Once, during meditation, I had a vision of a golden, equal-armed cross floating in a blue sky. At each end of the cross hovered an angel. I could not make out faces, only the color of the robes, one blue, one yellow, one red, and one white. Since I was an agnostic, the vision both startled and intrigued me. I had, of course, noticed the equal-armed cross of the Red Cross many times before but had never contemplated its significance. Up to that point I had considered religious symbols devoid of any relevant meaning. It took me several years to understand that I had envisioned an archetype of personal integration that symbolizes paradise regained.
   While conducting research in the New Age section of the bookstore a few days later, I was amazed to discover that the angels in my vision are known within esoteric traditions as the Archangels of the Elements ("esoteric" meaning “secret, for the few”). As I have mentioned, I envisioned a series of archetypal symbols around the same time, including a gray lemniscate, a symbol of eternity, which I unexpectedly discovered several days later in a Tarot deck, and the thousand-petaled lotus associated with the crown chakra, the meaning of which I found on the internet. In other words, in meditation I had envisioned symbols from ancient spiritual traditions, without prior knowledge of their existence. Without even realizing that it was possible, I had tapped into the archetypal energy of humanity’s collective subconscious, or what others might call the collective unconscious.
   As an avowed agnostic for decades, I was surprised, confused, and fascinated all at the same time. At first I had no idea what to make of it, so if you are an agnostic or atheist and are having difficulty believing me, I completely understand. It took a long time for my conscious mind to accept and comprehend what my subconscious was showing me.
   If you are an agnostic, it might help to think of the shining ones as archetypes that represent natural forces. Each of the four Archangels that I envisioned is a type of ruling force of a plane of being, just as certain natural forces such as gravity dominate the physical plane. Like gravity, these forces are imperceptible to the physical senses but are extremely powerful. Unlike gravity, they are currently beyond the ability of human beings on the physical plane to measure with any scientific accuracy.
   One thing led to another as I conducted my research, and I also found out that these four Archangels, present in several key esoteric rituals, are Raphael (“Healer of God”), who represents the element of Air and the quadrant of the east; Gabriel (“Strong One of God”), who represents the element of Water and the quadrant of the west; Michael (“Like unto God”), who represents the element of Fire and the quadrant of the south; and Uriel (“Light of God”), who represents the element of Earth and the quadrant of the north. You cannot, of course, find these “elements” in the periodic table--they are symbolic of different states of being, which have been described, crudely perhaps, as the physical (Earth), astral (Air), mental (Water), and spiritual (Fire) planes.
   What you see above in the Tarot cards are fairly conventional representations of these Archangels, except for the figure in THE WORLD, who in earlier cards was shown as a hermaphrodite (more on that later). Over the ages, the human mind has fashioned symbolic representations of these intelligent forces. The Archangels do not really look like people with wings, just as God does not look like a grumpy old man with a long, white beard.
   I have also since discovered that a person meditating on archetypal symbols can sometimes slip from the individual mind into the collective mind, from the personal to the trans-personal, as though channeled from a stream into the ocean. At those moments, the archetypes can take on a unique personal meaning that can ripple out in the individual’s life in significant ways in the days and months and years that follow.
   When an archetype surfaces in consciousness, its significance can flow out into the world of action and affect the physical plane. For instance, as happened with me, a person who envisions a golden equal-armed cross during meditation might find out later that gold symbolizes the incorruptibility of spirit, and then that the cross itself corresponds to the four elements of the wise, Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, in harmony with each other. The person might then discover that the cross is the basis for key rituals where the practitioner creates a three dimensional space to launch the mind into the fourth dimension of spirit. Then the individual, as I did, might actually begin practicing rituals as a way to progress in the Great Work of self-transformation.    The meaning of a symbol from the archetypal “world” often takes weeks or months or even years to unfold, but one archetypal symbol can have a life-changing impact that can lead to a lifetime of exploration in the “forest of symbols.”
   As an agnostic, I accepted without question that imperceptible forces operate in the physical universe. I had never seen, touched, tasted, heard, or smelled gravity, for instance, but I had experienced countless demonstrations of it, so the scientific explanations of the phenomena made perfect sense to my rational mind. Like many agnostics, I prided myself on being logical and scoffed at whatever appeared irrational or impossible to explain.

