Standing at the Crossroads: Mechanics of Ritual

So, I’ve laid out a cosmology, based on the mythology of the deities of the Crossroads, checked to make sure that the cosmology I worked out was suitable for both deities, hashed out how images and thought forms would work in the ritual, drew the plans for the thought forms that would be employed, then more or less worked out some correspondences.

I am still turning over in my head the names chosen and suggested for Hekate. I don’t feel completely confident or satisfied, and probably will need to actually try the damned ritual in order to figure out if the energies present are doing what I need them to do, and, twice as importantly, if they are working for Hermes and Hekate.

In the meantime, I’m going to crawl forward by discussing the principles by which rituals of this sort need to be constructed.

 

Everything is Connected

No, I don’t mean this in a “We Are All One” sort of way. I more mean it in that, “if I don’t tie the energies together, the whole thing will fall apart” kind of way.

I want you to think about crafting a ritual component like making one of those damnably frustrating loop pot-holder kits. I feel confident that you’ve all done this at least once, as a kid.

th-1

So, why does the potholder not explode into its constituent loops, or unravel? The loops (or currents of energy) have a default state, and that default state is not potholder (or ritual). This is key: you have to draw each of the loops through the next one to create a sturdy crochet edge.

You establish the energies and their currents, and then, around the outside border, connect each one to the last, and then, when you get to the end, pull the final one through the first. Ever wonder why you have that fifth, silent projection into the pentagram you drew first in the LBRP? Crochet Edge. If you have been half-assing that final projection, or were taught a version that just ‘completes the arc’ without a projection, try fully projecting into that first pentagram to complete the circuit with no divine name, and see if you notice a difference. [“Who works in Silence and whom naught but Silence can express?” Think of the Silence as a Divine Name.]

So, how does this apply to our Crossroads ritual?

cosmos

We have six “spokes” projecting outward from the center, or three straight axises. Each of the three domains in paired, in a geometric sense, with a liminal place. Some of these make symbolic sense together, like Prosgeos and Pontus representing a relationship between Moon and Sea, or Athanatoi opposing Gaia, representing the cycle of Life and Death. Ouranos and Styx, however, are a straight up bad pairing, suggesting no similar sort of relationship. How nice would that be? It would mean that the we could establish three sets of polarities, each of which was inclusive of Land, Sky and Sea, but with different combinations and proportions.

I am not going to pull a Mathers and suggest that because my ritual would work better that way, that I need to posit that extant Greek mythology somehow has it wrong (“in ancient times, a blind was put in place, and it was known only to the initiates that…” *cough*BULLSHIT*cough*), nor will I rectify the ancient understanding of Ouranos or Styx to fit my ritual structure. Instead, I am going to say that these, in fact, are not actually polarities that can be connected. Rather, they are like separate towns, and the roads lead to them. The fact that they elementally ballast one another is helpful, cute and inevitable, based on how the glyph was derived.

So, spokes.

If everything is coming out from the center of the ritual, then that central point needs to be sturdy as fuck. Thankfully, we have a legit pile of rocks in the middle to hold all that down (thank you, Hermes). It suggests to me that we will want to somehow use those rocks when establishing our paths. Conveniently, it was a custom to deposit rocks at a Herm while traveling. It sort of means that, as we are wandering about the space, laying down the map, connecting things to one another, we are acting the part of Hermes, calling out to Hekate, whose powers are ever-present, eternal, and simply waiting to be acknowledged.

Really, if you were to look at an ancient Herm, it might have coins and rocks deposited at it from people of every possible extraction. The rocks and coins there might well have travelled a very great distance. The Herm itself became an amalgam of near and far.

Therefore, I am going to posit that, at the outset, before a single line is drawn, before a single sacred name is pronounced, I will want to have a stone or two at the six locales. During the course of the ritual, I will want to pick them up and carry them to the Herm. This will connect those powers to the center, which will be a source of energetic stability in the ritual.

Then, going around the outside, we’ll need to connect each locale to the other, traveling over natural boundaries. Again, very Hermes.

This suggests to me that Hekate’s names should be called first, while stones are being taken, and then the names of Hermes will be called second, while weaving that pretty crochet edge.

This gives us, more or less, a sense of how the energies called will be internally connected, and suggests a logical order to the ritual.

