Pentangled Practicum – A Tolkien Tribute

A few months back, nearly a year back at this point,  I was looking through John Michael Greer’s book The Celtic Golden Dawn and felt terrible for leaving it sit on the shelf, ignored.  Even though I couldn’t get my head around using it ‘as is’, I thought that there must be something I could do with it. So,very sincerely, I began plugging Tolkien’s Legendarium into it and came up with a personal system I was calling Calaquendi.

I wouldn’t say that this is a dead practice for me, but at this point it has been several months since I practiced it in any legitimate manner.  I merely wanted to post it here and give others a foundation with which to start experimenting with this magic(k)al expression. What I present here is just the first slice of what I had developed.  Perhaps I will begin sharing the many pages of notes I had compiled if interest grows; those regarding altar structure, kabbalistic assignments, and much more…Much of what follows is not explained, but those familiar with Tolkien symbolism will understand why the Awen and the Pentangle are used, or can be used to some effect in a Legendarium based practice.

So, here are some of those original notes —- Any questions or criticisms are always welcome.

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It is a magic(K)al current utilizing the Legendarium of Tolkien. It is highly influenced by the Golden Dawn practicum, but far less rigid and less preoccupied with the toys usually associated with such endeavors.  The impetus with this practice is not worship of the archetypes of the Legendarium but of the building of a bridge between the working area of the magician/practitioner with the liminal world of Tolkien’s mythos.

My foundation for the practice is the book The Celtic Golden Dawn by John Michael Greer.  Because this book attempts to place the Golden Dawn material into a more naturalistic sensibility the modifications needed to make this work are minor.

It’s important to note that Calaquendi is not a Religious quest, it is a magic(K)al one.  By magic(K)al I do not mean hocus pocus and the limited selfishness of material need.  Gareth Knight states in his book The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend “Magic…is the technique of the control of images and imagination…”(1983). Magic in this sense is then a tool of personal Gnosis and not merely meant to be a path toward the inflation of self for the sole purpose of ego enrichment.  Magic(K) here, and within Calaquendi, is meant to stretch awareness and perspective toward a mythos that grows self in a positive manner and brings the richness of the Legendarium closer to the everyday reality of those practicing such techniques.

Things changed

The core changes have to do with the names and titles of many of the practices from a Druid Revivalist pseudo welsh to Quenya (or an honest attempt to do so) such as those related to practices of the LBRP, Rite of the Rays, and Kabbalah associations. Along these lines, associations found within Greer’s material and the original Golden Dawn material are being modified to suit the mythology of Arda – incorporation of the Two Trees, Silmarils, the Rings, Istari, Vala, etc.

Initial Steps

A preview of  Greer’s The Celtic Golden Dawn can be found here – In order to view the references in the following examples.

One of the first practices within any Golden Dawn derived system is the Magician’s implementation of the Cabbalistic Cross and the Lesser Banishing/Summoning Ritual of the Pentagram. Greer rewrites the Cabbalistic Cross to be the Rite of the Rays within the Celtic Golden Dawn (CGD) which makes use of the modern Druid symbol of Awen:BW-Awen-smallIn the Calaquendi version we will use the Awen symbol as well, but will rewrite some of the terms to work with the Legendarium.

Rite of the Rays (p.31)Calaquendi version performed just as listed in book, but the with changes to the vocalizations;

First Vocalization = Menel (the heavens, firmament, sky)

Second Vocalization = Rainë (peace, good will)

Third Vocalization = Laurë (light)

Fourth Vocalization = Vérë (bond, troth,honor)

Fifth Vocalization = Mi Silmë Maruvan (In starlight I will abide)

Final Vocalization = Eä (pronounced [ˈe.a]) (the world)

 

Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (p.32) – Calaquendi version performed just as listed in book, but with changes to the vocalization; Normally a godform is intoned at each direction following the tracing of the Pentagram, instead we are intoning the name of a Vala or Valie.  Once each direction has been signed with a Pentagram and a Vala/Valie vocalized the next process is to vocalize the Element and a Maiar (more immediate beings of earthly interaction) that coincide with both the Element and Vala/Valie.  In the Calaquendi system these Maiar are the Istari, the Wizards that walk among man/elf/dwarf and effect the lands of Arda/Middle Earth directly.  Again this is done exactly as in the CGD – Tracing of Pentagram with Valar vocalized in each direction – then facing the east and the vocalization of the Element and naming the Maiar associated with the Vala the direction and element.

