The Sash of Powers, or a Fancy New Magical Thingie
April 19, 2014 1 Comment
So, beading and jewelry making has been a recent hobby of mine ever since my good friends in some ATRs got me hooked on them. The use of colored seed beads and semiprecious (or precious!) stone beads really opens up a lot of avenues for occult crafting and designing. After all, my carcanets aren’t too bad an innovation, reducing the need for drawing intricate pentacles and expanding on the powerful uses and correspondences of color to various forces. Still, although having beaded necklaces to represent the forces is nice, I decided one night to make something fancy, something grand, something awesome with these supplies I have on hand. To that end, I ended up making a large beading project, what I fancifully call the Cingula Potestatum, or the Sash of Powers:
It’s a pretty long thing, worn as a sash over one shoulder and down the opposite hip, measuring about 6′ 6″ in length total, which is a surprisingly good fit for someone my height. I could, of course, wrap it three times around my neck and wear it as an exceptionally elaborate necklace, but having a sash in ceremonial work is surprisingly comforting and empowering. Basically, the sash represents all the powers I work with: the celestial, supercelestial, subcelestial, elemental, abstract, and divine powers of the cosmos, world, and universe. After all, other magicians use the lionskin belt from Golden Dawn-style Solomonic work for much the same purpose, and finding ways to jazz up my white ceremonial robe and indicating the powers I call upon is always something I enjoy and support.
The design for the sash can be broken down into seven major sets representing different levels of manifestation or cosmic power in the Hermetic paradigm I work within, each set being separated by a particular kind of bead; the major sets use gold/blue tiger’s eye (solar/lunar or light/dark), the zodiac signs use labradorite, the planets use onyx, the elements use bone, the banners use quartz, and the geomantic figures use dark agate. I also threw on some skull and eye beads at the end with a crucifix to mark this as an instrument and sign of life, death, wisdom, protection, and holiness; a pentacle of Solomon, or the grand hexagram of Solomon, would work equally well.
- The Prime Mover (white, clear, 10 pairs)
- The Fixed Stars (silver, grey, 12 pairs)
- The Zodiac Signs
- Aries (white, red, 6 pairs)
- Taurus (emerald, green, 6 pairs)
- Gemini (bright orange, orange, 6 pairs)
- Cancer (ruby, purple, 6 pairs)
- Leo (gold, yellow, 6 pairs)
- Virgo (black, orange, 6 pairs)
- Libra (white, green, 6 pairs)
- Scorpio (black, red, 6 pairs)
- Sagittarius (gold, blue, 6 pairs)
- Capricorn (ruby, black, 6 pairs)
- Aquarius (bright orange, black, 6 pairs)
- Pisces (emerald, blue, 6 pairs)
- The Seven Planets
- Saturn (black, maroon, 3 pairs)
- Jupiter (blue, purple, 4 pairs)
- Mars (red, orange, 5 pairs)
- Sun (yellow, pink, 6 pairs)
- Venus (green, orange, 7 pairs)
- Mercury (orange, purple, 8 pairs)
- Moon (purple, blue, 9 pairs)
- The Four Elements
- Fire (red, green, 4 pairs)
- Air (yellow, purple, 8 pairs)
- Water (blue, orange, 20 pairs)
- Earth (black, white, 6 pairs)
- The Creator: The Twelve Banners of the Tetragrammaton (white forIod, yellow for Heh, red for Vav, black for final Heh in groups of 4 as needed)
- The Creation: The SixteenGeomantic Figures (white for active elements, black for passive elements in groups of 4 as needed)
- Cauda Draconis
- Fortuna Minor
- Caput Draconis
- Fortuna Maior
The color choices and number of beads might need a bit of explaining. The geomantic figures use white and black, fitting enough for their binary and abstract nature, using the order of the beads to indicate the figure (e.g. white-black-white-black is Amissio). The planetary beads use the Queen and King scale colors of their corresponding sephiroth in as many sets as corresponds to their sephiroth, so Jupiter (associated with Chesed, the fourth sephirah) gets four blue beads alternating with purple beads. The elemental beads are similar, using the flashing colors of the elements, with the numbers coming from the number of sides of their corresponding Platonic solids (fire/tetrahedron/four, air/octahedron/eight, etc.). The zodiacal beads use two sources for the colors: the first color given in each set comes from Agrippa (book I, chapter 49), though each color represents two signs; the second color comes from the Queen scale of the sign’s ruling planet. Thus, Agrippa’s color for Aries and Libra is white, and Aries is ruled by red Mars and Libra by green Venus, so Aries is white and red while Libra is white and green. I made the Agrippa colors a little brighter or flashier (using reflective red or ruby beads instead of solid red) to help differentiate the beads a bit more. The pairs of the zodiacal beads come out to 6, each pair representing 5° of that particular sign. The colors for the sphere of the Prime Mover and of the Fixed Stars as a whole come from the Queen scale of the Tree of Life, though instead of using light blue beads for Chokmah I used clear grey beads; instead of using sets of 1 and 2 for these spheres, respectively, I used 10 (1 × 10) and 12 (2 + 10) since I wanted some substance there, and also since these numbers also work well for their corresponding forces. The Twelve Banners simply used four earthy colors, representing the faces of Divinity apparent to us down here throughout creation.
