Banishing, for the Unfamiliar

Banishing, for the Unfamiliar

Earth banishing and invoking pentagrams

In my last post on getting rid of unwanted spirits, I rather shoved the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) at you. In this post, I’ll give more information about that ritual and what it does.

The Short Version

  • The Qabalistic Cross draws divine light into you and your personal space, basically asking for the Universe’s (or God’s if you prefer) blessing for the rite you are about to perform (or have performed).
  • The Tracing of the Pentagrams banishes all attendant energies, including those of the four elements of air, fire, water, and earth. This balances your energies, centers you, and keeps you balanced for 24 hours, which is how often it is recommended one perform the ritual for its own sake, if one aspires to personal growth as a magician.
  • The Invocation of the Archangels calls on the rulers of the four elements to rebalance the energies in you and your personal space, and to guard you from interference in the day to come.
  • The closing Qabalistic Cross settles the energies you’ve adjusted, allowing them to gel or “take.”
  • The rest of this post, below, will go into more detail on the various components of the ritual and why it should not intimidate you or make you feel uncomfortable. I hope. :)

Let me begin by referring you to an article in an old issue of Rending the Veil, “A Neophyte’s Commentary on the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram,” by Nicholas Graham. Nick goes through the ritual step by step, providing a deeper look at the symbolism the ritual uses. I’ll attempt to bring to a general audience what I’ve gleaned about the rite, without (I hope) getting too caught up in obscure references or systems the reader may be unfamiliar with, though some of that is unavoidable. If you want to know more about those things, read Nick’s article. However, the need exists to at least break the ritual down into its individual elements, so that I can help you understand their purposes, and the purpose of the rite in general.

Taken as a whole, the LBRP does more than banish spirits. It also banishes the four elements via the use of the single Banishing Pentagram of Earth. Earth, by its very nature, contains the essence of air, fire, and water, as well. So the simple banishing pentagram of earth banishes all four elements and their attendant energies, cleansing yourself and your personal sphere (think of it as your personal space and your home, etc.). It then invokes, via the invocation of the archangels, the elemental energies back into your sphere in a balanced manner. The angels rule the elements in this case, and they also serves as guardians for you. I’m going to give you some idea of how to visualize and think about the components of the ritual as I describe them. I also think you might benefit from understanding why balancing the elemental energies is important.

The LBRP is performed as an opening and closing ceremony to many rituals or works of magick. It cleanses the space, casts a circle, calls guardians, and puts the subconscious in the right place to perform magick. When closing with it, it is like the period at the end of a sentence, signaling the work is over.

The Qabalistic Cross

As Nick explains in detail, the opening mini-rite of the LBRP, called the Qabalistic Cross, aligns you with God. This is not to say that it takes God’s name in vain (as one Catholic described it). When you begin the Cross, you imagine yourself growing to great heights with your feet upon the earth and your head far off into the distant universe. When you vibrate the names of God in Hebrew during this mini ritual, you are merely uttering the last couple of lines of the Lord’s Prayer — “Thou art (Atah) the Kingdom (Malkuth), the Power (ve-Geburah) and the Glory (ve-Gedulah), forever (Leholam), Amen.” However, for those of you who balk at that idea, you are (as the microcosm) also taking on the role of the macrocosm — “As above, so below.” You are bringing the blessings of the universe, through your body-as-channel, to the earth sphere and into your own personal sphere. This rises above any notions of religion. God is incomprehensible to all but the most arrogant who presume they know better. The rite does not seek to act as God or to imitate God, nor even to presume to know God — it merely aspires to create a conduit so that we may be inspired and blessed with the light to act in accordance with the will of the Universe. It asks the Universe (and God, by association) to support and provide impetus for our magick.

The Tracing of the Pentagrams, part 1

On my website, linked above, I give the pentagrams for all four elements. When I first started to do daily ritual back in 1999 (around the same time I put up that page), I would use all four elemental banishing pentagrams. In the east I’d use air, in the south fire, and so on. I didn’t understand why earth pentagrams were used in all four directions. It took more study before I really embraced the idea of using earth banishing pentagrams alone. Earth, as in the material universe, is Malkuth in Qabalah. Before Earth is made manifest, the energies put forth by God (whatever God may be) to create the universe had to emanate, like water that spills from the top of a many-tiered fountain, making its way down to the pool at the bottom. Once the emanations reached full material manifestation — in other words, physical reality — all four elements were intrinsic parts of the whole. “Earth” is the name for that whole as well as for a specific element. When we banish “earth” in the tracing of the pentagrams, we banish all the elements — the whole of elemental energies. This clears our sphere of influence so that we are not unbalanced. Let me give more information on the elements, to further clarify.

