THE PENTAGRAM SPREAD

   The Pentagram Spread is designed for players who wish to "take it to the next level." The player can use the spread to banish unwanted energies or to invoke desired energies (or both) with the help of established allies. The player should, in order to be effective, perform a simple invocation of each significant card in the layout to internalize the forces they represent beforehand so that merely thinking about the allies summons powerful feelings and images into the mind. This helps to clarify the scope of the spread as well as add great power to its focus.
   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 have various symbolic associations. In this game, the pentagram reveals the unity 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 purpose of invocation.

   Like the circle, the pentagram establishes boundaries. In order to invoke any spiritual energy, a boundary must be established for the appropriate energy to manifest in a concentrated form. The pentagram is also used to banish unwanted energies so that desired energies can then be invoked in a purer state. As a five-pointed figure, the pentagram stems from the sephira, or state of being, represented as the fifth sphere on the Tree of Life known as Geburah (meaning “power” or “severity”). Geburah restricts and controls energy on all levels of being in the same way that a combustion engine controls force so that the engine will run and the vehicle will operate. In other words, the severity of Geburah restricts force in a harmonious and productive manner.
   So it is appropriate that the pentagram is a figure representing the most harmonious force in the cosmos, the Christ-force. This is so because the elements and the letters of a familiar name of God, also known as the Tetragrammaton, are positioned on the points of the star to reflect this symbolic meaning. The Tetragrammaton contains the Hebrew letters Yod Heh Vau Heh, which spells Yahweh, or Jehovah. Reflecting how manifestation occurs down through the planes of force and form, Yod represents the element of Fire, Heh represents Water, Vau Air, and final Heh Earth, Fire and Air being active planes of force, Water and Earth being passive planes of form. Each of these elements is associated with a suit in the Tarot, Fire with Wands, Water with Cups, Air with Swords, and Earth with Pentacles. To continue the association chain, in simple terms Fire represents the spiritual plane, Water the mental plane, Air the astral plane (sometimes referred to as the emotional plane), and Earth the physical plane.

WANDS          CUPS          SWORDS          PENTACLES
Fire                  Water          Air                      Earth
Spiritual          Mental         Astral                  Physical
Yod                  Heh            Vau                     Heh

   These five states have as their root a fifth state represented by the Hebrew letter Shin, which signifies the spiritual Aether, the root of manifestation. When Shin is positioned in the center of the God name Yahweh, a new word is created: Yeheshuah. This is a secret name of Christ--down through the years it probably morphed into the name Jesus. Shin is positioned at the top of the pentagram to show how the other four elements manifest harmoniously from the root energy. One can draw a star that moves from the most active energies of manifestation to the most passive in one continous motion, beginning with Aether at the top, moving to the lower right point (Fire), then to the upper left point (Air), then over to the upper right point (Water), then to the lower left point (Earth), then back to the top.

Foundation Cards: The Four Aces and Judgement

   In the more advanced levels of the game, you will make the Pentagram Spread using five “foundation” cards to represent this harmonious energy of manifestation: the four Aces, each representing the root of its element, and “Judgement,” a card associated with the letter Shin and the quintessence of Spirit, the spiritual fire. The Ace of Wands representing the element of Fire (Yod) should be positioned at the lower right point, the Ace of cups representing the element of Water (Heh) at the upper right point, “Judgement” representing aether (Shin) at the top, the Ace of Swords representing the element of Air (Vau) at the upper left point, and the Ace of Pentacles representing the element of Earth (final Heh) at the lower left point of the pentagram.
   These cards form the base of any Pentagram Spread ritual you devise. The other cards from the Major and Minor Arcana can be used as modifiers that support the ritual purpose since they represent divine energies at different levels. The twelve Major Arcana cards associated with the Zodiac (see chart) should go first on the Aces since they represent cosmic energies. Next the cards associated with the planets, if appropriate, should be placed on top of the zodiac cards. Then any number cards that support the ritual purpose should be placed last on the stack. In other words, three cards can be placed on top of each Ace. Any more than three would inevitably complicate the ritual and begin to dilute its power. Remember that modifying cards add power, but effective rituals can be done with only the foundation cards, if you choose, or with any combination of number cards, court cards and trumps.
   For the purposes of this exercise related to the games, you will lay down only foundation cards, number cards and court cards, and one trump. Ideally, you will have first completed simple invocations of the number cards, court cards, and trumps that you are using in order to bring the power of the forces represented by the cards into your mind as you are conducting the ritual.

MODIFIERS

   In astrology the twelve zodiac signs are grouped into four elemental triplicities. In other words, three of the signs are associated with the element of Fire, three with Water, three with Air, and three with Earth. You should always place a trump, number card or court card on its corresponding ace.

   In the system of Golden Dawn correspondences, each number card of the Minor Arcana, 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.