Tree of Life

   After I started meditating regularly, however, my perspective changed dramatically. Because of my visions, I discovered a secret science that has existed in the mystery traditions of the most advanced civilizations. Mystery traditions throughout the ages have developed exceedingly potent forms representing these forces, in places like Egypt and Greece. This secret science has existed for thousands of years, far longer than modern science, which is still in an infant stage in comparison. These traditions have been driven underground and have become occult, or "hidden," but they cannot be totally destroyed, as I discovered during meditation, because people continue to envision and contemplate the archetypes, associating them with the the Tree of Life, the great mystic glyph that places them all in relationship to each other.
   After a few visions like the one described above, I began to understand that spiritual symbols give shape and meaning to forces beyond our limited physical senses. Many of them, for instance, represent powerful natural forces, and people throughout history have assumed that since the forces resonate with the human spirit that they must resemble human beings. The human mind anthropomorphizes, depicting deities in human form and ascribing emotion to natural occurrences as a way of coming to terms with forces beyond our control. In much the same way, one might personify the force of gravity as an extremely strong man holding the world in place.

Spirit Pentagram

   Many of these forces transcend human consciousness, and they do not necessarily look at all like they are depicted; they may not even “look like” anything that we can understand. Throughout human history, however, many have discovered that these vastly superior intelligences are made of the same “soul stuff,” so humans can establish correspondences with them. The spiritual intelligences known as Archangels, for example, resonate with the human soul even though humans are like amoebas in comparison.
   Their form is fashioned by pure imagination in the human mind, but the force is real; during deep contemplation or an effective ritual, the force pours into the imagination and stimulates the corresponding factor in the soul. A basic axiom of esoteric science is that the forces of the cosmos correspond to the individual human being: “As above, so below.” The great mystic glyph of the Tree of Life symbolically reveals the different forces that correspond to the different dimensions of the human psyche. All the imaginative forms of Gods or Archangels fashioned throughout history, in other words, correspond to the spheres on the Tree of Life and therefore also to the nine chambers of the human soul.
   After I had suddenly awakened to the spiritual dimension and the energy of awesome beings known as Archangels and Gods, I became healed on many levels. I moved from a deeply negative outlook to an extremely positive one through a process of purification--attaining greater clarity, harmony, and wholeness. I discovered also that you do not have to be a saint or a genius (since I am decidedly neither) to benefit from the loving energy of the shining ones.
   Their energy, if invited into our lives, can purify and exalt the mind, which can make a major difference for us all at this critical time when so much hangs in the balance. It never ceases to amaze me that these awesome beings are willing to elevate human consciousness even while they recognize the remarkable limitations of our unbalanced and undeveloped natures. People often do mean, nasty, horrible things to each other and the world, but the shining ones do not concern themselves with our base instincts or our worldly desires or our flaws; they respond to a sincere desire to elevate consciousness to higher spiritual awareness.
   In the world many dark, unbalanced forces are subtly influencing human consciousness. These dark forces have been personified throughout history as demons, evil spirits, and monsters, just as the shining ones have been personified as Gods and Archangels and spirit guides. The negative forces can also present a form to an individual’s psychic vision, but what they really are is not easily comprehensible because they too are essentially without form as we know it. The Archangels can help each of us banish and burn away the dark forces attached to our minds and help each one of us to become more balanced and psychologically integrated.
   Two key rituals that can put you in contact with these awesome beings is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram. The first, which clears away negative influences, is the first step in a continuing process of purification. After several months of clearing your aura on a regular basis, you can then invoke the energies of the Archangels into your sphere of sensation.
   Neither of these rituals should be taken lightly. The first purifies the mind and inevitably reveals impediments to spiritual development, which can lead to changes, some large, some small. The second heightens spiritual energies that have remained latent in most people. Performed together by a person open to the influences, the result is a greater sense of harmony, joy, and wholeness, which can ripple out into your life, positively affecting friends, family and community. Placing these four Tarot cards corresponding to the Archangels strategically in your ritual space can help you focus the imagination and bring the forces more effectively into your aura.
   The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP), based on the equal-armed cross, which symbolizes the integrated personality and the harmony of the elements within manifestation, helps you to open to spiritual dimensions while clearing your ritual space and your mind of unwanted subtle energies. The LBRP protects you from unexpected astral influences and should be performed without fail by any practitioner who opens him or herself spiritually to subtle influences.


