The pentagram is a five-pointed star with several significant meanings. First of all, the pentagram can be drawn in one continuous motion, suggesting its unity of form, but unlike the circle, which has no beginning or end, one can begin drawing the pentagram at any of its five points, each of which can have different symbolic associations. In this game, the pentagram reveals the unity of the elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, and the fifth element of Spirit, or Aether. This reflects the esoteric doctrine that four visible states have their root in a fifth, invisible state.
Review the subtle forces of the zodiac.
In the system of Golden Dawn correspondences, each number card, or minor arcana card, from the Twos to the Tens is assigned ten degrees of the zodiac, called a decan or decanate, each of which is ruled by a planet. The number cards are also associated with the ten sephiroth (spheres) on the Tree of Life. For instance, the aces, described as the roots of the powers of the elements, are all assigned to Kether, the first sphere on the Tree, the Twos to Chokmah, the second sphere, the Threes to Binah, the third sphere, and so on down to the Tens in Malkuth, the tenth sphere.
The meaning of each number card is derived from its element, the combined planet and sign of its decanate, and its location within a sephira, seven of which have a planet associated with them.
Learn more about the decan associations of the number cards.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the number cards should only be used with the ace of their own suit. In other words, place a Pentacle only on the Ace of Pentacles, not on the Ace of Cups, the Ace of Swords, or the Ace of Wands. Mixing them only creates confusion.
The following, step by step, shows the process of laying down the cards as a way to first banish the negative energies in the Eight of Swords and then release the energies of Jupiter associated with the Eight of Swords. In the games, you only need to lay down the cards in a Pentagram Spread as a way to practice for advanced invocation. Of course, for effective invocation at the advanced level, you should do simple invocations of each Minor Arcana card first, in order to internalize the meanings of the significant cards.
Eight of Swords.
Start by placing the Eight of Swords in the center of the pentagram. Then, to banish the negative energies of the Eight, lay the foundation cards down in a banishing pentagram, beginning with the Ace of Pentacles, then laying down "Judgement," then the Ace of Wands, the Ace of Swords, the Ace of Cups and continue the motion with your finger back to the Ace of Pentacles. Imagine that you are releasing all limiting beliefs into the core of the earth.
Next, to invoke the energies of Jupiter, which includes the energies of expansion, abundance, harmony and spiritual magnificence, first lay down the Wheel of Fortune over the Eight of Swords, then use the motion to invoke the energy of Jupiter in the Wheel of Fortune. Start by placing the Four of Wands at the lower right point of the star, then move to the upper left point and lay down the Four of Swords. Move to the upper right point and lay down the Nine of Cups. Then move down to the lower left point and lay down the Two of Pentacles. Imagine the energies of Jupiter filling your heart and mind until your aura is filled with spiritual abundance, harmony and magnificence.
Four of Wands.
Four of Swords.
Nine of Cups.
Two of Pentacles.
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.
The Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram starts with the Earth element in the lower left hand corner and moves toward the apex, the element of Spirit, or Aether, then to Fire, Air, Water, and back to Earth. So for the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, the player should lay down the card with the unwanted energies in the middle of the star and then the Ace of Pentacles in the lower left hand corner. Then proceed as in the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, placing “Judgement” at the top of the star, the Ace of Wands in the lower right hand corner, the Ace of Swords in the upper left corner, the Ace of Cups in the upper right corner. Then draw the full pentagram above the star in the same order from the Ace of Pentacles back to the Ace of Pentacles, thereby banishing the energies in the card.
Fire and Air are active elements and Earth and Water are passive elements. Therefore, the invoking ritual for Air and Fire is slightly different than the one for Earth and Water. This requires you to decide which element you are focusing on, which is simple if you are invoking a number card, court card or zodiac card, but more subjective if you are invoking the energy of a planet. As you can see in the chart below, except for the Sun and the Moon, each planet rules two zodiac signs, one sign in an active element and one in a passive element. When invoking a planet, you must decide, based on your ritual purpose and the modifiers you are using, if the ritual is more in an active element of Air and Fire or a passive element of Earth and Water.
When it comes to laying out the cards, a little advanced planning is always helpful. Remember to arrange the cards in an order that enables you to perform the ritual without worrying about the placement of the cards, especially if you are using a lot of modifiers. You can, for instance, make separate piles, one for the primary card and the foundation cards, with the primary card on top; one for the zodiac modifiers; one for the planetary modifiers; and one for the number cards--all in the order of placement. Remember that the type of invoking pentagram you are using, either active or passive, affects the lay out of the cards since you will either be starting with Wands in the position of the Fire element in the lower right hand corner and moving to the upper left-hand corner, or with Pentacles in the position of the Earth element in the lower left-hand corner and moving in the opposite direction. This may all sound extremely complicated, but once you've mastered the basics, which is much easier than may appear at first, you shouldn't have any problems. One of the purposes of this layout is to help you with memory and concentration. Both are extremely important in invocation and in the Great Work in general, especially when it comes to the more advanced rituals.
The Basics of the Pentagram Spread.
See another simple example of banishing and invoking with the Pentagram Spread.
Invoking the Queen of Cups with the Pentagram Spread.
Divination with the Pentagram Spread.
The Middle Pillar Exercise.
Invoking the elements using court cards with the Pentagram Spread.
A more detailed explanation of banishing and invoking with the Pentagram Spread.
Example: Invoking Mercury.
Begin a journey.