The Middle Pillar as a Group Working
The Middle Pillar as a Group Working
Israel Regardie introduced the Middle Pillar ritual to the modern Western Occult Tradition. He stated in The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic that he could find no references to the technique in the original Golden Dawn papers, but was able to trace its origin to Dr. Felkin of the Stella Matutina, who described the ritual in an undeveloped form in one of the Society’s grade papers. Regardie then perfected and popularized it in The Middle Pillar, The Art of True Healing, The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, and The Foundations of Practical Magic.
Briefly stated the ritual proceeds as follows:
After performing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or the Star Ruby, begin with conscious relaxation. Do some deep breathing and yoga postures to calm the mind and free the body of deeper stresses and strains.
Next, imagine a ball of scintillating white light (say larger than a grapefruit and smaller than a basketball) coalescing both above and interpenetrating with the top of the skull (the Sahasrara chakra or Kether position). Vibrate the Divine Name EHIEH (eh-hee-yeh) several times, while the sphere of Light grows brighter and more vibrant. Regardie suggests at least five minutes.
When the visualization is firmly established, allow the energy to descend slowly through the head and face bathing and rejuvenating oneself, until it comes to the throat. Here the Light coalesces in the Vishuddha chakra or Daath position and is of a pale purple or lavender color. Vibrate the Name YHVH ELOHIM (yeh-ho-vah el-o-heem) until comfortable with the level of concentration, and ready to go on.
Allow the energy to descend through the upper chest region with the same purifying and flowing movement until it comes to the heart or Tiphareth region, being the Anahatta chakra. Vibrate the Name YHVH ELOAH VA DAATH, (yeh-ho-vah el-o-ah vah-daath) while visualizing a sphere of golden light growing richer and brighter.
Then take the energy through the solar plexus and stomach, down to the base of the trunk at the genital region, where it meets a sphere of deepest rich purple at the Yesod position or Svadishthana chakra. Here vibrate the Name SHADDAI EL CHAI (sha-dai el chai [there is no equivalent in English to the Hebrew “CH” sound; it is a guttural sound, similar to clearing the throat]).
The energy now descends through the thighs, knees, and shins until it coalesces at the feet in the Malkuth position. Here the crossover to the chakra system is more tenuous although, in my opinion, this position is analogous to the Muladhara chakra. This is particularly evident if one performs the ritual in a seated, cross-legged position. The Malkuth sphere is visualized as deepest vibrating black in color. The Divine Name is ADONAI HA-ARETZ (pronounced as spelled).
Now that the Middle Pillar has been formulated, one visualizes the energy rising through the body, passing upward through the spheres. It ascends from the black sphere at the feet, through the legs to the purple sphere at the genitals, through the stomach and solar plexus to the golden sphere at the heart, through the chest to the lavender sphere at the throat, and up through the face to the white sphere at the crown of the head. Here one concentrates on the glowing white brilliance and begins the work of the three Circulations.
The energy is first visualized as descending down and outward from the crown sphere, along the left side of the body during the out-breath, until it reaches the left foot. Then it crosses over to the right foot and ascends, on the in-breath, until it returns to the crown chakra, at the completion of the in-breath. This should be done numerous times until one can feel a flowing motion, timed to the breathing, which is most rejuvenating.
Continue on to the second circulation. It also begins at the crown sphere and goes forward and down the front of the body, on the out-breath, until it reaches the feet. Then, on the in-breath, the energy proceeds up and around the back of the body, until it returns to the sphere of white brilliance at the crown of the head on the completion of the in-breath. Continue to circulate the Light in this manner until it is felt as real (which is easier than it may sound).
Finally, the third circulation is performed. With the energy at the crown, the Light is visualized as descending again through the Middle Pillar, until it reaches the Malkuth sphere at the feet. From here, it is circulated up and through the body to the crown on the in-breath. When it reaches the crown, it is imagined as “fountaining” at the completion of the in-breath, before the out-breath begins. The fountaining energy goes up and out through the crown, and then down and around the body during the out-breath, until it reaches the feet when the out-breath is complete. It is raised again with the in-breath, and the cycle of raising, fountaining and descending continues until the ritual is closed. (The aura is visualized as extending around the body in the shape of a large upright egg.)
Thelemic Middle Pillar as a Group Working
The members of TAHUTI Lodge further developed and modified Regardie’s ritual for use as a group working. We also adapted Divine Names for the spheres more appropriate to our particular theological aesthetics as Thelemites. These Words of Power were arrived at through a study of Liber V vel Reguli.
At the Kether point we substitute the Divine Name of NUIT.
At Daath we use the Name AIWASS.
At Tiphareth we vibrate RA-HOOR-KHUIT.
At Yesod we say HADIT.
At Malkuth we use the conjoined Divine Name BABALON-THERION.
First the Circle is banished. One person serves as the leader, guiding the group through a period of synchronized breathing, then synchronized mantra, and again synchronized breathing. Until the entire group can breath and chant as one, no attempt should be made to proceed.
The leader should then begin the guided meditation over the sound of the synchronized breathing. The leader continues to “talk” the group through the steps. It is critical that everyone functions in unison.
The leader should stand within the group around the circumference of the Circle. With experience, he or she might, on occasion, risk standing in the center of the Circle (the use of the word “risk” is deliberate as the psychic strain of that geometry is real and should not be attempted until the group is thoroughly coordinated by much practice, and there are no elements in the environment to disrupt the concentration).
The leader must take the time to carefully prepare the group for any desired activity. For example, the instructions for the first circulation would sound something like this:
“We will now begin to circulate the energy from the top of the head, on the out-breath, down the left side of the body, to the left foot. Then transfer the energy to the right foot, and raise it, on the in-breath, along the right side of the body, until it returns to the crown. We will begin the circulation on the out-breath. Breathe in ... and now out and circulate.”
Working with a group encourages a heightened sense of the metaphysical responsibility of one’s magick. For example, during the fountaining circulation, we raise the energy not only above and through the Circle, but expand it throughout the Universe, bathing all “Planes of Being and By-coming” in the warmth and radiance of the Light.
Further insights came to us which are best left to be discovered by the intuitive process of the group workers, guided by their practice of the ritual and commitment to the Great Work—however, the building of God forms suggests itself as one of the most powerful uses of this exercise.
At the end of the last circulation, we close something like this: “Now take the energy and focus it at eye level in the center of the Circle. It is in the form of a glowing ball of light that is intensifying in brightness. Hold it in the center of the Circle. It is beginning to shrink even as it grows brighter. It is shrinking, shrinking ... and now it disappears into itself ... please open the eyes.”
There is an almost an audible “pop” when the ball of light collapses into the Void. The effect of opening our eyes at once, while being almost painful, is most effective in maintaining group mind cohesiveness and concentration—there should be a lightness, an inspired, energized and crisp feeling throughout the Circle.
The Middle Pillar Ritual may be used as the main focus of the evening’s work, or as the prelude to other ritual. In either case, it is a most adaptable and energizing exercise, and one we recommend to Western occultists whether for group or individual use.