The Rite of Virtue; Angelic Pathworking and Banishing Vices

Vices and Virtues, we all have them, some more than others, each reflecting our own personal brand of imperfections and talents. In the midst of contemplating my own vices and how to use magic to replace them with virtues, I ended up toying with a simplistic idea for a ritual that I thought I might as well share here.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of material on simple techniques of spellwork, looking for more inspiration to blend with a simple Hermetic Qabalah approach. Namely, the arrangements found within the pages of “The Master Book of Candle Burning” by Henry Gamache and “Paper In My Shoe” by  Catherine Yronwode being my latest perusals with a few good light-bulb moments here and there that I’ve incorporated into my own practices.

I’m calling this one the “Rite of Virtue”. As the name implies, you’ll be replacing a Vice with a Virtue, symbolically conquering the lower drives by calling upon the higher ones. The main part of the ritual is an invocation of a specific entity (in this case the example given is the Archangel Michael, however, if you wanted to use this section to invoke a certain God/Goddess or even to petition a Saint, these would fit just as well) and then a simple manipulation of ritual props and candles. It also makes use of Pathworking up the Qabalistic Tree of Life, and there are two ways I’ve used to do this.

One is via the Psalms and the book of Genesis, a topic I discuss in detail in a previous blog post, so I won’t go into that methodology here (Cliff Notes: It basically uses the 10 Holy Utterances of God in Genesis to Pathwork the Sefirot, and the corresponding Hebrew letters to link the Paths to a group of Psalms in Chapter 119).

The other method I use to Pathwork the Tree is by invoking the Hebrew Letter Angel of a given Path, presenting its corresponding Psalms, and projecting it’s sigil in order to gain access to it, the basis of which I also describe in a previous blog post on How to Invoke the Letter Angels.  Here we call upon the Hebrew Alef-Bet as angelic embodiments and personifications of their qualities in order to petition them for access to the Path they are connected to.

This is the method I use for the Rite of Virtue and it takes us knee deep into angelic invocation and pathworking visualizations, though a simple version it is. Keep in mind that I use the Ari/Safed Tree of Life instead of the Kircher Tree, but since in our example here we only approach the Sefirot of Malkut, Yesod, Tiferet, and the 2 Paths that connect them, I trust that you competent magicians out there can look at your Qabalah charts and figure out which Letter Angels to invoke for the Kircher version, especially since in my previous blog post I’ve already given ready-made invocations and Psalm correspondences for you to use, complete with Angelic sigils, those of which you will need to reference in order to draw and project them in the aether as you progress. Think of them as the passwords for each gatekeeper guarding the Paths.

The Pathworking portion is optional. However, I find it very useful because it goes the extra mile to bring ourselves closer to the energies of the Tree of Life we seek to invoke and the entities that are assigned to those stations. If you prefer to stick with just the Archangelic invocation, then the rite becomes much more simple and direct for your own experimentation.

-Our Chosen Set of Traits-

The example that follows uses the Vice/Virtue set of Pride and Humility. Using the Pyramid Method of writing out Hebrew words either into manifestation or out of existence, the Hebrew word for Humility, עֲנָוָה, Anavah, is drawn on a white upward pointing triangle, with its completed letters resting on the bottom, representing the full growth of this word in your little pocket of the universe. This graphic is shown below for you to print out or copy by hand. This Virtue word, of course, same with the following Vice word, can be interchanged with any other word that you wish to use to call upon the energy of its particular quality. Also, writing these words in a similar fashion using their English equivalents could also work, I just prefer to stick with Hebrew since my magical worldview is rooted in Hermetic Qabalah.

PrideHumility

Anavah- Humility

 

Likewise, the word for Pride, גַּאֲווָה‏, G’ahvah, is drawn on a black downward pointing triangle and is being “erased” out of existence (much like the Abracadabra amulet), with its letters diminishing into nothing by the time it reaches the bottom, symbolizing the lower planes of dense existence, Assiah and Malkut; shown below.

PrideHumility
G’ahvah- Pride

 

 

I chose these keywords because, let’s face it, we could all use a fair dose of humility sometimes and its a quality that leads to other positive traits when made habitual. I linked these up to Tiferet energies, those which are an overabundance of, and a balance of, Solar qualities. This is why Michael is chosen for the primary invocation, as the Archangel of the Sun/Tiferet (depending on what system template you use, others call upon Raphael for Tiferet and Michael for Hod).

