“Too Much Banishing”
This was interesting topic which was brought up in Aaron Leitche’s Solomonic Group http://aaronleitch.wordpress.com/, and one we hadn’t touched on for a while.
“Banishing” became a staple of western ceremonial magic with the majority of practitioners at the time coming out of one of the main magical lodges associated or branched off from the Golden Dawn. Even witchcraft’s “creating sacred space” is a heavily influenced concept from these same lodges.
Interestingly enough the more you get into historic forms of traditional magic there is very little “banishing” done, especially as a routine -after and before- procedure. A traditionalist mage myself many might find it ironic that I am not altogether against this
theory and practice established and encouraged by the Golden Dawn. Perhaps it’s because I underwent the suggested daily and nightly practices myself and acknowledge that undertaking as a building block of my own ceremonial practices. The ritualized gestures, divine names and concepts still hold enough potent meaning for me to be useful. However, you won’t find me using them before, during, or after a spirit evocation which would seem odd to many CM’s I’m sure. My tolerance for ritual “banishing” may also be influenced by the fact that Western Ritual Magicians were commonly priests and clergymen if not highly religious individuals who worked with spirits on very strict standards and never formed “buddy-buddy relationships or treaties with them. Evocation was a serious experiment and done with caution and the authority of God.
The Solomonic forum mentions various arguments against banishing and some that make excellent points. I agree with the ones I read which stated many magicians prematurely severed developing spirit relations with an over use of “banishing” internalized rituals once the uneasy sense of a spirit was actually recognized. Persons unfamiliar with such phenomena naturally experience the “unnaturalness” or at least unfamiliar sensations that go along with a veritable encounter and may all too swiftly determine them as “bad” or “negative”.
(This magician suspects that a vast majority of aspiring mages expect the sensational safety of a Disney ride when working with spirits)
The truth of the matter is I still practice the LBRP and LBRH fairly frequently but have realized their benefits are for different reasons than what is typically attributed to them. When I conduct these particular rituals, (at least with the Kabalistic Cross) any “banishing” that occurs is more so within my own being than directed toward any “nasty influencing spirits” which may exist outside of myself. Early on, the practice became an energetic centering and reintegration within the sacred sphere of divine action. They are typically coupled with the MP exercise as well as other forms of prayer and meditation congruent to the energies of the aforementioned rituals.
Granted, any spiritual intelligences which would find the gestures, tools, and names of the aforementioned rituals unappealing may very well vacate the area, but it has not disturbed the familiar working presences within my own abode. A mage’s intentions while conducting these rites may have some influence on “external reactions” as well. For myself, a silence and clarity typically expands in my head afterwards which makes communication and interaction with spirits easier. Again, it seems to be a practice centered within my own consciousness and sense of perception rather than forceful clearing of an area. My apprehension of the drawn pentagrams in space are not necessarily for the removal of astral influences from the plane of earth but rather the severing of disjointed mental/astral distractions brought on by my own mind from the physical axis of my foundation.
When I wish to severely banish or rid a spirit of a person, place, or thing which is a very rare case (three times to the degree I am writing about in my magical career) I will use methods of no subtle means. It typically involves the strongest incantations I can muster with additional salt, iron, lead, brass, curses, washes, burning, and censing. Refer to the Greater Curse or spirits chain of the Goetia for extreme case examples. My reasons for these harsh methods are only brought about by circumstances where I feel a real danger or threat. I will only resort to such action when I am unable to nullify substantially harmful spiritual threats by any other means. Let me be clear in stating that I am not of the school of thought which forms buddy-buddy relationships with goetic spirits or beings of questionable influence but am similarly not hostel toward them or assume them to be creatures of inexhaustible ill intention. Indeed the full spectrum of spiritual beings has its rightful place and purpose quite beyond my own comprehension.
In cases where human and spirit simply cannot coexist harmoniously within a certain area, I will usually try to find a suitable destination that the spirit will eventually and hopefully find more agreeable. I have run up against some stubborn cases before but have not resorted to threats or punishments. Perhaps ironically, this was due mostly to the assistance of other spiritual beings who understood the situation far better than my perceptions allowed.
In my ongoing development of networking with spirits and fellow magicians alike, I am continually reminded of how much of a diplomat and ambassador I’m turning out to be. Not necessarily a great one in either respect but how the training and lessons seem to fall along those professional lines. Proper, communication and exchange between foreign parties of dissimilar background is a continual effort of refinement. The perks make the efforts worthwhile and the drawbacks are undeniably frustrating. A magician cannot hope to gain report with any manner of spirit if they are so quick to dismiss and command them at leisure. However they will quickly lose defining meaning of exchange if a spiritual or tradition based “road map” is not integrated within their manner of communication. Cultures, beliefs, and philosophies differ on the methods of spirit diplomacy and interaction. Those who seem the least effective in either are the ones with no sense of structure or connection or try to pick and choose on a whim.
Thoughts arise as to the nature of the transference of energy from place to place as a magician moves his residence to another area to another house, and possibly a vastly differently climate and geography. Since I feel I’m arriving at that point soon myself (although the climate will doubtfully be noticeable), I wonder at the about the subtle and dynamic spiritual encounters which were encouraged by the genius loci of my current residence. What will come with me and what will be left behind? How many spiritual beings were drawn to my workings and have more or less taken up permanent residence there? How much of a clearing I should do if any, as a responsible magician so as not to (possibly) frighten the next set of people who move in after my family and I have moved out?
This will not have been my first move while seriously conducting such practices, but it will be a move after my most recent and intense experiments I’ve ever experienced thus far. Tactically present relationships have been formed and ongoing for some time. Although most are by no means bound to one space or location, I‘m certain a number of them are. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a set chamber for conducting nothing else but magical workings. The room itself has a VERY distinct atmosphere and presence which never seems to lessen. Some very intense experiences, very potent items and books, are all kept there under ward. I’ve often wondered if something will linger (and to what degree) and how long after or quickly it will fade if I don’t personally do anything to remove what was built up in that space?? Despite some issues of abandonment or some sense of dislocation from spirits who may find the change of residence not to their liking, I will most likely assure the space is “deactivated” to the best of my ability despite any linger curiosity. However the very thought stirs something unease within me after the years of discovery.
A smile crossed my face as I recalled how my wife was looking at every single house as needing a magical room space adequate enough for my workings. I was amazed and complimented her thoughtful understanding on this but she considered it as a matter of course, just as important as a house needing a living room for instance. Much of my magical life is still concealed from my visible, public life so it’s easier to reflect on the pleasant humor of such striking differences a magical house hold has.
Magic is everywhere. Some places seem more active than others, and the true sense of power resides within the soul-mind of the magician and his/her connection to divinity. However, any magician of practiced years will acknowledge the presence of potency within objects and places continually used for arcane endeavors.
Ritual magic is a symbiotic weaving of interconnecting energies and intelligent patterns which extend beyond the conscious apprehension of the initiating mage. Any act in magical intention sends information frequencies along countless subtle lines of creation. Fledgling magicians who think their imaginings and actions through rituals began and end inside their own mind, are fooled by their own thoughts.
All relationships, subtle or profound should be acknowledged and given conscious appreciation if not notice when circumstances are altered. Magicians excel with their sensitivity to the subtly of the unseen world, not a distracted indifference to it.