The Elements

“The Pentagram (5) represents Spirit or God (1) united with the physical Universe (4). It is the incarnation of Spirit into physical form through the four Elements for the sake of experience and self-realization. It is only by physical incarnation that the Spirit can realize its true nature, its potential, and its transcendence. The four Elements are the means by which Spirit can experience its infinite possibilities of self-expression; the finite is the means to the realization of the Infinite.” — Instructions on the Elemental Pentagram Issued by the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn, By David Cherubim (Frater Aurora Aureae).

The five points of the star. The top point represents spirit in general pagan practice. The fact that it is standing upright with the single point at the top means the aspirant seeks to evolve, to grow as an individual in a positive way, closer to God or to whatever he sees as the ultimate. The four lower points of the star represent the other four elements that we’ve been talking about. So in the quote, the Pentagram = 5 points, God = 1 point, and the elements = 4 points. I also rather liked that it used the phrase “infinite possibilities.” But I have a bias, there.

Aside: Get this straight: An upright pentagram is not evil. In fact, when you see an inverted pentagram with its single point pointing to the bottom, it typically means that the aspirant is focused on material ambitions. It is not strictly Satanic (and Satanism isn’t what you might think, either, but that’s for another day), as it is used by many people who don’t believe in Satan and couldn’t care less whether he (or God) truly exists or not. They believe foremost in themselves, and in personal responsibility.

“The Inverted Pentagram, from the profane point of view, represents the total reversal of the above ideas, turning man upside down, thus placing him in a position contrary to the divine order. It has been said that this Inverted Pentagram represents the Elements dominating or ruling over the Spirit of Man, therefore representing a false way of life, being the way of evil. But this, in fact, can be very misleading; for it is not really a matter of the Elements dominating Spirit; rather is it a matter of the True Will or True Self being concealed beneath the Elements, to be discovered by eliminating all elemental impurities which veil the truth of the soul. It is an alchemical formula of supreme importance.” — Instructions on the Elemental Pentagram Issued by the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn, By David Cherubim (Frater Aurora Aureae).

  • Air — Air is hot and moist, according to Plato. An imbalance of air can lead you to feel mentally befuddled (if it’s too “low”), unable to intellectualize to your fullest capacity. You can’t think straight. Too much air, on the other hand, is why we Americans invented the term “airhead.” It leaves you feeling manic, giddy, silly, and unfocused. Your energies are scattered. You’re disorganized.
  • Fire — Fire is hot and dry, according to Plato. An imbalance of fire (in the case of not enough) can make you afraid to take even the smallest risk. It leaves you without drive or motivation. It renders your sexuality inert. Too much fire will make you easily angered or infuriated, irritable, very frustrated at the smallest things. It can make you hyper-sexual. It can make you impetuous and you’ll take foolish risks, thinking you’re lucky or even invulnerable.
  • Water — Water is cool and moist. If you don’t have enough water energy in your sphere, you will be emotionally unreachable, cold, implacable. Too much water will make you weepy, over sensitive, depressive, clingy, etc.
  • Earth — Earth is cool and dry. A lack of earth in your sphere makes you ungrounded, prone to nervousness, feeling out of control of your life, and unable to sit still. Too much earth can make you feel tired, heavy, hopeless to affect anything, in a rut, and generally blah.

The pentagram’s five points also correspond to the five physical senses, and there are many other ways to use the symbolism of the 5-pointed star. See the article linked by the two quotes above for some additional insight.

The Tracing of the Pentagrams, part 2

The ritual asks you to perform a few movements while tracing the pentagrams. These may seem strange to you. To begin, you stand facing east and trace an earth pentagram in blue fire, seeing with your mind’s eye the flame projected in front of you as you draw. Then you clasp your hands together with the index fingers pointing as one, step forward with your left foot, and stab the center of the pentagram as you vibrate (sing), “Yod Hey Vahv Hey!” This is the Tetragrammaton, the unknowable name of God, YHVH. The stabbing motion, performed as described, is called the Sign of the Enterer. It empowers the pentagram with your intention.

After vibrating the name, you step back into place and put your right index finger to your lips as if shushing someone. This is the Sign of Silence. It signals the end of that portion of the operation, and brings you to stillness. (Silence is one of the four powers of the sphinx. Probably the most important one, in fact.)

You then extend your arm full in front of you, pointing at the center of the pentagram you drew. Turning clockwise to face south, you “see” a white or very pale golden flame form the first arc of the circle, from the center of the eastern pentagram to the center of the southern one you are about to draw. Draw another earth-banishing pentagram (a simple star shape, beginning with the lower left point and completing in one unbroken line), again in blue flame. Vibrate, “Ah-doh-nye!” This is Adonai, which means “Lord” in Hebrew. Another name of God. Perform the Sign of the Enterer again, stabbing the pentagram.

When you stab the pentagram and step back, you may want to visualize it moving away from you to the very edge of the space you wish to clear, balance, and protect. This may be your house, your entire yard, whatever. You do this with each pentagram to create a larger circle. It will expand or shrink as much as you wish as you visualize it.