-SUPPLIES-

I’ll explain more of the ritual as we go along, but here is a complete list of supplies you’ll need for the Rite of Virtue:

  • 6 Tealight candles
  • Censer with appropriate Planetary incense (in this case Frankincense is recommended)
  • 1 regular sized colored Candle (for the Divine Name/Archangel of the Sephirah you are invoking, here it is a Yellow candle for YHVH Eloah V-da’at, Michael, Archangel of Tiferet/Sol). Inscribe this candle with the Divine Name, the name of the Archangel, and the symbol of the corresponding Planet
  • Print-out or drawn copy of the white Virtue Triangle
  • Print-out or drawn copy of the black Vice Triangle
  • Bible or Psalter
  • Copy of ritual text, and notes on Letter Angel sigils

 

For setting up, place the censer on the left side of the altar, and the Archangel candle on the right. Be sure to do all your inscribing beforehand of course.  In the middle, place the downward pointing black Vice Triangle on the altar with 3 tealight candles at the points. Set aside the upward pointing white Virtue Triangle for later use. In the beginning, this is what your altar should look like:

PrideHumility2

Notice that the Vice triangle plays the part of the Passive energy, while the Virtue is the Active energy, symbolized by the direction of the apex of the triangles. Eventually, the act of surmounting the Vice with Virtue will create the shape of the Hexagram or Solomon’s Seal, the Hermetic symbol for balance and harmony of the Active Fire and Passive Water triangles.

-OPENING HERMETIC INVOCATION-

The opening I’ve chosen for this Rite, while it could be potentially whatever the user deems appropriate, is a prayer from the Corpus Hermetica. It is recommended to spend some time in meditation before and after this invocation.

 

With my whole Soul, and whole strength, I give praise and blessing unto God the Father.

Holy is God the Father of All Things.

Holy is God Whose Will is Performed and Accomplished by His Own Powers.

Holy is God, that Determineth to be Known, and is Known of His Own, or Those that are His.  Holy art Thou, that by Thy Word hast established all Things.  

Holy art Thou of Whom all Nature is the Image.

Holy art Thou Whom Nature hath not Formed.

Holy art Thou that art Stronger than all Power.

Holy art Thou, that art Greater than all Excellency.

Holy art Thou, Who art Better than all Praise.

Accept these Reasonable Sacrifices from a Pure Soul, and a Heart stretched out unto Thee.  

O Thou Unspeakable, Unutterable, to be Praised with Silence!

I beseech Thee, that I may never Err from the Knowledge of Thee, Look Mercifully upon Me, and Enable Me, and Enlighten with this Grace, those that are in Ignorance,

the Brothers of my Kind, but Thy Sons.

Therefore I Believe Thee, and Bear Witness, and go into the Life and Light.

Blessed art Thou, O Father, Thy Man would be Sanctified with Thee,

as Thou hast given Him all Power. 

Once you’ve gotten in the groove, its time to start some visualization Pathworking. Begin by lighting the Frankincense. This is our path that we will take on the Tree, from the Earth Temple with Sandalphon at Malkut, to the Path of Tav with Taviel, to the Moon Temple with Gabriel at Yesod, to the Path of Resh with Reshiel, and finally to the Sol Temple with Michael at Tiferet. My method is rather simple, and I’ll go through it with you here again in a simplified form. How you visualize the temples are up to you, here I am merely sticking with Planetary symbolism to make things easy.

SolPathworking
Path from Malkut to  Tiferet. The Sefirot are labeled with their appropriate scriptures from Genesis, while the Paths are labeled with the verses from Psalm 119.

