Day 242: Summoning the Gods

Before beginning today’s practice, complete all the circle-casting steps we’ve learned this far.  Set up the altar and the tools, light the quarter candles, consecrate the elements and yourself, cast the three layers of the circle, and draw the invoking pentagrams for each element as you call the elements to the circle.  Once that has been completed, follow Roderick’s instructions for calling down the deity:

Stand at your altar in the center of your magic circle and face the south.  Allow your arms to hang at your sides naturally.  Open your hands so that the fingers all point down.  Open the thumbs away from the fingers so that they create a 90-degree angle.  Bring your hands together now at your pelvic level so that the tips of your thumbs meet and the tips of your index fingers meet.  This should form a triangle with the point down.  The palms of your hands should be facing your pelvis.

Take several slow, deep breaths.  Imagine sacred energies from the earth climbing your legs and filling your body.  When you sense this energy, separate your hands and slowly bring them up in an arc along the sides of your body so that they meet above your head to form a second triangle–thumbs and tips of index fingers touching.  This time, the point of the triangle is up, and the palms of your hands are facing away from you.  Now imagine a white-hot energy penetrating the crown of your head, filling you with divine energy.  Imagine this energy mingling with the energies of the earth.

Tilt the top of the triangle away from you and point it down, bringing the triangle back to the place where you began, in front of your pelvis.  Imagine the energies of earth and sky meeting within you.  Now say:

You who have been from beginning to end,
Our rites and mysteries now attend.
Most ancient of Maidens, Mothers, and Crones,
Lord of the Hoof, of antlers and bones,
Where fire meets earth, and wind meets sea,
Hearken our call; so mote it be!

For all intents and purposes, you’ve now cast a magic circle!  Congratulations!  At this point, for a full working, you’d need to perform the working  and conclude with the cakes and wine before closing down the circle.  That is not necessary at this point–just take a few moments to rest and feel the energies present in the circle.  However, since you have constructed a magic circle, you can’t just walk away when you’re done:  you have to properly dismiss the energies.  To do so, you thank the gods for attending, and then bid them farewell, then banish the elements (going from east to north, draw the banishing pentagrams and bid farewell to the elements), then close the three layers of the circle.  Walk widdershins around the perimeter while imagining the energies subsiding.  Roderick recommends saying “Earth will crumble my circle, Water will cause it to fall, Fire will burn what’s left in the urn, and the winds will scatter them all” as you do this.  When you arrive back in the east, it’s customary to declare the circle open, and many do so by saying something like “The circle is open, but unbroken.  Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!”

Triangle of ManifestationIf you are just calling down generic God and Goddess energy, I think this method of inviting deity into your circle is quite lovely, although it does really resemble the grounding and centering I’ve been practicing with Hartwood Grove before ritual (minus the gestures).  I like that it allows you to consciously tap into the energies that are outside you, then bring them into you.  It echos the whole ‘as without, so within’ theology, and really does serve as a very light ‘drawing down the gods’.  It’s really effective!

I also very much enjoy the use of a magical gesture here,  and this is one that is very useful for a solitary drawing down.  The downward triangle is a feminine symbol, and we’ve used one made of the hands and placed before the pelvis before as part of a Maiden Pass.  At that time, I also noted that a similar gesture has also been used as a water gesture, and–as you’ll see, that upper triangle has been used as a fire gesture.  It is a more masculine gesture.  Magically, the combination of an upward-pointing triangle and a downwards-pointing triangle form a hexagram, which represents perfect unity and the magical axiom of “as above, so below.”  Again, then, this fluid pose combining the two states is very appropriate for drawing down the diving masculine and feminine energies.

However, this is obviously not the only way to call deity, nor would I even say it is the best way.  Deity calls sould be as specific as you can make them.  If you really want to call Brigid and Cernunnos, for example, you should call them by name and invite them with specific prose, movements, and offerings that would appeal to them.  Sometimes you might just want to call a god or a goddess–not both.  Whatever you do, though, you should obviously put some good, constructive thought into what you’re doing to invite the gods you want to work with into your circle.

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