The Sphere of Protection: A ritual of protection and invocation.

2022.01.26 05:52 dosnivicik The Sphere of Protection: A ritual of protection and invocation.

Here is Phase 1 of a less known ritual than the LBRP called the Sphere of Protection. The advantage of this ritual is that it uses 7 elements, not 4, and also serves as an invocation as well as a banishing at the same time. If you perform of the LBRP however, they don't mix well so pick one or the other and off you go. Interested? Read below. The text is originally consulted from John Michael Greer's blog at: https://ecosophia.dreamwidth.org/57125.html
The Sphere of Protection (SoP) is the foundational ritual practice of an entire family of initiatory orders, of which as far as I know the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) is the only one currently active. It was originally devised sometime in the 1950s by Dr. Juliet Ashley, a longtime occultist who studied Jungian psychology in the 1930s and went on to become the leading figure in AODA as well as the Universal Gnostic Church, the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn, the Order of Spiritual Alchemy, and the Modern Essene Order. All these organizations taught and practiced the SoP as part of their basic training. Later, in the 1970s, Ashley’s student John Gilbert developed the SoP further as part of his preparation for ordination at Universal Seminary, the distance-learning school operated by the Universal Gnostic Church for its clergy. His version became standard in the orders just named. John was my teacher and initiator in these traditions, and it was from him I learned the ritual. It’s a very solid protective ritual, a little subtler in its effects than the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram but equally effective in practice, and deserves more attention than it’s received. With any luck, this post will help take care of that.
Learning the Sphere of Protection
One of the distinctive features of the SoP is that you don’t start doing it all at once. You begin with the opening and closing sections, and add in the elemental invocations in the middle one at a time. The process of learning the SoP thus functions as a basic initiation into the work of the seven elements. Seven elements? Yep—in the SoP you work with Air, Water, Fire, Earth, Spirit Above, Spirit Below, and Spirit Within. We’ll get to those one at a time as we proceed.
The opening and closing sections have evolved substantially over the years. The version included in my book The Druid Magic Handbook and the forthcoming The Dolmen Arch is essentially the one I learned from John Gilbert; it’s effective, but the opening section shows, a little too clearly for my taste, its descent from the Christian Sign of the Cross (which was used as the opening section in Juliet Ashley’s time); the closing section also has proven to be very difficult for some students to learn. The versions presented here have been tested over several years, and work well. If you want to try the older version instead, why, you know where to find it.
About Divine Names
One of the peculiarities of the Sphere of Protection is that it doesn’t specify which divine names, if any, are to be vibrated in doing the ritual. (We’ll get to vibration later on; you don’t do it in the opening or closing.) That’s a reflection of a core theme in the work of all the orders that use the SoP, which is that the name or names by which you know the divine are your own business. When I was ordained a priest of the Universal Gnosis, John Gilbert asked me in the name of what deity I was prepared to take the ordination, and the name I gave was the one he used. That was not merely standard but required.
For the SoP, you’re going to need to fill certain slots. For the Opening, you need three deities—the standard approach for polytheists is to call on a father god or sky god, a mother goddess or earth goddess, and a deity with whom you have a specific connection. Not a polytheist? Not a problem; Christians using this rite call on the three persons of the Trinity, while animists and others who prefer to work with impersonal forms of divinity can apply those as needed (an example is included below). For the Closing, you don’t need any divine names at all. For the elemental invocations—well, we’ll get to that as we reach those.
The Opening

  1. Stand in the center of the space where you will be working, facing whichever direction is sacred in the tradition in which you’re working. (For example, in the Universal Gnostic Church and the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn, this was east, while in AODA it’s south, where the sun stands at midday.) Take a few moments and a few breaths to focus your attention and let your body and energy become stable. Then sweep your arms up to your sides until your hands meet above your head. Draw your joined hands down to your forehead, and touch with them the point between your eyebrows, at the location of your third eye center; as you do this, imagine a beam of pure white light descending from infinite space to a point in the center of your head, forming a small sphere of light there. Say the name of the sky god or father god.
  2. Now draw your joined hands down the front of your body to touch a point on your belly just below your navel, at the location of the womb center. As you do this, imagine the same beam of pure white light descending through your body to the heart of the Earth. Say the name of the earth goddess or mother goddess.
  3. Now raise your elbows and draw your hands back up, separating them in a sweeping, blossoming motion. End with your arms out to your sides, palms up. As you do this, imagine the light rising up again from the heart of the Earth, filling your body. Say the name of the third deity you’ve chosen.
  4. Now cross your arms, right over left, the fingertips of each hand resting against the opposite shoulder. As you do this, imagine the light shining out through your body and filling the space around you, cleansing and blessing all things. Say something appropriate to finish. That concludes the Opening.
Here are some sample words that can be used with the Opening:
(1) “Hu the Mighty, great Druid god;” (2) “Ced the Earth-mother, source of all life;” (3) “Hesus of the Oaks, chief of tree-spirits;” (4) “May all the holy powers bless and protect me now and always.”
(1) “Osiris!” (2) “Isis!” (3) “Horus!” (4) “Powers of the Ennead, mighty in magic!”
(1) “In the name of the Father,” (2) “and of the Son,” (3) “and of the Holy Spirit,” (4) “Amen.”
(1) “By the sky above me,” (2) “by the earth beneath me,” (3) “by the life force within me,” (4) “may I be blessed and renewed now and always.”
Or come up with your own. Back in the day, it was rare to find any two initiates who did the SoP with the same words.
The Closing
The earlier version of the closing, the actual establishment of the Sphere of Protection, involved some fairly complicated visualizations. Those work, but a lot of people have had trouble with them. The following visualization will be found less challenging. Fair warning, though: it needs regular practice to become really effective.
At the conclusion of the Opening—or, later on, at the conclusion of the elemental invocations—turn your attention to your solar plexus, the area just below where the two sides of your ribcage part company. Imagine the equivalent point in the middle of your body, where the beam of pure white light passes through you. Imagine the beam of light forming a small sphere of light there. Feel this as the meeting place of the current of light descending from the sky and the current rising back up from the heart of the Earth.
Now imagine the sphere of light expanding, fed by the two currents flowing into it. It grows until it surrounds your entire body, and as much further as you need to make it to encompass the area you wish to place within its protection. Concentrate, as it expands, on the sense that the space inside it is lighter, cleaner, and brighter than the space outside it. (The more effort you put into this sense, the more effective the ritual will become.)
Pause, once you have expanded the sphere to the size you need it, and feel the space around you as cleansed, lightened, and illuminated. Then cross your arms as you did at the end of the Opening, and say something appropriate, e.g., “May the holy powers bless and protect me now and always,” or a suitable prayer—for example, the Lord’s Prayer if you are a Christian. That concludes the closing, and the Sphere of Protection.
If you’re interested in learning this, try doing it at least once a day for the next week. A week from now I’ll post instructions for the first of the elemental invocations — the Calling of Air.
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