Since we are in Malkut to start off, you want to make a prayer to Sandalphon, (those uncomfortable with the Christian elements of prayer will feel free to omit these sections or just replace those with the Qabalistic Cross). First visualize yourself in the middle of the Earth Temple, surrounded by earth tones of green and brown, thick forests of trees, flowers, streams, etc. At the far end of this outdoor temple is a shining brilliance that dims when you approach it. It is Sandalphon, a being of light with large wings and a robe of earth colors, standing in front of a large mossy gateway covered in vines and with a large symbol of Earth upon it. You slowly approach him and then read this prayer;

+

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Under the authority of ADONAI HA-ARETZ, who governeth the sphere of Malkut and our planet Earth, I call upon SANDALPHON, deliverer of prayers and master of heavenly song, ye who walked the earth as Elijah. Form us unto completion through the stability of faith and unbroken certainty of our positions as inheritors of the world imperfect. Shape us as reliable agents of the Lord’s grace and glory to assist Mankind in the Great Work of Reintegration.

Archangel Sandalphon, I humbly ask of your guidance and to bless my endeavor to connect with the energies of Malkut. Rid me of greed, materialism, and any unhealthy attachments of sensuality. Inspire me with an unwavering perseverance and stability, and a wise understanding of the trials and challenges to come.

Permit me to pass, great Archangel of Earth and of Malkut, permit me to pass to the Path of Tav!

[Genesis 1:29-30]
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

I submit this request in the name of the sovereignty of the Most High God the Father +, the unending love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ +, and the illuminating essence of the glorious Spirit Most Holy +. Amen.

Having read this portion, draw Sandalpon’s sigil (shown below) in front of you and project it forward towards him and his gateway with the Sign of the Enterer, and visualize Sandalphon acknowledging you with the Sign of Silence. He steps to the side and welcomes you through the gate whose doors now rumble and slowly creak open like two giant monoliths of stone wreathed in greenery.

SandalphonRCsigil
Sigil of Sandalphon, made with the Golden Dawn Rose Cross sigil creator

You pass into a large pathway as the forest area gets less and less dense. Ahead of you, descending upon you, you see a massive letter Tav, shining in brilliance, and behind it, the faint flicker of wings. You then present the Invocation and petition;

Taviel, Taviel, Taviel! Thee I invoke, ye who are named the Administrative Intelligence! Come forth in the Name of the Almighty Lord YHVH. Reveal to me your secrets, that I might internalize your wisdom in this grand creation of Life. Permit me to pass unto the sphere of Yesod, to the Glory of ADONAI, Amen.

[Psalm 119:169-176]
169 
Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.
170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

You project the sigil of Taviel forwards;

Taviel
Sigil of Taviel

You see the giant winged Tav grow larger and larger until it begins to consume you, yourself getting smaller and smaller and almost vanishing into nothing as it transports you into a Lunar Temple, underground, filled with still, whispering waters. Come upon the Moon gate and approach Gabriel, a shining figure dressed in purple and silver robes. You present the next petition:

+

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Under the authority of SHADDAI EL CHAI, who governeth the sphere of Yesod and Luna, I call upon GABRIEL, Strength of God, trumpeter of Judgement, and Angel of the Annunciation. Form us unto completion through trust and independence as inheritors of the world imperfect. Shape us as reliable agents of the Lord’s grace and glory to assist Mankind in the Great Work of Reintegration.

Archangel Gabriel, I humbly ask of your guidance and to bless my endeavor to connect with the positive energies of Luna. Rid me of idleness, fickleness, and delusion. Inspire me with true initiation through the discovery of personal strengths and weaknesses through introspection and reflection upon inner truths revealed from within.

Permit me to pass, great Archangel of Luna and of Yesod, permit me to pass to the Path of Resh!

[Genesis 1:28]
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

I submit this request in the name of the sovereignty of the Most High God the Father +, the unending love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ +, and the illuminating essence of the glorious Spirit Most Holy +. Amen.

Now draw Gabriel’s sigil (shown below) in front of you and project it forward towards him and his gateway with the Sign of the Enterer, and visualize Gabriel acknowledging you with the Sign of Silence. He steps aside and lets you leave the Luna Temple.

Gabrielsigil
Sigil of Gabriel

Upon passing through the Lunar gate exiting the temple, you come upon the angelic form of the letter Resh, growing wildly and shining brilliantly. You walk closer and read the petition:

Reshiel, Reshiel, Reshiel! Thee I invoke, ye who are named the Collecting Intelligence! Come forth in the Name of the Almighty Lord YHVH. Reveal to me your secrets, that I might internalize your wisdom in this grand creation of Life. Permit me to pass unto the sphere of Tiferet, to the Glory of ADONAI, Amen.