   Following the order in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, we now examine four Tarot cards associated with the four great Archangels of the Elements, starting with THE LOVERS, which is the doorway to the 17th path, connecting Tiphareth with Binah, a path between the soul, or conscious self of the enlightened individual, and the sphere of spiritual intuition, known as the neshamah. The card depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with the Archangel Raphael, Healer of God, ruler of the element of Air, above them. The Source of all life shines above Raphael. The image essentially reveals the healing of the psyche, in the sense that all aspects of the individual are integrated--a return to paradise.
   Even though we don’t see one harmonized individual in the picture--instead we see a man and a woman, an archangel, and the sun--the image symbolically suggests the basic divisions of the psyche in the ancient tradition of the Qabalah. The lower personality balances polarities, containing both masculine and feminine characteristics. Adam and Eve in the picture, in other words, represent the transient, incarnated personality. The Archangel represents the evolutionary personality or Individuality, more commonly known as the soul, which combines both male and female characteristics and contains the essence of all incarnations. The sun in the picture is the divine spark, the True Self, which manifests the spiritual Source. In this state of integration, or "innocence," the conscious self is now more than the ruach, or conscious mind--it is the entire integrated psyche of the individual, from the highest spiritual vibration to the dense matter of the physical body.
   Binah, receiving the direct influxes of both Chokmah and Kether from other paths, combines the energies of all three, and therefore all three collectively are known as neshamah. Kether is the yechidah, the spiritual essence; Chokmah is the chia, the spiritual will; and Binah is the neshamah, the spiritual Understanding that combines all three, so all three supernal spheres together form a unit that is also referred to as the neshamah.
   The astrological sign associate with THE LOVERS is Gemini, two mythological brothers, one mortal, and one immortal. Part of the innocence of the fully integrated individual is the recognition that part of the self is mortal and part of the self is immortal, but nothing is lost in the mind of God. An individual sheds the lower personality like the snake sheds its skin, but the memory of it as well as the actual spiritual essence remain, so there is nothing to mourn.
   Between Adam and Eve is the hill of attainment. In order to accomplish a goal, you first need to be able to imagine the task as completely as possible and then work to master every aspect of it. The more you desire it, imagine it, and work for it, the more you are likely to move closer to your goal. There is a moment of attainment, whether or not anyone else is aware of it, when you know that you have accomplished what you have imagined, and you experience a new-found sense of confidence and purpose. An energy flows into you, as if from beyond, that stimulates and supports you as you work until you know you have attained your goal. This is as true of spirituality as any other pursuit.


   The card associated with the Archangel Michael, the quadrant of the south, and the element of Fire is TEMPERANCE. Balancing the energies within you as you progress on the inner planes is essential. Whenever you touch a sphere, you open up the virtues and vices of that sphere. For instance, the virtue of Tiphareth is devotion to the great work, which is union with God, and its vice is pride. When you first touch the energies of the sphere of equilibrium, you open up the possibility of oneness with the Source, but you also experience the negative pole of that sphere, which is the selfishness that makes your individual ego central to the universe. You must balance those energies within you, retaining your individuality while recognizing that you are a reflection of the Source, one form of energy within a vast fabric of living energies all connected and inter-penetrating. So many religious conflicts have occurred because people have touched the harmonizing energies of the Christ center, feeling a sense of oneness with creation, without realizing that they have to deal with the opposite tendency in their nature, which is separateness, the pride that makes them feel superior to others because of their personal experience. So what do we end up with? Wars and conflict between people who have essentially the same aims. The outer struggles reflect the inner struggles of people who are striving to harmonize the energies within them. One of the great challenges of spiritual development is the balancing of the polarized forces within our own natures while remembering that everything is divine energy, everything is holy, no matter where we are on the Tree.
   In the card, you see the Archangel Michael, who rules the element of Fire, with one foot on land and one foot in the water. He is mixing liquids in two jars, which suggests mixing water with wine as an act of temperance. In the background a path leads to a crown glowing like the sun, which reveals that this is the path to Tiphareth and the Source of all creation beyond. The energy flowing between the jars jumps out at you because it suggests the balancing of energy, the conscious creation of harmony. One foot of the Archangel is in the water, which suggests the subconscious mind, and the other is on the land, which suggests the conscious mind, and the Archangel is harmonizing them to establish and maintain the heightened consciousness of the higher self.
   Looking at the card, you may feel a sense of the oneness of all creation, a sense of harmony and balance that transcends human understanding--a sense impossible to explain because of all the conflict in the world. From that sense you might understand that sacrifice is involved, the sacrifice of attachments and desires that bind you to the lower personality.
   The God Horus is also a centaur, a falcon-headed man. Like Horus, the higher self knows the harmony of all creation, and the higher self struggles through sacrifice to balance all the forces within our nature. The higher self maintains the balance of all forces, the harmony of the transitory and the eternal. The higher self knows the divinity within the manifested world and can rise and go down at will on the Tree of Life.


