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object:3.13 - Of the Banishings
author class:Aleister Crowley
subject class:Occultism
book class:Liber ABA



Of the Banishings:
And of the Purifications
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and had better come first.
Purity means singleness. God is one. The wand is not a wand if it
has something sticking to it, which is not an essential part of itself.
If you wish to invoke Venus, you do not succeed if there are traces
of Saturn mixed up with it.
That is a mere logical commonplace: in Magick one must go much
farther than this. One finds ones analogy in electricity. If insulation
is imperfect, the whole current goes back to earth. It is useless to
plead that in all those miles of wire there is only one-hundredth of
an inch unprotected. It is no good building a ship if the water can
enter, through however small a hole.
The first task of the Magician in every ceremony is therefore to
render his Circle absolutely impregnable.1 If one littlest thought
intrude upon the mind of the Mystic, his concentration is absolutely
destroyed, and his consciousness remains on exactly the same level
as the Stockbrokers. Even the smallest baby is incompatible with the
virginity of its mother. If you leave even a single spirit within the
circle, the effect of the conjuration will be entirely absorbed by it.2

1. See, however, the Essay on Truth [Ali Sloper, or, the Forty Liars] in Konx Om
Pax. The Circle (in one aspect) asserts Duality, and emphasizes Division. [He [the
Black Magician] works in a Circle, brother. He says: I am inside and you cant get
at me. He says One and One are Two!]
2. While one remains exposed to the action of all sorts of forces, they more or less
counterbalance each other, so that the general equilibrium, produced by evolution,
is on the whole maintained. But if we suppress all but one, its action becomes
irresistible. Thus, the pressure of the atmosphere would crush us if we banished
that of our bodies; and we should crumble to dust if we rebelled successfully
against cohesion. A man who is normally an all-round good sort often becomes
intolerable when he gets rid of his collection of vices; he is swept into monomania
by the spiritual pride which had previously restrained by countervailing passions.
Again, there is a worse draught when an ill-fitting door is closed than when it
stands open. It is not as necessary to protect his mother and his cattle from Don
Juan as it was from the Hermits of the Thebaid.



The Magician must therefore take the utmost care in the matter [102]
of purification, firstly, of himself, secondly, of his instruments, thirdly,
of the place of working. Ancient Magicians recommended a preliminary purification of from three days to many months. During this
period of training they took the utmost pains with diet. They
avoided animal food, lest the elemental spirit of the animal should
get into their atmosphere. They practised sexual abstinence, lest
they should be influenced in any way by the spirit of the wife. Even
in regard to the excrements of the body they were equally careful; in
trimming the hair and nails, they ceremonially destroyed1 the
severed portion. They fasted, that the body itself might destroy
anything extraneous to the bare necessity of its existence. They
purified the mind by special prayers and consecrations. They
avoided the contamination of social intercourse, especially the
conjugal kind; and their servitors were disciples specially trained
and consecrated for the work.
In modern times, our superior understanding of the essentials
of this process enables us to dispense to some extent with its
external rigours; but the internal purification must be even more
carefully performed. We may eat meat, provided that in doing so
we affirm that we eat it in order to streng then us for the special
purpose of our proposed invocation.2
By thus avoiding those actions which might excite the comment [103]
of our neighbours we avoid the graver dangers of falling into
spiritual pride.
We have understood the saying To the pure all things are

1. Such destructions should be by burning or other means which produce a
complete chemical change. In so doing care should be taken to bless and liberate
the native elemental of the thing burnt. This maxim is of universal application.
2. In an Abbey of Thelema we say Will before a meal. The formula is as
follows. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. What is thy Wil?
It is my will to eat and drink? To what end? That my body may be fortified
thereby. To what end? That I may accomplish the Great Work. Love is the
law, love under will. Fall to! This may be adapted as a monologue. One may
also add the inquiry What is the Great Work? and answer appropriately, when it
seems useful to specify the nature of the Operation in progress at the time. The
point is to seize every occasion of bringing every available force to bear upon the
objective of the assault. It does not matter what the force is (by any standard of
judgment) so long as it plays its proper part in securing the success of the general
purpose. Thus, even laziness may be used to increase our indifference to
interfering impulses, or envy to counteract carelessness. See Liber 175, Equinox I
(7), p. 37 [also Appendix VII, p. 363 of this book.]. This is especially true, since the
forces are destroyed by the process. That is, one destroys a complex which in itself
is evil and puts its elements to the one right use.