Of course, no bit of ceremonial regalia is complete without an accompanying prayer, and the grander the regalia, the grander the prayer, amirite? Trying to come up with a prayer that hits all the forces that this sash represents, however, would take a lot of doing, except there’s actually something that’s already been written up that fulfills this purpose. Many of my readers will be familiar with the Circle of Art from the Lemegeton Goetia, especially the version that Crowley and Mathers produced. This Circle has, around the space where the magician stands, a series of words that are basically the correspondences of the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life. Crowley and Mathers “explained” these names, not as a series of correspondences, but rather as a series of prayers to be said when writing out the names. In effect, the prayers consecrate the circle by connecting the circle and the magician to the sephirah being invoked through the prayers.
Since this Sash of Powers represents, in a more colorful fashion, all the same forces as the Lemegeton Circle of Art, I figured I may as well appropriate the prayers for my own purposes, adding on a bit more to invoke the corresponding angels of the forces invoked. The resulting set of prayers for the sash then becomes something like this:
God Almighty, God Omnipotent, hear my prayers and the cries of your servant N.! You, whose dwelling is in the highest heavens, the great King of Heaven and all the Powers therein, and of all the holy hosts of Angels and Archangels, hear the prayers of thy servant who puts his whole trust in You. Let the holy Angels command and assist me at this and all times; command thy holy Angels above and below the fixed stars to assist and aid thy servant that I may command all the spirits of the air, fire, water, earth, and hell so that it may tend unto Your glory and Man’s good. O God who is with us, be always present with me; strengthen me and support me both now and forever in these mine undertakings which I do as an instrument in Your hands, o God of Hosts. Great God, governor and creator of all the planets and the hosts of heaven, command them by Your almighty power to be now present and assist me, your poor servant, both now and forever. Most Almighty, eternal, and ever-living Lord God, command thy seraphim to attend to me now at this time to assist me and defend me from all peril and danger. O Great God of Hosts, all-seeing and almighty God, be present with me both now and forever, and let Your almighty power and presence ever guard and protect me at this present time and forever. Great God of Hosts, let Your almighty power defend me and protect me both now and forever. Come and expel all evil and danger from me both now and forever. O great God of all wisdom and knowledge, instruct thy poor and most humble servant by thy holy cherubim. Direct me and support me at this present time and forever.
God Almighty, God Omnipotent, hear my prayers! May your holy angels of the stars, planets, and elements Metatron, Iophiel, Malkhidael, Asmodel, Ambriel, Muriel, Verkhiel, Hamaliel, Zuriel, Barbiel, Advakhiel, Hanael, Cambriel, Barkhiel, Tzaphqiel, Tzadqiel, Kamael, Michael, Haniel, Raphael, Gabriel, Sandalphon, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raziel attend to the work of your servant.
May the angelic choirs of the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels attend to the work of your servant.
May the seven archangels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Sealtiel who stand before the August Throne attend to the work of your servant.
May Your holiest of holy Names resound throughout all creation, and may all creation of Your divine hand be at mine own to aid me in this work.
Is the use of this sash traditional? Yes and no; there are parallels between other magical practices, such as that of the bandera of Palo Mayombe, elekes of Santeria, the lionskin belt of the Golden Dawn, the stole of Christian priests, and the like. It’s certainly its own kind of innovation, but it’s one that makes sense, especially as a kind of badge of office when presenting myself to spirits in formal ritual, or if I ever get together and form a temple with others (a laughable notion!). Still, making use of this kind of crafting is just ongoing development of the spiritual work and work I’m doing. Who knows? It may even become part of a new tradition handed down over time.