Astrological Associations of the Spheres (Sephiroth):

Sphere 1, Kether: the first swirlings (the primal state of manifestation)
Sphere 2, Chokma: the Zodiac

Seven Planets:

Sphere 3, Binah: Saturn
Sphere 4, Chesed: Jupiter
Sphere 5, Geburah: Mars
Sphere 6, Tiphareth: The Sun
Sphere 7, Netzach: Venus
Sphere 8, Hod: Mercury
Sphere 9, Yesod: The Moon

Sphere 10, Malkuth: the Four Elements


   The meaning of each number card is derived from its element, the combined planet and sign of its decan, and its location within a sephira.

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 leads to mental confusion.

EXAMPLES

   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 positive energies of Jupiter associated with the Eight of Swords. In the beginning level, you only need to lay down the cards in a Pentagram Spread as a way to practice for advanced invocation. But, as I already mentioned, for effective invocation at the advanced level, you should do simple invocations of each trump and number card first, in order to internalize the symbolic meanings.

The Eight of Swords with Foundation Cards (The Four Aces and Judgement)

   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.

Four Number Cards Associated with Jupiter and the "Wheel of Fortune"

   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 Active Spirit Invoking Pentagram 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, 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 abundance, harmony and magnificence.

THE INVOKING PENTAGRAM WITH MODIFIERS

   Find "The Wheel of Fortune" and separate it from the rest of the deck. Before you lay down the foundation cards, you need to choose the aspects of Jupiter that you'd like to emphasize, which requires you to examine all of the cards within the deck associated with Jupiter, in this case four number cards associated with the fourth sphere, Chesed, and the four number cards with decan assoiciations.

Zodiac Cards on top of Foundation Cards

   The key to selecting the appropriate modifiers is a system of correspondences established by the influencial esoteric order known as the Golden Dawn. Each number card in the four suits of the Minor Arcana, from the Twos to the Tens, represents ten degrees of the zodiac, called a decan, and each decan is ruled by a planet. This, as well as the number card's association with a sphere on the Tree of Life and the influence of the suit element, colors the meaning of each card. Determining which modifiers work best when invoking planetary energies is simply a matter of determining the related sphere of the planet on the Tree of Life and the decan associations of the number cards.

Planetary Modifiers on top of Zodiac Cards

With "The Wheel of Fortune" as the center card

   For instance, Jupiter is associated with Chesed, the fourth sphere on the Tree, so we will be working with the Fours in each of the four suits.

Number Cards (Fours) on top of Planetary Modifiers

Four of Wands.
Four of Cups.
Four of Swords.
Four of Pentacles.

   First place the card that best represents the ritual purpose in the center of the star, in this case "The Wheel of Fortune." Then lay out the foundation cards, the Aces and Judgement, at the points of the pentagram. Next, lay out the modifying cards in this order if you feel they add power to the ritual:

1) cards signifying zodiac signs
2) cards signifying related planets
3) number cards or court cards

Jupiter (Chesed, the fourth sphere)

Wands: The Emperor (Aries), The Empress (Venus), the Four of Wands (Venus in Aries, Jupiter in Chesed)
Cups: The Chariot (Cancer), The High Priestess (The Moon), the Four of Cups (The Moon in Cancer, Jupiter in Chesed)
Swords: Justice (Libra), The Wheel of fortune (Jupiter)--center card, the Four of Swords (Jupiter in Libra, Jupiter in Chesed)
Pentacles: The Devil (Capricorn), The Sun (The Sun), the Four of Pentacles (The Sun in Capricorn, Jupiter in Chesed)

   Notice how the zodiac card is placed first on the Ace, followed by the planetary modifier, then the number card. No planetary modifier is necessary for Libra because Jupiter is the central card.

BANISHING ENERGIES

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 top, 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.

Active and Passive Invoking Pentagrams

INVOKING ENERGIES

   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.

ZODIAC SIGNS AND RULING PLANETS

ARIES: MARS
TAURUS: VENUS
GEMINI: MERCURY
CANCER: MOON
LEO: SUN
VIRGO: MERCURY
LIBRA: VENUS
SCORPIO: MARS
SAGITTARIUS: JUPITER
CAPRICORN: SATURN
AQUARIUS: SATURN
PISCES: JUPITER

   When laying out the cards, first visualize a pentagram on your alter or table and lay down the primary card with the energies that you are invoking in the center of your pentagram. Then if you are invoking energy from either the suit of Wands or Swords, start with the Fire element and move toward the Air element, placing the Ace of Wands in the lower right hand corner and then the Ace of Swords in the upper left hand corner, continuing with the Water element and so on in a continuous motion until you complete the star. Then tap each card in the same order, making sure to tap the Ace of Wands at the lower right point a second time to complete the pentagram--or draw a complete star above the layout in brilliant white light (in your mind's eye) in the same order. Then say, "The Pentagram is complete." If you are invoking the energies from a card in the suit of Pentacles or Cups, start with the Ace of Pentacles in the lower left hand corner and move toward the element of Water in the upper right hand corner, placing the Ace of Cups, continuing until you complete the star. Then tap the cards or draw the pentagram in the same order above the layout and say, "The Pentagram is complete."

   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.

Create your own game board.
Possible negative consequences of invocation.
The Middle Pillar Exercise.
The Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram.
Invoke the Sun.
Invoking Mercury.
Invoking Saturn.