Circle of Art
Getting interested in goetia and other styles of conjuration outside the Trithemian ritual of conjuring angels, I figured that I’d eventually need a magic circle. After some deliberation, insight from dreams and my astral temple, and research, I came up with the following design for a Circle of Art. You can read more about the design, its logic and symbolism, and how it was constructed in this post where I first introduced the design. For this project, the only change I made was in the proportions of the lines and in changing the Hebrew aleph to a Phoenician alp.
So, I had the design already, and in order to manifest it into my realm, I had to procure all the necessary supplies. I got a 6′ by 8′ untreated canvas tarp, which is small enough for inside workings and was the only size small enough that would fit in my room. If I could, I’d do a larger 9′ or even 18′ circle, but alas, my room doesn’t have enough space. I also got black acrylic paint, some 2″ and 1/2″ brushes, a pencil, twine, and some duct tape. Just to be safe and play things by the book, I went ahead and cleansed the supplies. I set everything to be used in front of a lit consecrated candle; sprinkled the dry supplies with a bit of holy water; mixed a few drops into the paint; and said a small prayer over them. Easy enough, so I went ahead and consecrated them as well using methods from the Key of Solomon. However, I had some reservations about doing this; this occured during the waning moon, so I had some reservations about whether the blessing would wear off more quickly from my supplies. After a bit of divination, I found out that this would not be the case and I could go ahead and consecrate the objects needed.
To consecrate the paint, pencil, and brush, I modified the preparation of ink and the pen (book II, chapter 14). I also mixed in a few drops of Abramelin oil into the paint, and used the following conjurations:
ABRAY, HABYLY, SAMAY, TIEDONAY, ATHAMAS, SEAVER, ADONAI, banish from this brush all deceit and error, so that it may be of virtue and efficacy to write all that I desire. Amen.
I exorcise you, O creature of paint, by ANAIRETON, by SIMULATOR, and by the name ADONAI, and by the name of him through whom all things were made, that you be unto me an aid and succor in all things which I wish to perform by your aid.
For the canvas, I went with the Michael Sebastian Lux’s idea from his Linen of Art to consecrate the tarp using the preparation of virgin parchment (book II, chapter 17), which uses the following conjuration followed with Psalms 73, 117, 134, and the Benedicte Omnia Opera. I prepared the tarp by wring the magical characters according to the Key of Solomon around the canvas’ border along with the godnames Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (אהיה אשר אהיה) and Ain Soph (אין סוף) (book II, chapter 22).
Be present to aid me, and may my operation be accomplished through you, LAZAY, SALMAY, DALMAY, ADONAI, ANERETON, CEDRION, CRIPON, PRION, ANAIRETON, ELION, OCTINOMON, ZEVANION, ALAZAION, ZIDEON, AGLA, ON, YAHWEH, ARTOR, DINOTOR, holy angels of God; be present and infuse virtue into this canvas, so that it may obtain such power through you that all names or characters thereon written may receive due power, and that all deceit and hindrance may depart therefrom, through God the Lord merciful and gracious, who lives and reigns through all the ages. Amen.
Psalms 72, 117, 134, followed by the Benedicte Omnia Opera
I conjure you, o canvas by all the holy names that you obtain efficacy and strength, and becomest exorcised and consecrated, so that none of the things which may he written upon you shall be effaced from the Book of Truth. Amen.
The combination of the two techniques was used to prepare the canvas for writing (magical characters) as well as ensure correctness and clarity of the art and writing (Ain Soph); plus, there were 14 segments made by the arrangement of the eyes around the hem of the tarp, but only 13 magical characters, so it added up nicely. For kicks, I dabbed Abramelin oil around each set of characters and on the middle of the tarp. I lit frankincense and myrrh incense around the tarp, and used a ceiling fan to blow the smoke back down onto the tarp to suffumigate it. It didn’t turn out too badly, though I wish I had a finer brush to paint with.
After I prepared the canvas using the sigils, I came across an interesting problem: what do I do with disposable-but-blessed items? I squirted out some of the consecrated paint and used a consecrated foam brush for drawing out the sigils and godnames, and afterwards, I didn’t know what to do with them. Simply tossing them in the trash seemed wrong, after all, and I know from other workings that involve blessed candles that you can’t just get rid of the remains in the trash or toilet without things going awry. What I ended up doing was thanking the tools for their use, undid the blessing on them (by allowing them to be as they were, common tools for a common world), then tied them up in a small paper bag. I left the bag on top of a trashcan (separate from the rest of the trash to be respectful) at a crossroads near my house (a traditional disposal place of magical items). Disposing the tools in a river or a church/churchyard are also traditional in addition to crossroads, but this was the easiest choice for me.
Later on that week, I got around to actually constructing the circle on the prepared and consecrated canvas tarp. It was simple though long process: recite Psalms 2, 54, 113, 77, 47, and 68 (book I, chapter 3); draw out parts of the design using a straightedge, masking tape, pencil, cord, and CD as necessary; paint on bit by bit, periodically drinking sangria and dancing to Pandora; touch up any spots that need clarity or covering; sit back, admire that beautiful circle, and drink more sangria. I drew out the circle by anchoring one end of a string to the center of the tarp with tape and tying the other end to a pencil, and traced around the tarp using that; for smaller circles, I wound the string up around the pencil until I got an appropriate distance. I ran into a problem with painting, though: I didn’t have a fine-enough brush for the Stars of Azoth. The sigils turned out tolerably well, but I needed something finer, like a chopstick. I happened to use a chopstick to mix the paint with the holy water and Abramelin oil that was also present for all the consecrations done earlier in the week, so since it could be considered as casualty-consecrated, I went ahead and used that. Its fine point allowed me to (very carefully) paint on the required letters. Success!
