During the last few years I have taken time out to travel and write, and to re-orientate my magical and spiritual practices. It has been a few years of tremendous transformation for me, which has included leaving behind, burning and burying forever some of the tinsel that accompanied the traditions and practices I had been involved with most of my adult life. I am currently taking time out to revisit old magical journals, ritual logs going back to 2000/2001, and also my previously published material and ritual archives. It is quite a journey, one in which I am clearing out from my life, completely, all that remains from practices that no longer serve me.
What is striking is that the material I continue to use, teach and adapt – and which continues to bring about insight for participants – is usually the simplest. This Unification Rite was created for a group I co-facilitated in London in around 2002/3 and I continue to use an adapted version of it today. The magic of the four elements (Air, Fire, Water and Earth) and the Seven Wandering Stars (Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter) are ever present.
The Unification Rite, as presented below, is published in the book Practical Elemental Magick (2008) which I co-authored with David Rankine.
THE UNIFICATION RITE
“Apollonius again asked which was the first of the elements, and Iarchas answered: ‘All are simultaneous, for a living creature is not born bit by bit.’”
(Philostratus, 220 CE)
The practice of the Unification Rite which follows is entirely centred on the magickal axiom of ‘As above, so below.’ This is arguably the most significant of all magickal doctrines, from its roots in the Sumerian Inanna myths to the alchemy of the Emerald Tablet and in the Qabalah. The axiom of As above, so below sums up the whole principle of sympathetic (or contagious) magick. It states that our actions are both influenced by the universe and also influence the universe. Normally the matter of scale dictates that the above, the universe or macrocosm, has a greater influence on the below, the person or microcosm. However if you are the fulcrum at the right place and at the right time, who is to say what can or cannot be achieved? Consider pivotal moments in history and you will appreciate that sometimes a single simple act may have repercussions throughout the world and beyond.
For any act of magick you should be in a state of balance. This has implications, for to be balanced you have to conduct yourself in certain ways, adopt a suitable lifestyle, train yourself to harness your abilities, the list goes on. So whilst it is true that magick can be extremely simple, perhaps it is also true to say that to prepare yourself to perform effective magick, whilst also simple, is a disciplined process which cannot effectively be undertaken on a whim. What might seem like simple temple skills can take many years to perfect.
The As above, so below formula permeates the Western Esoteric Traditions. It contains within it many layers of meaning, but most of all it is an allegory for the interconnectedness of all things. The Orphic Oath emphasises the presence of this key axiom in the mystery traditions – the declaration that “I am a child of earth and starry heaven” is a proclamation to the universe of realisation of the universal nature of the individual. This then is essentially the process of the Great Work, being the focal point of your own existence and directing your intent towards perfection. Then truly you are living As above, so below.
If you have not worked with this formula before you should take some time to contemplate it prior to undertaking the Unification Rite of the Four Elements as a personal understanding of its importance will help intensify the ritual experience for you.
THE UNIFICATION RITE OF THE FOUR ELEMENTS
This rite is a ceremonial balancing of the elements within yourself for use prior to or as part of a ritual.
You will need:
Censer of incense
Candle (preferably red)
Chalice of water
Take the censer of incense from the altar and walk to the east. Hold the censer of incense up to the east, and visualise the triangle of Air in vibrant yellow behind the censer, saying:
Air be thou adored within and without, as above, so below
Breathe the incense smoke in, feeling the power of air within yourself as the fragrance of the incense permeates the room. Circumambulate the rest of the circle clockwise back to the east holding the censer and return it to the altar.
Take the candle from the altar and walk to the south. Hold the candle up to the south, and visualise the red triangle of Fire behind the candle, saying:
Fire be thou adored within and without, as above, so below
Watch the dancing flame, and wait for it to move towards you, showing the connection between you and fire; feel the power of fire within yourself, the flame of your will. Circumambulate the rest of the circle clockwise back to the south holding the candle and return it to the altar.
Take the chalice of water from the altar and walk to the west. Hold the chalice of water up to the west, and visualise the downward pointing blue triangle of Water behind the chalice, saying:
Water be thou adored within and without, as above, so below
Bring the chalice to your lips and taste a sip of the water, feeling the power of water flowing into you and through you as the water flows down your throat. Circumambulate the rest of the circle clockwise back to the west holding the chalice and return to the altar.
Take the pentacle from the altar and walk to the north. Hold the pentacle up to the north, visualise the earth triangle in a verdant green behind the pentacle and say:
Earth be thou adored within and without, as above, so below
Hold the pentacle to your chest so it is in front of your heart, and feel the connection between the power of earth and the physicality of your form; feel your own physical power. Circumambulate the rest of the circle clockwise back to the north holding the pentacle and return it to the altar.