what is the lesser banishing pentagram?

The idea to write about this came to me when I was reading through a number of books about preparing for magickal rituals or spells, or doing protection or spiritual work. The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram comes up frequently in occult circles, but I think it can be misunderstood in both performance and purpose.

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (or LBRP) comes from the Order of the Golden Dawn and is a ceremonial magick ritual. It can be done as a stand alone ritual, simply as a protection ritual, but is probably more often considered a preliminary ritual to other magickal or spiritual work.

Its one of those things that many witches or magicians were taught as a newbie if they went through some sort of formal training is one of the esoteric schools of magick.

But, its also something used by many practitioners and spiritualists who are self-trained or maybe just didn’t learn it during some form of formal magickal instruction.

The Purpose of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP)

The LBRP is used to create a field or space around you or in your working space (or in a space in general, if you are cleansing or banishing there) in which you first banish any impure elemental energies, lingering energies not of your own, or unwanted energy of any kind.

It involves visualization, gestures, and powerful spoken words to perform the clearing, banishing, and preparation.

The basic structure of the invocation part of the LBRP comes from an old Jewish prayer:

“In the Name of God, the God of Yisrael: may Michael be at my right hand, Gabriel at my left, Uriel before me, Raphael behind me, and above my head, the presence of God.”

-Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in The Hirsch Siddur [Feldheim Publishing, 1969]

In effect, the LBRP is seen as a measure of protection for a person or space before performing any tasks that may leave them open to influence from external forces, benevolent or otherwise.

Is the LBRP Always Based on a Judeo-Christian Foundation?

The original ritual definitely was based on this religious foundation, despite being used by many individuals who do not consider themselves Judeo-Christian believers or do not subscribe to a Judeo-Christian belief system.

There have been, however, a number of adaptations made of the LBRP for folks who prefer not to use a monotheistic invocation, for those who prefer to use a LHP version, or for those who do not want to use a deity-centered version at all.

If you’re interested in that, here are some I suggest checking out:

  • you can find a really nice elemental summoning version in Mat Auryn’s book Psychic Witch; this is a really fabulous book for all kinds of reasons, let alone the version of this ritual it contains
  • you can find one geared more for LHP/Luciferian/Satanism here
  • here’s an interesting interpretation using Roman deities
  • here is a Wiccan interpretation

Once you read the actual ritual, you can see how elements can be adapted for probably any magickal path one might choose to follow, and still maintain the meaning, symbolism, and effect.

What Do You Need to Perform the LBRP?

You technically do not need anything other than yourself and your visualization skills to perform the LBRP. There are, however, many interpretations or guides for this ritual that use tools such as athames, wands, crystals, and other common magicakal items.

More ceremonial schools of training or thought tend to use at the least a robe and sword/dagger/athame/wand. You may also need an altar at which to perform this, if you are taught to do this.

The LBRP Ritual

The LBRP consists of several main components:

  1. Start with the Qabalistic Cross. The Qabalistic Cross forms a very energetic and symbolic astral cross on or in the body of the magician. The points represent points on the Tree of Life. At each point of the cross, the magician visualizes a bright white light from within themselves that connects them to the divine, while intoning syllables or words (Hebrew) that create specific vibrations, making a strong connection between their energy and that of the astral plane. The following words are intoned at each p0int, respectively: Atah (at the forehead), Malkuth (at the breastbone), Ve Geburah (at the right shoulder), Ve Gedulah (at the left shoulder). Then the arms are crossed over the chest and the magician intones: Le Olam, Amen.
  2. Construct the Pentagrams. This either banishes or invokes the four elements. An earth pentagram to banish or an invoking pentagram to invoke is symbolically drawn in the air at each point starting in the east (E, S, W, N)  and a name of God is intoned and vibrated at each of those points (Yod He Vod He, Adonai, Eheieh and Agla, respectively). The pentagram should be envisioned as a glowing or burning bright light as it is drawn, and the names said with emotion and strong intent.
  3. The four points are now connected with a circle of bright white light that is drawn around the perimeter.
  4. Invoke the Archangels. The magician stands at each of the 4 cardinal points and visualizes the 4 archangels Raphael (“before me”), Gabriel (“behind me”), Michael (“on my right”), and Uriel (“on my left”) present, calling upon them to take up those protective placements.

The circle that is constructed is now visualized to expand into a sphere, surrounding the magician or the space completely, like a bubble.

This ritual essentially places you as the center of the universe with divine light channeling through you.

Once you are finished with whatever work you are doing, you release the circle by performing the pentagrams again at each cardinal point and performing the Qabalistic Cross at the end.

The one thing that really needs to be stressed here is that this must be done with feeling and emotion. If you simply go through the motions, it means nothing and will do nothing for you.

I would recommend practicing it a few times before you actually plan to use it for real, so that you can get used to the names (whichever ones you choose to use) and the feeling of energy drawing, as well as the creation of the circle.