pure,1 and we have learnt how to act up to it. We can analyse the
mind far more acutely than could the ancients, and we can therefore
distinguish the real and right feeling from its imitations. A man
may eat meat from self-indulgence, or in order to avoid the dangers
of asceticism. We must constantly examine ourselves, and assure
ourselves that every action is really subservient to the One Purpose.
It is ceremonially desirable to seal and affirm this mental purity
by Ritual, and accordingly the first operation in any actual
ceremony is bathing and robing, with appropriate words.2 The bath
signifies the removal of all things extraneous or antagonistic to the
one thought. The putting on of the robe is the positive side of the
operation. It is the assumption of the frame of mind suitable to that
one thought.
A similar operation takes place in the preparation of every
instrument, as has been seen in the Chapter devoted to that subject.3
In the preparation of the place of working, the same considerations
apply. We first remove from that place all objects; and we then put
[104] into it those objects, and only those objects, which are necessary.
During many days we occupy ourselves in this process of cleansing
and consecration; and this again is confirmed in the actual ceremony.
The cleansed and consecrated Magician takes his cleansed and
consecrated instruments into that cleansed and consecrated place,
and there proceeds to repeat that double ceremony in the ceremony
itself, which has these same two main parts. The first part of every
ceremony is the banishing; the second the invoking. The same
formula is repeated even in the ceremony of banishing itself, for in
the banishing ritual of the pentagram we not only comm and the
demons to depart, but invoke the Archangels and their hosts to act
as guardians of the Circle during our pre-occupation with the
ceremony proper.4
In more elaborate ceremonies it is usual to banish everything by
name. Each element, each planet, and each sign, perhaps even the
Sephiroth themselves; all are removed, including the very one
which we wished to invoke, for that force as existing in Nature is
always impure. But this process, being long and wearisome, is not
altogether advisable in actual working. It is usually sufficient to

1. [Titus I. 15.]
2. [Traditional forms of words may be found in the Gotia and other Grimoires of
the Solomonic cycle.]
3. [Chapter VIII, supra.]
4. [See Liber O (Appendix VII, p. 350).]



perform a general banishing, and to rely upon the aid of the
guardians invoked. Let the banishing therefore be short, but in no
wise slurred for it is useful as it tends to produce the proper
attitude of mind for the invocations. The Banishing Ritual of the
Pentagram (as now rewritten, Liber 333, Cap. XXV)1 is the best to
use.2 Only the four elements are specifically mentioned, but these
four elements contain the planets and the signs3the four elements
are Tetragrammaton; and Tetragrammaton is the Universe. This
special precaution, is, however, necessary: make exceeding sure
that the ceremony of banishing is effective! Be alert, and be on [105]
your guard! Watch before you pray! The feeling of success in
banishing, once acquired, is unmistakable.
At the conclusion, it is usually well to pause for a few moments,
and to make sure once more that everything necessary to the
ceremony is in its right place. The Magician may then proceed to
the final consecration of the furniture of the Temple.4

1. [Liber XXV, The Star Ruby; also Appendix VI, p. 300 of this book.]
2. See also the Ritual called The Mark of the Beast given in [Appendix VI, p.
304]. But this is pantomorphous.
3. The signs and the planets, of course, contain the elements. It is important to
remember this fact, as it helps one to grasp what all these terms really mean. None
of the Thirty-two Paths is a simple idea; each one is a combination, differentiated
from the others by its strcture and proportions. The chemical elements are similarly
constituted, as the critics of Magick have at last been compelled to admit.
4. That is, of the special arrangement of that furniture. Each object should have
been separately consecrated beforehand. The ritual here in question should
summarize the situation, and devote the particular arrangement to its purpose by
invoking the appropriate forces. Let it be well remembered that each object is
bound by the Oaths of its original consecration as such. Thus, if a Pantacle has
been made sacred to Venus, it canot be used in an operation of Mars; the Energy of
the Exorcist would be taken up overcoming the opposition of the Karma or
inertia thereby inherent.


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