   As you gaze at the card called JUDGEMENT you can almost hear the call to greater life. The Archangel Gabriel, who announced the immaculate conception to the Virgin Mary, blows the trumpet of the Last Judgement. Below the Archangel, men, women, and children rise excitedly from tombs in the moment of resurrection. Their bodies are gray, not decomposed, which suggests that they are in subtle, etheric bodies and are hearing the call with their "soul senses."    The rebirth they are experiencing is also an immaculate conception. They are being reborn from the "lower" self into the higher self. They are in an ecstasy of truth.
   Hearing the call of the higher self, you examine your moral conscience and question what you have believed and valued up to this time. You are called to examine outside expectations and to question all conventional wisdom that has entombed your life. The higher self is a state of meta-conscious awareness that knows the truth and cannot lie. You must conduct a thorough self-evaluation with the courage to make necessary changes to bring about regeneration and growth. You must seriously examine yourself to determine if you are ready to do that.
   Imagine taking the hand of the great jackal-headed God Anubis and entering a cave, where there is barely enough light to see as you proceed deeper and deeper into the earth. The God guides you into a fire that does not burn your flesh. Instead, it consumes the negative energies of your subtle bodies, the black energy flowing down into the magma under the surface of the earth. Finally, Anubis pulls you away from the fire.
   Peer into the waters of the subconscious mind. Hear the call to rise above whatever is limiting you or interfering with your spiritual growth. As you look into the waters, you see that your body is translucent. You no longer see a reflection of your physical body. You are perceiving a subtler, etheric body, which holds the primary and secondary energy centers known as chakras.
   During meditation, you can cleanse each wheel of energy, or chakra, mentally with an imaginary white cloth and pure water. Whatever is negative in each chakra, you will wipe clean with the cloth. Sometimes you will have to continue wiping the chakra repeatedly, until it remains pristine. Sometimes you will find something that mentally you will need to pull out of the chakra. You might discover a message of some kind. Whatever you find, ask yourself what it means. Usually your higher self, through your subconscious, will immediately communicate its significance to you.
   To cleanse your primary chakra system, start with the root chakra, which is between the anus and the genitals. The chakras each contain more than one color, but I've discovered the subconscious mind identifies one basic color with each chakra. So begin by visualizing the root chakra as a turning, red martini glass or a red wheel. Imagine wiping it out with a damp, white cloth.
   Make a mental note of whatever you encounter within each chakra. Your subconscious mind is communicating with you. The next chakra, in the general area of the navel, is orange. Again, envision the chakra as a turning glass or wheel. Wipe out any impurities. Repeat the same process for the solar plexis chakra (between the navel and the heart), which is yellow. Keep cleansing yourself mentally:

The heart chakra is green.
The throat chakra, blue.
The third-eye chakra (middle of forehead): violet.
The crown chakra (top of head): brilliant white.

   This process will not always be easy. You might have to face thorny or repressed aspects of the self. You might ‘see’ that your energy system is out of balance or blocked in some way. You might remember unpleasant experiences or people from your past, but remember also that you are only judging yourself now to identify what interferes with your growth. The subconscious mind of the average person contains a fair share of junk, guilt, strange entities, and even some monsters. The element of Fire and the Hebrew letter "shin," which means tooth, or tooth of fire, and suggests the holy spirit, are both associated with this path. Whatever you cannot wipe clean, you will mentally burn away or drain from a hole in your back or your feet down into the earth's core, to be purified by the fire of the earth's mantle.
   You may find that forgiveness is an important aspect of the cleansing process. Forgive everyone who has harmed you. You can imagine a cup in front of you on a table and envision negative emotions leaving your body and going into the cup, where they drain into the earth. If you feel that you need to be forgiven, call the negative energy from the person that you harmed back to you, channeling it into the cup and draining it also into the earth. See it purified by the fire of the magma.
   You will know when you are done, at least for the time being. It is possible at this point that you will begin to have visions during meditation because you have cleared the way for the higher self to communicate with you with the language of the subconscious mind: archetypes and symbols.
   Look again at the card, noticing the white flag attached to the trumpet. On the flag is a red cross, which you may recognize as a symbol of compassion. Imagine the fire of compassion blowing into you until your entire etheric body is white with fire. No impurities remain.
   You are light, and you see the light in everything and everyone. If you feel negative emotions again because of some event in your life, which is inevitable, don't judge yourself critically. Remember that you can always cleanse yourself again.