East Vocalizations = Manwë – Air – Olórion

South Vocalizations = Aulë – Fire – Curunír

West Vocalizations = Ulmo – Water – Uinen or Ossë (As Ossë has been tainted by Melkor and is somewhat aggressive due to this I would recommend using Uinen, his consort.)

North Vocalizations = Yavanna Kementári (Q, pron. N [jaˈvanːa ˌkemenˈtaːri] – Earth – Aiwendil

~elen sila lumenn’ omentielvo~

 

Awen, Odin, and the Ravens

In John Michael Greer’s The Celtic Golden Dawn, a simple ritual is presented utilizing the Awen as a replacement for the Cabbalistic Cross section of the LBRP.  The version presented in the book (page 31) is an inspired bit of Celtified occult wisdom that replaces the Golden Dawn/Hermetic ritual with Celtic names and phrases.  Even though I enjoyed Greer’s Celtic Golden Dawn creation I found it far too heavily inspired by the Hebrew Cabbala for my taste and stopped after working my way through the Ovate Grade.

However, being the Druish sort of fellow I am I still use the Awen attunement/empowerment ritual with a slight twist.  By substituting the Celtic words and phrases for more Odian ones I can marry my Runic religious work with my Druish eco-occult philosophy.

My Awen empowerment rite

Keep in mind that Greer’s Awen or ‘Rite of the Rays’ version of the Cabbalastic Cross is identical in spirit to the Golden Dawn version; the occultist is trying to empower herself and attune to the powers within and without. This practice can be done as a daily empowering yogic performance or as a beginning and/or end to ritual or meditation.

Stand facing North (or East).  Achieve a state of calm and begin to imagine yourself as large and towering into the sky.  Raise hands above your head and reach for the glowing essence of the sky.

  1.  Bring hands down to the crown of your head bringing between them the cosmic  power of the sun and sky, moon and stars.  Vocalize “Muninn” as the light falls into the crown of your head.
  2.  Bring hands down before your forehead, the light follows your movement filling your head, thumbs barely touch the skin. Vocalize “Lyke” as the light cascades down to your feet and into the ground.
  3. Extend your right arm down and slightly diagonal away from the body.  Vocalize “Odhr” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
  4. Extend your left arm down and diagonal away from the body. Vocalize “Ond” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
  5. Bring your arms up to cross your chest.  Vocalize “Huginn” as you marry the cosmic power within your arms and body igniting the internal self in radiance.
  6. Sweep the hands back down diagonally and end by Vocalizing “Awen” once, twice, or three times.
  7. Take some time to digest what you’ve done and experienced.  Three breaths usually is enough to end this practice with respect for yourself and the energies.

What does it mean? This practice brings you in touch with several Odian views and energies.

Muninn means Memory and is one of Odin’s ravens. To the Runester Muninn is a matrix of lore and mystery, ancient wisdom that bubbles with Rune knowledge.  Even though in this practice the wisdom is coming from above it should be perceived as coming from the multiverse and therefore all around us from all points of perception.

Lyke (Lik) is the body, the sacred vessel of existence, sometimes associated with a Ve or a sacred area.  This is one of the gifts given to man by Odin in his tripartite form as Vili-Ve-Odin or Lodhur- Hoenir – Odin.  Ve (Lodhur) gifted the physical body to man to understand and interact with the worlds.

Odhr is thought to be the force of inspiration, the fury of being.  This was given by Vili (Hoenir) to man and is the root of the name Odin.  Odin is the god of furious wisdom and inspiration – we too were given that power.

Ond is the divine spark of life the breath of existence.  This was given by Odin to man.

Huginn means mind (will) and is Odin’s other raven.  Very simply Huginn is the will of the occultist.  Muninn comes from above moving downward, Huginn comes from below and within moving upward.

This act is a powerful realization that the Runester embodies the nature of Odin and is not a subservient recipient of these life gifts but is instead a powerful ally and partner in the unfolding of the multiverse.  The Runester is not a worshiper of Odin per-say but through acts such as this is seeking to walk the same roads as Odin and establish her own Will by winning Rune wisdom.