Draw the white flame again, from the south to the west. Draw another blue flaming pentagram, and perform the Sign of the Enterer (the stabbing motion with both hands, left foot forward). Vibrate, “Eh-heh-yeh!” This is Eheieh, meaning “I am.” When you turn to the north, you will vibrate, “Ah-glah!” This is AGLA, and as Nick states in his article: “This is notariqon for the phrase Ateh gibor le-Olam Adonai, which we can translate as, “Thine is the strength forever, O Lord.'” To complete the circle, you then turn back to the east. You have now banished the elemental energies, and any pesky spirits that were hanging around.

If I can indulge my need to share a little personal information that is pertinent to the effects of this ritual. . . I am bipolar, which is also known as “manic-depressive.” This means that I have mood swings, from mania to depression, often mixed together in some of the worst imaginable ways. I used to have panic attacks on a near constant basis. Doing the LBRP every day taught me a great deal about how to balance my energies and my emotions. I rarely have issues with panic now, though I rarely do an LBRP anymore. (I’m trying to change that and do them more often.) But doing this ritual over a long period of time, at least once a day, is an amazingly eye-opening experience. The true effects of this rite go well beyond what any of us can clumsily put into words, even in (or especially in) a ridiculously dry explanation such as this. To truly understand it, you have to experience it. I recommend it.

The Invocation of the Archangels

I won’t get into the various ways the archangels can be interpreted. That’s an argument for another day. Simply put, invoking them means that the elemental energies are introduced back into your sphere in a balanced and beneficial way. The archangels serve as rulers of the elements and as guardians. They (or the forces they represent) will keep unwanted spirits out. If you have an SC you do want within your space and you find that he or she has been pushed out, you can invoke her into the sphere by simply saying, “I invoke thee, Esther, into the circle.” You might have to say it a few times (three is always a good number). If you still have difficulty granting her entrance, you can A.) explain to your guardians (the angels) that this spirit is welcome, and/or B.) give the spirit a physical object to use as an anchor within your space. Pick something appropriate, and write her name on the bottom of it if you like. Gift it to her, and tell her to use it to maintain her position within the circle.

More information on how to visualize the archangels can be found in the link to the ritual itself. This post is getting too long.

Explanation of the Other Bits

Once the archangels have been invoked, you vibrate, “For around me flame the pentagrams, and in the column shines the six-rayed star.” The pentagrams have already been explained. The “column” is the middle pillar of the Qabalistic tree of life, representing balance. The six-rayed star is the “Star of David,” which gets into a whole other can of worms. Suffice to say that it means that you wish to shine forth clearly the light and blessings of the Universe that have been called into play by doing this rite.

The ritual closes with a repeat of the Qabalistic Cross, which as I said sets the energies into place as balanced and beneficial for your day. The act of performing this rite before your house blessing, obviously, banishes everything and invites only balanced and positive energies back. When you perform the LBRP again after the blessing, you are bringing closure to your working.

I hope this hasn’t been too confusing. Please, if you’re still reading, feel free to ask questions either here or in the forums. Thanks.

Sheta Kaey About Sheta Kaey

I teach people to perceive, communicate, and work with spirits. Beyond that, I'm kinda normal.

Sometimes I write things. Sometimes I edit things. Sometimes, people even see them.


  1. Thank you for this expanded look at the LBRP and its varying elements. I’ve not read many summaries and explanations as thorough and legible as this. Nicely done!

    • Thanks, I appreciate that. I thought it was getting much too complex. I still think most people’s eyes will glaze over before they’re done reading. :))

      I never see you online anymore! I’m so busy, and I know you are too. I hope you are well. Give my regards to your gf, whose name escapes me (sorry!), and give little Brandon a hug for me.

  2. Keep it up.. I think you are doing a wonderful job..

    Light and Love,
    Ju lie

  3. I would have tried this a LONG time ago but I was just terrified of doing it wrong. And now, having just tried, either I don’t understand something or I just did it wrong or Something. No sleep……must have done it wrong……..T~T

  4. I am working in a shop. We recently painted the floor and an inverted pentagram painted on the floor in blood soaked through the latex white paint. We painted it four times. It came back each time. Is there something we can do to cover it and maybe counter anything wierd going on in about five minutes? Things have been really tense since we found the pentagrams.

  5. Well, in forum-speak, this would be the world’s worst “necro” since this was posted so many years ago, however, I’d like to try and see if you’ll comment back. (: I was recommended the LBRP by a friend of mine who knew I was encountering some nasty, unwanted spirits (I’ve seen all kinds of spirits since I was about 7). I am Christian, and I don’t feel the ritual goes against my religion in anyway. In fact, it calms me to call upon God’s light and love. While I’ve researched the LBRP a little, I’ve yet to find an article that explains how it works. Could you perhaps shed some light on this for me? I gather that it sends away energies of all kinds and re-balances, but how long will it keep a nasty spirit at bay? Will I continually have to perform it to keep a rather persistent spirit at bay? Here’s to hoping you still follow your comments.

    Light & Love.

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