First: Empower the Herm

Second: Empower the Paths and Connect them to the Herm

  1. Consecrate the Athanatoi station by the name of Hekate
  2. Bring a rock from the Athanatoi station back to the Herm
  3. Consecrate the Ouranos station by the name of Hekate
  4. Bring a rock from the Ouranos station back to the Herm
  5. Consecrate the Prosgeos station by the name of Hekate
  6. Bring a rock from the Prosgeos station back to the Herm
  7. Consecrate the Gaia station by the name of Hekate
  8. Bring a rock from the Gaia station back to the Herm
  9. Consecrate the Styx station by the name of Hekate
  10. Bring a rock from the Styx station back to the Herm
  11. Consecrate the Pontus station by the name of Hekate
  12. Bring a rock from the Pontus station back to the Herm

Third: Establish the Images of Hekate in the Pontus, Ouranos and Gaia locations.

Fourth: Crochet the Edges around the outside using the names of Hermes

  1. Consecrate the Athanatoi station by the name of Hermes
  2. Consecrate the Ouranos station by the name of Hermes
  3. Consecrate the Prosgeos station by the name of Hermes
  4. Consecrate the Gaia station by the name of Hermes
  5. Consecrate the Styx station by the name of Hermes
  6. Consecrate the Pontus station by the name of Hermes
  7. Return to the station of Athanatoi to finish our circuit

Fifth: Tie it back to the Herm

 

Managing Where Energy Comes From and Goes To

In a ritual like this one, power is going to come from a few different sources. It comes from Hermes, it comes from Hekate, but it also has to come from you, and from the physical world that you live in. No ritual is going to do anything more than give you a head-buzz unless you get permission from the local spirits and unconscious minds of the local human souls for those energies to manifest. As stated, my goal is manifestation, not head-buzz, so that’s going to have to be a part of what I’m doing, if not in this particular ritual widget, then in the larger rite.

More than that, though, I find that it is terribly helpful to have a ritualized “game plan,” in your ritual, and it’s extra helpful if that game plan also draws the energies through the body of the person doing the ritual. The Q-Cross kind of does this. It draws energy through the body in the shape of a cross, mirroring the cross on the floor plan of your ritual room. I like to be a bit more explicit, but I will probably take a cue here from Mathers et. Al. here, and put it into the form of a prayer with gestures.

The prayer needs to be physical as well as verbal, and while encoded, it’s practical translation should be something like,

“Ok, Hekate, because you have this name, first go over here.”

(Gesture)

“And now since you have this other name and nature, go over here.”

(Gesture)

ETC.

And for Hermes, I’ll need something like,

“Ok, Hermes, hold down the Herm. Also, please be notified that I’ll be calling you by all these names, probably in this order, for the most part.”

(A bunch of gestures over the Herm)

“And you’ll be walking around with me while I do a bunch of stuff, so also please put energies here.”

(A bunch of gestures over the self)

“Also, I’m going to need your help sewing up the edges when we are done.”

(Some gestures indicating the border)

I dunno how I’m going to do this in a way that won’t be hideously complex, but I’ll cogitate on that, and write something short in tetrameter that has a set number of logical attendant gestures. It will probably be in English, and I think I will make it rhyme, only because that makes stuff easier to memorize. We’ve got enough barbarous tongues going on here already, so I’ll spare you some over-the-top thing written in halting Ancient Greek.

This prayer and gesture thing can also be used at the end to affirm and remember the energies just laid down, so that you can continue with whatever working, like a Deipnon, secure in the knowledge that your Crossroads energies are bolted down. 

 

So this gives me the flow and components that I will need to create and organize for this particular ritual widget, as well as the suggested larger rite that it will fit into. Stay tuned for a write up.

7 comments

  1. KaylaB

    “grin”, your posts are always raw and blunt and I totally respect that you come from a place of no b.s. You also took a really unique approach to this, brilliant!

      • KaylaB

        The title totally caught my attention! I utilize the crossroads in almost all my spirit/divination rites… including the ancestral puja I posted this week, and the shadow work/soul retrieval one that I’ll be adding soonish 🙂 lol. Totally looking forward to walking this projects journey of discovery with you!

      • magickfromscratch

        I am SO looking forward to the shadow work and soul retrieval article. That is 100% up my ally, and yeah, I completely agree, Crossroads are clutch in that sort of work.

        I took a look at the ancestral puja. Looks very interesting. I think you might be interested in reading about Hekate’s Deipnon, if you are not already acquainted. I see how a lot of what you put together and crafted for that ritual could be a great inspiration for an expanded Deipnon, and I have bookmarked it for that reason. I’ll be noodling on that, too… once I finish this crossroads project. Heh.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deipnon

  2. Pingback: Standing at the Crossroads: Crochet Hooks and Gestures | Magick From Scratch

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