If one wishes to take this Awen/Odian empowerment further the occultist can imbue the practice mentally with Runes as well.  The Lyke stage can be likened to the Aett of Fehu (Fehu-Wunjo); the Odhr stage to the Hagal Aett (Hagal-Sowilo); the Ond stage to the Tyr Aett (Tyr-Odal).  I see the Runes extending within my body into the respective area of attention > The body, the right arm, the left arm from top to bottom.

This form of body attunement can offer much in the way of meditation and ongoing speculation.  Try it for a few days and see how you like it.

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A scribble of the Odian Awen

Druid Symbols

Pagans love their symbols.  I gave a workshop not to long ago on Tarot, after the short work shop was over a participant asked what a specific symbol meant.  My answer, which was not appreciated, was to say that it could mean many things, it all depends on what books you’ve read and what Religious/Magickal/Cultural system you’re working in.

Those who have been involved in Magickal/Mystical/Faith research for many years understand that symbolism is a tool, and there are no sure meanings for anything, especially symbols.

Druish Symbolism

There are really two main symbols of modern Druid practice and philosophy.  The Druid Sigil and the Awen.  Are there more, yes…but this is not meant to be an all inclusive historical blog post, merely my insights on the two that I use most often.

 

The Druid Sigil

This symbol was the invention of the Reformed Druids working from out of the Carleton College Druid group.  This symbol resonants for me, and always has.  I think its power is in the fact that it has no true meaning.  One can contemplate its two lines and circle for years and come up with several working paradigms for reflection and utilization. One question is why this symbol came out of the mind of a NeoDruid in the first place – that in itself is a thing worth contemplating.

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There are several ways that I utilize the Druid Sigil; As a symbol of meditative contemplation, a Gate symbol, a symbol of blessing, and as a symbol of consecration/hallowing/purification.  When working acts of Sorcery I invoke it prior to whatever work I’m planning as a way to hallow an area and separate it from mundane space. I’m not one for outbursts or directional declaration so I simply trace the figure and extend it out into the area I’m working.  A mental image of peace in all spheres of existence and all directions may follow the invocation of the symbol, but it’s not a hard and fast ritualistic affair.

Being that the symbol itself has no set meaning it is an apt sigil for the nebulousness of Druidry and it’s philosophy.  I like the fact that it is probably a completely post-modern creation, that because of that it addresses the mystery of Druidry and modern pagan faith expressions.  Like Druidry the Druid Sigil reminds those who consider themselves Druidish that they practice a philosophy/faith/cult that is itself a mystery demanding to be scrutinized and understood through the lens of inspiration, practiced with a hint of academic obfuscation. After all the history of modern Druidry is a complex thing, sometimes serious and at other times silly, I like the fact that the Druid Sigil is a very serious/non-serious symbol of ‘who-knows-what’.

 

The Awen

The Awen is symbol I don’t utilize to much, but it has it’s place in my practice.  The symbol is also a modern creation, but one with an ineresting past.  Essentially, according to the inspired mythos put forward by Iolo Morganwyg the Awen represents the knowledge attained by a giant (the first being) from the All/God/Creator.  I won’t rehash the mythology, but it is certainly a myth that easily fits with those who study and implement Indo-European mythology and cosmology into their practices.

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I see the Awen as symbol of inspired lore.  Usually it is used to mean Inspiration and is intoned to reflect this idea.  For me it is a reflection of the wisdom and meta-language of Rune wisdom.  It’s rays coincide with the three Aetts and it’s story – that it is fundamentally a matrix of lore of all existence, and that it was given to Einigan ( a giant or Jotun) and then discovered by another traveler (Odin) after the Giants destruction.  I’m not saying that the Awen is actually the Rune row, but it is a mental association that I have come to utilize and may be helpful to others that incorporate  a Revival era Druid knowledge into a Heathen religious practice.

More fundamentally, for me, the Awen also represents three tenets of Druidry that I think are important: Peace, Knowledge, and Power or Truth, Illumination, and Will or The Gods, Ancestors, and Nature.  These symbols are powerful and as you can see, personal.