[Psalm 119:153-160]
153 Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.156 Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord: quicken me according to thy judgments.157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness.160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

You project the sigil of Reshiel forwards;

reshielsigil
The Sigil of Reshiel

 

Pause the visualizations to light the 3 candles of the Vice triangle.

You then visualize Reshiel consuming you as Taviel did before, as you are transported to a open air temple filled with golden light, the temple of Sol. You approach Michael, who stands in a blinding aura, holding a sword, clad in armor and a sash of glittering gold, and you present your main petition:

+

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Under the authority of YHVH ELOAH VE-DA’ATH, who governeth the sphere of Tiphareth and Sol, I call upon MICHAEL, Who is Like God?, leader of the host of the celestial armies, prince of the first rank, protector of God’s children. Form us unto completion through integrity and devotion as inheritors of the world imperfect. Shape us as reliable agents of the Lord’s grace and glory to assist Mankind in the Great Work of Reintegration.

Archangel Michael, I humbly ask of your guidance and to bless my endeavor to connect with the positive energies of Sol. Rid me of pride and arrogance. Inspire me with harmony, balance, peace, and strength of equilibrium in all my aspirations to succeed in discovering my true identity and purpose.

I ask of you to diminish the influence of Pride! Release its hold over me. Let me not become as the vain one, a glutton for glory, for it is pride that kills the productive spirit and sets one in the delusion of grandeur, it is through pride that we would set ourselves above others, and it is pride that is a deadly sin that replaces good works! No more! With your help, oh glorious Archangel Michael, please hear my cry and pray for me unto the Almighty these words of desperation. 

[Genesis 1:20]
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

I submit this request in the name of the sovereignty of the Most High God the Father +, the unending love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ +, and the illuminating essence of the glorious Spirit Most Holy +. Amen.

Project the sigil of Michael forwards; and light his yellow candle that has been waiting on the right side of the altar;

michaelsigil
The sigil of Michael

Thus ends the Pathworking; we have worked our way up the Tree to Tiferet and presented the first half of our petition to Michael. Take a few moments of meditation to bask in the visualization of Solar energies before continuing:

Blessed Saint Michael, guide my hand and search my soul for true intentions. As I extinguish these candles that illuminate the presence of Pride, help me to extinguish this quality from my very soul.

Now slowly and deliberately extinguish the flames of the 3 candles at the tips of the Vice Triangle. Meditate upon your words and actions for a few moments, and then set up the other 3 candles in the space where the Virtue Triangle would lay right on top. Now take the Virtue triangle and hold it above your head and read:

In the death of Pride comes Humility! Archangel Michael, instill within me this virtue of righteousness. Help me admit my mistakes, to take responsibility in all my actions, to appreciate the value of others, to avoid the demons of arrogance, and to be filled with thankfulness in the blessings that I have gained. Let me not keep such blessings to myself in greed but help me share them with others so that they too can spread good will and uprightness towards all.

Now slowly lower the Virtue Triangle and place it carefully upon the Vice, and proceed to light the candles, symbolically illuminating the essence of Humility and surmounting it above Pride. Your altar should now look like this:

PrideHumility2
Humility surmounts Pride, its influence stifled by the Active symbols of the Virtue Triangle

Finish the Rite by repeating the Pyramid chant as many times as you like, visualize the vibration of the humble essence overtake your spirit, your mind, your physical body:

Ahh…AhhNaah…AhhNaahVvv…AhhNaahVvvAaah

For the closing rituals I will leave them up to you, some may wish to give a traditional License to Depart or include banishings, but I would suggest not doing so. Maybe try addressing a freeform prayer to YHVH Eloah V-Da’at, thanking the Divine for its guidance and for providing a road map towards virtuous qualities through the intercession of the angelic entities that were petitioned.

Remember, this rite was designed to be formatted to any set of Vice and Virtue you wish, and you can personalize the Pathworking quite easily by consulting the graphic which shows the corresponding scriptures to use and also consulting my earlier blog posts on ways to invoke the Letter Angels. I hope this post reaches out to those who wish to adapt it to their own needs and I also hope much healing can come of your efforts if you want to do similar work.

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The Rite of Virtue; Angelic Pathworking and Banishing Vices

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