name of a book by the occultist and author Israel Regardie) The central pillar maintains the balance between the Pillar of Mercy and The Pillar of Severity, and it consists of four sephirot, along with the hidden sephira of Daath. The order of the sephirot from top to bottom is Kether – Daath – Tiphareth – Yesod – Malkuth, and it represents a descend from the infinite Unity of God all the way to the seemingly infinite diversity of Malkuth, where our physical world is located.
The goal of the exercise is to draw down energy from the topmost sephira of Kether, through the lower three sephirot, and bringing it down into the lowest sephira. Thus, the energy is drawn into the personal sphere of the consciousness of the person who makes use of this exercise. In Chapter 4 of his book The Middle Pillar, Israel Regardie writes “To my mind, the exercise described as the Middle Pillar is the groundwork of all actual developmental work. It is a process which is the basis of magic”. The author starts the aforementioned chapter with the following paragraph:
It is my confirmed belief that several weeks at the very least of patient application to the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) should precede any effort to perform the Middle Pillar. For one thing, it will have trained the student in several little tricks of routine and magical technique quite apart from the intrinsic virtues of the exercise, which is to purify and cleanse the entire sphere of personality to the end that the higher self may manifest through a purified body and mind. If the exercise has been labored at for two or three months, performing it two or three times during the course of each day, the student will approach the further stages of magic well-prepared, quite able to cope with and accommodate the increased vitality and power which will pour through him.
As someone who started practising magick by performing the LBRP and MP on a regular basis, what Regardie wrote seems very logical. This is because the Middle Pillar
Besides the usual daily routine of magical practice, one can also perform the MP during ritual work that targets the achievement of theurgical or thaumaturgical goals. In this case, the exercise raises the energy of the practitioner, and allows them to exercise that energy unto the ritual. I find this to be extremely beneficial for rituals which are performed for the goal of creating elixirs or talismans. This is because I follow Scott Michael Stenwick’s method2of creating such magical operations and I project my own energy into the elixir or talisman upon asking the spirit to charge it. By raising my energy with the use of the MP, I will have projected more of it into the object of the ritual, and that, of course, adds to its efficiency when being put to use.
The MP can also be used for the goal of achieving a godhead assumption, as one is basically invoking the divine into their self when performing it. The divine, in this case, is represented by the energies of Kether. By reading Frater Barrabbas’ blog on the subject I was pleased to find that he wrote of the personal godhead as being, and I’m paraphrasing, the same as the supreme godhead. I, for one, see this as logical, since to my mind all gods and goddesses are individual aspects of the supreme creator. Therefore, I make use of the MP in such way that it would bring down the certain aspect which I want to work with in a specific ritual, and that specific aspect of the supreme creator would then stand in for my personal godhead for the duration of the ritual.
I do this in all my rituals, no matter what entity I am about to conjure, whether it is elemental, planetary, or zodiacal in nature. And since those spirits which are generally known as demons also have planetary and/or zodiacal attributions, I do this to call on the godhead of the planet or zodiac sign which the spirit I am about to call on is attributed to. If the entity I am calling happens to be a Pagan god or goddess, even better, because I feel like I am acting as him or her during the rest of the ritual.
The ritual for attaining full godhead assumption is much lengthier and it consists of a series of prayers and adorations besides the actual invocation, which can be the Orphic or Homeric hymn to the god or goddess. The whole theurgic working would span over the course of more than one ritual, as preparatory work that includes fasting, daily prayers, devotional work, and so on would be required. Frater Barrabbas talks about this in much more detail on his blog3 and the reader is free to look it up.
In the case of a single, thaumaturgic ritual, I have found that a shorter version of a godhead assumption is is order, and I have been working on perfecting the technique for over an year now. I feel like I have achieved the best and fastest method of doing this with the use of the MP in the last few weeks, especially after receiving some insight from Scott Stenwick’s blog, and so I feel like putting it out there in hope that others will try it and see if it works for them as well as it does for me.