   The card associated with the Archangel Uriel, the quadrant of the north, and the element of Earth is THE WORLD. A woman floats in a clear oval shape resembling a mirror. The oval is the ‘sphere of sensation,’ also known as the aura, the subtle energy field that surrounds the physical body. The sphere of sensation contains the ‘world’ that you create through all your experiences on this plane as a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical being.”
   Gazing into the mirror of THE WORLD, you are faced with a choice: Cling to the lower self or rise up and experience regeneration. The symbols of the elements, the bull, the eagle, the man, and the lion, which represent the four ‘elements of the wise’ and four dimensions of the self, reveal that this process is about the regeneration of all levels of your being. That requires the first, terrible initiation. Gazing at the mirror, you are beginning the process of dying to the old, judging what is essential for your progress and what you must leave behind. The sphere is egg-shaped, suggesting infinite potential, and is bordered by the green leaves of a victory wreath, with a red ribbon in the shape of a lemniscate, the mathematical symbol of infinity, at the top and bottom, suggesting the knowledge of the infinitude within and the divinity of all levels of existence. As the last path, THE WORLD represents culmination and synthesis, a crowning achievement, the height of a progression. As the first path from the perspective of the physical plane, the figure also symbolizes ascension, or opening to a higher dimension and enlightenment. The four elements also suggest moving beyond the personal to an awareness of the interconnected nature of life as well as an understanding of the divine harmony and perfection of all levels of manifestation. The woman, who could be either ascending or descending, suggesting the stages of incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension, is the perpetual dancer, caught up in the eternal rhythms of life. Pictured as a hermaphrodite in an older tarot deck, she represents the male and female energies of force and form. In each hand she holds a wand, suggesting the dynamic, solar aspect of will, the necessary factor in beginning and maintaining the process of renewal.
   The physical world from the beginning drives the soul into the subconscious mind. You must explore the underworld to find your higher self. The current world turns the psyche into a cesspool of foul thought-forms, but purification leads to revelation, and as you gradually cleanse yourself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically, your heart becomes as light as a feather, and your soul takes over your waking consciousness. That which does not serve heart and soul falls away. You rise to heights that formerly you could not imagine.
   If the soul is not purified, not light as a feather, you return to the lower self. But once you are aware of the meaning of initiation, of the death of the lower self, you return humbly to weigh your heart against the feather of Ma'at. The Hall of Judgment exists eternally within us, not in some other realm. And in truth, you cleanse yourself gradually, eliminating the negative energy from your etheric, astral, mental, and spiritual bodies over a long period of time.
   Conquering the unbalanced aspects of your nature is an essential aspect of the Path, and does not happen overnight. The foot slips now and then, but the dedicated aspirant returns wiser for his errors.
   Eventually, you weigh your heart against the feather of Ma'at, the Goddess of balance and harmony, and ‘go to Osiris,’ the Higher Self on the inner planes. Just as Horus was conceived by Isis and Osiris to manifest the divine on the physical plane, you too ultimately manifest the Higher Self in your daily life.

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

   A more advanced ritual with the same Archangels, known as the The Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram, packs tremendous spiritual power into a relatively brief ceremony. In my opinion, you should not perform this ritual regularly unless you truly desire to have a new perspective on the spiritual dimension. The ritual incorporates Hebrew and an angelic language known as "Enochian," recorded in late sixteenth century England in the private journals of John Dee, a consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. Working with the seer Edward Kelley, Dee laid the foundation for a powerful and mysterious system of magic, which has had an enormous impact on modern occult practices, mainly through the influence of the esoteric order The Golden Dawn. Despite the fact that no one knows precisely how to pronounce the language, Enochian has gained great popularity, perhaps due to its uncanny effect on the psyche.
   I designed the Tarot Pentagram Spread specifically to fit into the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram to add power to the invocation of living images. You can seamlessly incorporate the Tarot Pentagram Spread into the ritual if you pay close attention to the elemental attributes of the cards.
   “Life is suffering,” claimed the enlightened one. We cannot escape sickness, old age, and death. Loss is inevitable, but we can face suffering with greater resilience and a greater sense of wholeness, purpose, and understanding. Even in the face of death, we can know the heavenly energies within the soul and the world around us.

Take the next path.
Follow a quiet path.