Many of these essays first appeared in the Scarlet Letter.

All essays written by Fr. Pnesomauma unless otherwise noted.


[Greater Pentagrams & Hexagrams | Fortifications | Dog Breath Relays | Dog Ceremonies | Canonical Rites]

Greater Pentagrams & Hexagrams

The basic technologies for ceremonial magick are set forth in Liber O. Banishings and invocations are divided into elemental and planetary categories, and grouped under the figures of the pentagram and hexagram, respectively. In each case, a distinction is made between the "lesser" ritual and the "greater" ritual pertaining to that figure. It is unsurprising that many magicians first take this distinction to refer to a difference of degree, i.e. the "greater" ritual is merely a more elaborate and powerful version of the "lesser" ritual. In fact, the difference is one of type and intention.

The "lesser" rituals of the pentagram and hexagram are widely understood and appreciated in terms of their intention and effect. Whether used to banish or to invoke, each ritual is designed to address a full spectrum of forces (elemental or planetary) in a balanced, comprehensive fashion. The fact that the elemental forces are "coarser" and more palpable than the planetary ones accounts for the relative importance and frequency of the lesser pentagram ritual in ceremonial work. In Liber O, the descriptions of the lesser rituals of the pentagram and hexagram are given in direct, step-by-step instructions.

The descriptions of the greater rituals are much more obscure. Instead of a sequence of actions, these rituals are described with sets of lineal figures, gestures, and god-names. Instructions for integrating this information into a ritual are absent. There is good reason for the omission: there is no single greater ritual of the pentagram or hexagram. Unlike the lesser rituals which cover a full array of forces, the greater rituals are used to address only one element or planet at a time, to invoke it for a particular purpose, or to banish it from its established presence. So whereas "lesser banishing pentagram" indicates a well-defined ritual, "greater banishing pentagram" begs the question "of which element?"

Thus the magician who wants to invoke Mercury is provided with some material from which he can construct the greater hexagram ritual for the purpose, and the magician who wishes to invoke and then banish water should be able to apply the relevant gestures and words for the greater pentagram ritual. The material included in Liber O is by no means a comprehensive set of greater invoking and banishing components. The elemental "grade openings" included by Crowley in Liber Chanokh are excellent examples of greater invoking pentagram rituals which incorporate material beyond that inventoried in Liber O. A further "thelemicized" set of greater invoking pentagram rituals has been generated by the Smoking Dog Project.

It sometimes happens that a magician will assemble the full range of greater pentagram or hexagram materials into a single ritual. There are several possible reasons for this, including the desire for a more elaborate and powerful version of the lesser ritual, and the interest in keeping practice balanced when first training in the material. Such a composite ritual can be conveniently referred to as a "supreme" ritual of the pentagram or hexagram, in accord with a usage coined by D. M. Kraig. A good conservative example of this sort of ritual appears as the "Greater Ritual of the Pentagram" in L.M. DuQuette's Magick of Thelema (New Falcon Press).


***Under Construction:
[This section will include a brief discussion of the use of short incantations to precede the lineal figures and enterers in pentagram rituals. It will give the formula for extracting such incantations from Liber 963. Ideally, it will include a program that will generate the full set for the Star Ruby (Lies & Magick versions) and Mark of the Beast.]

Dogbreath Relays

"Is God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us."AL II:19

The Dogbreath Relay is a series of "pathworkings" designed to be executed by thelemites working in groups of five to nine magicians over a two-year period. The Smoking Dog Project has already undertaken the first two Legs of the Relay. Each quarterly Leg has included working a path each month in two complimentary sessions, for a total of six sessions or three paths per Leg. Participants are asked to commit to the work of an entire Leg, and at the end of each Leg, there is an opportunity for old Dogs to retire, and new ones to join. The Relay draws on various texts and technologies, but focuses on an exploration of the material in Liber CCXXXI. For the initial Dogbreath Relay, we are only working with the spirits of the Houses of Mercury. The Prisons of the Qliphoth may be incorporated into a future series.

The Relay is run twice a month by the group, which is divided into two teams: the Damned and the Dead. The two teams exchange their roles, so that each pathe may be worked by all of the participants in both capacities. The responsibilities of the teams are detailed below. The sequence of exchange flips each month, so that an individual participant in the First Leg would have worked in either the following pattern or its complement:

Dead Dogs: "There is death for the dogs." AL II:45

Damned Dogs: "Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!"

The results of some of our work appear below:

Frater Pnesomauma
Soror Qadisha
Frater Sar Shalom

Dog Ceremonies

Original ceremonial rituals from the Smoking Dog Project:

Canonical Ceremonial Rites

Where there is smoke . . .

Smoking Dog Pages designed by Sor. Qadisha & Fr. Pnesomauma and created by Sr. Qadisha