The technique differs somewhat from the traditional one taught in the Golden Dawn, and it incorporates the simpler method of drawing down the energies through the sephirot, as shown in Poke Runyon’s video((KnowThyself “Poke Runyon – The Magick Of Solomon” Youtube)) from more than 20 years ago. That is to say, the operant uses the invoking wand to point to each sephira in turn as they vibrate the godname just once, then guides a beam of light from that sephira to the lower one, and so on. Each of the five sephirot of the MP is to be visualized in the appropriate colour of the sephira or path of the Tree of Life. For instance, if one is to call on the forces of Chesed((Scott Stenwick “The Path of Initiation – Chesed” Augoeides: via solis. 2017)) , the sephira of Jupiter, one is to visualize each sephira in blue, but if one is to call on the forces of the path of Jupiter((Scott Stenwick “The Planetary Work – Jupiter” Augoeides: via solis. 2016)), then they are to visualize each sephira in violet. The difference between the sephira and the path of a planet is that the former is best to be used for mystical workings – i.e. Vision of Love, while the latter is best to be used for achieving goals in the mundane universe – i.e. power of acquiring political and other ascendancy; gaining more money etc. The colour of a sephira is to be visualized in the Queen Scale colour((“Color Scales in the Four Worlds” Lelandra.com)), while the colour of the path is to be visualized in the King Scale colour, according to the traditional Golden Dawn attributions. Moreover, the operant will vibrate the godname of the sephira or path whose forces they want to work with. As in the previous example, one would vibrate EL when working with the sephira of Jupiter, or ABA when working with the path of Jupiter. The godnames of the paths can be found in Liber 777, Table I, Column V: God-Names in Assiah.
If one is to perform a ritual for calling on a spirit of the Goetia, then they can perform a godhead assumption of the planet or zodiac sign to which that spirit is attributed. In the former case I would vibrate the godname for the path of the planet, and in the latter case I would vibrate the godname of the zodiac sign((Scott Stenwick “The Zodiacal Work – Pisces” Augoeides: via solis. 2017)) . Since I have found that more than one spirit of the Goetia is assigned to different signs, depending on different sources, I perform the godhead assumption of the planetary path to which that spirit corresponds: Kings-Sol, Princes-Jupiter, Earls-Mars, Dukes-Venus, Presidents-Mercury, Marquises-Moon, Knight-Saturn. Columns CLV, CLVII, CLIX, CLXI, CLXIII, and CLXV of Liber 777 present the list of the demons of the Goetia. Crowley attributes each of them to a planet (or two), and also inserts the Scale of the zodiac signs to which he attributes the 72 spirits. You are free to choose between the colour scale of the planet or that of the zodiac sign, should you want to follow Crowley’s attributions.
In the case of Pagan gods and goddesses, the sephirot of the MP will be visualized in the color usually attributed to the deity, and the name of that deity will be vibrated. So if you are to perform the godhead assumption of Apollo, you would visualize the sephirot in golden light. For Hekate you can use black, red, white, or whatever color you associate with her mostly. For the Morrigan you can use black or red, and so on.
Moving on, I employ the circulation of light by visualizing the beams of light to my right and left, front and back, in the same color as I did in the case of the sephirot. I visualize a beam of colored light shooting upwards on my right side, from the soles of my feet (Malkuth) and ending above my head (Kether), and going back down on my left side, from above my head to the soles of my feet. I do four visualizations of this beam of light, and afterwards I visualize a beam shooting upwards on my front side and going back down on my back side. I also do four visualizations of this second beam. The reason for which I am doing four visualizations for each of the two beams of light is that the number 4 represents manifestation, and as Agrippa mentions his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, the number four signifies solidity. Therefore, I am using four visualizations on each of the axis in order to manifest the godhead into the physical realm and solidify it there, using my own body as a vessel.
I visualize the beam shooting up to my right and front sides, because those sides correspond to the elements of Fire and Air in the microcosmic arrangement on which the LBRP is based. The Golden Dawn taught that the operant should face West when performing the MP, but this isn’t always necessary.((Scott Stenwick “Hacking The Middle Pillar” Augoeides: via solis. 2016)) I for one face East whenever I perform it, and therefore I have Fire to my right and Air to my front, with Earth to my left and Water to my back. Fire and Air are active, projective elements, and therefore it seemed logical to me to visualize the beam of light as shooting upwards. Earth and Water are passive, receptive elements, and therefore I visualize the beams as going down towards their quarters.