At this point, the construction of the circle was done, and I could have used it as it was. Neither the Key of Solomon nor Lemegeton’s Goetia specifies a consecration ritual or a prescribed time to work on the circle beyond reciting the psalms above (either before or during the construction of the circle). I followed some basic guidelines for timing: I consecrated all the tools and supplies on a Wednesday in an hour of Mercury, then used my free time on the following Saturday to work on the circle and get it done. The paint took a short amount of time to dry, happily, but it was getting everything traced out that took forever. I found out that the sizing applied to the tarp before it was cut and hemmed, so I was actually working with less than 6′ of space for a circle. Ah well, live and learn.
The next day, I aligned the circle towards the quarters properly and lit a consecrated candle to the east. To make up for the lack of the Qabbalistic circumscription around the circle a la the circle in the Lemegeton, I went through and invoked the angel of each sphere (celestial, planetary, and elemental), while circumambulating the circle with a censer of frankincense and asking for each sphere’s forces to consecrate the circle. I also invoked my Holy Guardian Angel, which didn’t get me much of a response since I didn’t have communion with him at the time, but I wanted his aid in this project anyway. I used the general formula:
In the blessed and holy name of godname I conjure you, angel, and all the angels, souls, intelligences, spirits, and beings of the choir of the sphere of sephirah that you channel the force of sphere to this circle. Empower this circle, reinforce its boundaries, and direct the forces of sphere to this circle for the lasting and consecrated defense of all those within it and for the clear and realized observation of and communication with all those without it. By the power given to you, angel, by the most holy God godname, and by the power of the eternal and ever-present Logos, let no entity or force break, harm, or otherwise trespass through or into this circle against my will, for the sake of His divine majesty who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.
I used a slightly different version for the elemental angels (using the class of elementals instead of the choir and the Hebrew name for the element instead of the sephirah name) and HGA (which used “so that every spirit whether heavenly or aetherial…may be obedient unto me” from Liber Samekh), but this enabled me to use all the same words in the circumscription of the original Solomonic circle by filling them in at the proper spots, and then some. I held the tool or talisman proper to each planetary or elemental sphere while performing the invocation; for Kether, Chokmah, and Malkuth, I “held” an image of their spheres in my hands (pure brilliant light, the Zodiac, and the Earth, respectively). I circumambulated the circle a number of times proper to each being’s sphere (1 for Kether, 2 for Chokmah, 3 for Binah…9 for Yesod, 10 for Malkuth, and once each for the four elemental spheres), plus one final circumambulation for my HGA. This summed up to 60, the gematria value of the Hebrew letter “samekh”, itself circular and with the general meaning of “support” or “uphold”.
After that circular hike, I prayed over the circle in the name of the Almighty through the force of the Logos for the sake of the Sophia and Pneumatos, asking for the circle to lend me and all other people and objects within the circle at any time protection, stability, and consecration from all forces that would seek to break, harm, or otherwise trespass through or into the circle against my will. I then thanked all the angels as they came, gave them leave to depart, gave thanks to the Almighty, and finished the consecration. Then I sat down in a comfy chair, drank a pitcher of water, and enjoyed rest and rehydration like nothing else.
Since there was about a foot of space on either side of the circle, I decided I should do something for each side of the circle. I looked to the Lemegeton’s circle for more ideas, and decided to make two wooden pentagram placards to support candlesticks on the tarp (two instead of four because I didn’t have the space to fit four in a proper square around the circle with enough distance). I took three 6″ circular placards of wood and traced a circumscribed pentagram on them using a compass and straightedge. I woodburned those in and used the standard Tau cross in the middle of the pentagrams where the candle sits. Around each arm, I decided against using the split Tetragrammaton design inside the arms of the pentagram, and went with Elohim (אלהים) instead, aligning the aleph to sit atop the crossbar of the center Tau and writing Tetragrammaton around the pentacle a la the Pentagram of Solomon (I wanted to use something else, but I couldn’t find anything in a multiple of five that wasn’t another godname, so I figured that something resembling tradition here was a good choice). I woodburned the design into the placards, stained them, and applied a finish. When placed on the tarp, the aleph arms of the pentagrams point outwards from the circle, so that the Tau crosses will point towards the circle. The third placard is for supporting the brazier, to be placed between the circle and the Triangle but off the tarp. For a quick addition, it turned out pretty well. I don’t ascribe much occult virtue to these things, but they do combine the powers of the numbers 3 (arms of the Tau cross), 4 (Tetragrammaton), and 5 (Elohim, pentagram), and they’re used in the Lemegeton circle, so maybe there is something more to them.
All in all, the project took about three days’ worth of work: one day to pyrograph the placards and consecrate the supplies, one to construct the circle and stain the placards, and one to consecrate the circle and finish the placards. The most tedious parts in the construction were getting the geometry right and painting the lines on the circle. Consecration clearly took a while with the constant walking, chanting, and praying. The final result, though, is definitely something to behold. Plus, with the use of acrylic paint, the canvas can be folded up and easily transported from place to place with minimal wear and tear, although I wish I had a finer set of brushes to use for richer detail. And, as Peter Vaughn noted with his circle experiment, it sure makes “one hell of a beach blanket that’s guaranteed to keep pests far away”.