Monday, April 13, 2015

GD: Using the Neophyte signs in the LRP

I have noticed that most modern practitioners seem to employ the Neophyte signs when performing the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (and sometimes the Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram as well), using the saluting sign to 'charge' the Pentagrams after drawing them, while vibrating the appropriate Name. As Nick Farrell pointed out on his blog (and in one of his books), there is little evidence that the original Order taught this, but it has still proved useful enough that it has been kept in most modern books.

On the other hand, though, there are some people who seem to imply that using the Neophyte signs is somehow essential to the LRP. One person I ran across on social media claimed that they felt that the LRP was all but pointless if the Neophyte signs were not used. I think that, for most practitioners, this should not be the case.

Granted, they can be very useful, but the ritual can certainly be performed without them, and in some cases might have to be. The best way I can explain this is by giving examples from my own practice.

The room that I currently use for ritual work doubles as a bedroom, which means that floor space is limited. Even with a medium-sized trunk for a (roughly double-cube shaped) altar, circumambulating without scraping against a wall is difficult.* I can usually manage when I'm just using my hands for the ritual, but when I'm using a tool - usually either a dagger, or the Outer Wand of Double Power that I made - I find that I literally don't have room to give the saluting sign while holding the tool. Therefore, I have to choose one or the other.

I think part of the reason some slightly newer practitioners emphasize the Neophyte signs is due to the enhancement of 'energy' that they tend to bring if they are given with a lot of force behind them. What helps me make up for that in situations where I'm low on floor space is using a simplified version of the 'Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar,' like Crowley gives in Liber O. If I'm using this, not only does it force me to pay attention, it also lets me get a similar level of emotional arousal to that I get from vigorously giving the saluting sign. (Obviously, using the Vibratory Formula in tandem with the saluting sign can't hurt.)

* This is why I often leave my altar in the East of the room; having it slightly out of the way helps me focus on the ritual, without worrying about backing into a candle.