I also make use of “the fountain of light”, a visualization of light as it makes its way up the middle pillar and sprays all around along the aura, from the top of the head to the soles of the feet. This would be somewhat similar to kundalini energy rising from the first chakra, up the spine, and igniting the crown chakra. I associate this step with attaining the godhead and it manifesting through me. I visualize the fountain of light in the number of times associated with the godhead. In case of kabbalistic rituals I do this visualization in the number of times associated with the planet I am to work with (Jupiter-four, Saturn-three, Sun-six, etc). In the case of zodiacal forces I visualize the fountain of light in the number of times associated with the ruling planet of the sign (Jupiter-Sagittarius, Saturn-Capricorn, Sun-Leo, etc). And in the case of elemental forces I do the visualization five times, since there are five elements, Spirit included. So if you
Having done all that, I visualize the symbol of that godhead above my head, in the region corresponding to the sephira Kether. This symbol can be the planetary or zodiacal glyph, the alchemical symbol of the element, or a symbol attributed to the heathen deity. I vibrate the godname as I visualize the symbol and then I perform the Kabbalistic Cross, by touching the symbol (Ateh), drawing down a beam of light in the appropriate colour from it all the way to the feet (Malkuth). Then from the heart centre I draw another beam of light in the appropriate colour to my right shoulder (Ve Geburah), then to my left shoulder (Ve Gedulah), and finishing with the Sign of Osiris Risen (Le Olahm, Amen), while at the same time visualizing the egg-shaped aura around me shining bright in the colour I had previously visualized. I am performing the Kabbalistic Cross at this point in order to ground and stabilize the energies of the godhead once more, for I have found the overall flow of the ritual improves if I do so.
Here’s an example for a godhead assumption for the path of Jupiter:
1. With the elemental weapon or forefinger of your dominant hand point towards the top of your head
a) vibrate ABA while visualizing a violet sphere forming in that place – Kether
b) Draw a violet beam of light from the sephira down to your throat, then vibrate ABA, while visualizing another violet sphere forming around the region of your throat chakra – Daath
c) From the above sphere draw a violet beam of light to your heart center, then vibrate ABA, while visualizing another violet sphere forming in that region – Tiphareth
d) Draw a violet beam of light further down to your groin region, then vibrate ABA, while visualizing the fourth violet sphere forming around your genitals – Yesod
e) Draw a violet beam further down to your feet, then vibrate ABA while visualizing the last violet sphere forming around your feet – Malkuth
2. Visualize the beams of violet light according to the quarters
a) on your right side from your feet, up to the top of your head, then back down to your feet on your left side – four times
b) on your front side from your feet, up to the top of your head, then back down to your feet on your back side – four times
3. Visualize the fountain of light by imagining a beam of violet light shooting up from your feet, through all five spheres you had previously visualized on the middle pillar, which then sprays violet light around your aura from the topmost sphere to the bottom one
4. Perform the Qabalistic Cross
a) visualize the planetary glyph of Jupiter shining in violet light on top of your head and vibrate ABA. You can visualize the planetary seal of Jupiter from Agrippa instead, should you choose to.
b) point at the glyph and vibrate ATEH
c) draw violet light from it all the way to your feet, and vibrate MALKUTH
d) point at the violet beam of light at the height of your heart center, then draw a beam of violet light from it to your right shoulder, and vibrate VE GEBURAH
e) direct another beam of violet light from your heart center to your left shoulder, and vibrate VE GEDULAH
f) Perform the Sign of Osiris Risen and vibrate LE OLAHM, AMEN, while visualizing your whole aura shining in violet light
At this point you are done and you should feel totally different than before you began, as you are infused with the energies of the godhead of the path of Jupiter. The sensations are far too subjective to describe, and I am sure every individual will experience them in their own way. Since the example was about Jupiter, something like grandeur and benevolence could be very well felt with intensity, along with other sensations that are likely to be present. When I perform a godhead assumption for the path of Saturn for instance, I get a feeling of seriousness and timelessness, along with intense clarity. For the element of Earth I get a feeling of solidity, stillness, and fertility.
I have found that doing this simple technique of employing the Middle Pillar into the godhead assumption helps me focus far better in ritual. It also allows me to perceive the presence of the spirits and their voices clearer, along with making them appear faster and showing more willingness to listen to what I want of them. I hope that at least one other person will give it a try and see if they feel any improvement in the ritual itself, as well as in the outcome of the ritual.