Originally restricted to the use of Adepts of the Ordo Roseae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (“Order of the Ruby Rose and Golden Cross), the secret Second Order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the ritual of the Hexagram saw the light of day with Crowley’s exposure of the Golden Dawn rituals throughout the serialized Equinox. With many subsequent exposures of the Golden Dawn’s curriculum, the ritual of the Hexagram has a much wider audience and is now common knowledge, if not use, among many magicians. One can buy a variety of books, ranging dramatically in quality, to find amongst the arcane exposed gnosis the Lesser and Greater Rituals of the Hexagram. Yet, despite this, the ritual remains somewhat obscure to most. While the Pentagram rites are now ubiquitous amongst magicians both seasoned and new, the formula of the 6-fold star remains more mysterious, even allusive.
The Hexagram or Macrocosmic Star is a reflection in geometric form of the unity between the Divine and Human. As a talisman of the unity of consciousness and polarities (“As above, so below; as within, so without”), its’ six points are associated with the classical planets as delineated on the Tree of Life, with our radiant Father Sol placed in the center. Of the figure of the Hexagram, Papus tells us:
“The triangle pointing up represents all that ascends, it is particularly the symbol of fire, of heat. The one with the point down represents all that descends, it is especially the symbol of water, of humidity. The union of the two triangles represents the combination of heat and humidity; of the sun and the moon. It symbolizes the principle of creation, the circulation from heaven to earth. This figure gives the explanation of Hermes’ words in the Emerald Tablet: ‘It goes up from the earth to heaven and, vice versa, it goes down to earth and receives the force of superior and inferior things. ‘”
Unlike the Pentagram rituals, which are elemental and far wider in application, the Hexagram rite was originally designed for the Adept of the Golden Dawn, and contains symbolism based upon their reception into the Second Order. The Signs of L.V.X. which open and close the rite are the symbolic gestures by which the Adept attuned to the forces of the Tiphareth as the Sun of the Soul, a representation of the GOD-MAN or homo superior, being the keys by which the symbolic Vault of Christean Rosenkreutz was opened. The Analysis of the Key Word I.N.R.I. were a further reflection on the cycle of life as represented by the Sun, as well as that interior luminary which serves the the Lamp of the Magus. The six points of the figure are attributed to the 6 classical planets in their order as given on the Tree of Life, with the radiance of Our Father Sol in the center. Each planet in turn may be associated with the inner centers of spiritual force, the chakras of the Hindus, as well as with Zodiacal influences. And so we see that the symbol is at once a reflection of the living Truth of the Emerald Tablet; once again, “as above, so below.” The planets in their movements in the heavens are reflected in the interior centers of force in our psychospiritual makeup.
Through geometric Kabbalah the six-pointed figure is associated with the sixth sephira on the Tree of Life, Tiphareth, the “interior sun” of the magician. As a symbol of union, the macrocosmic star represents the union of the magician with the Holy Guardian Angel. The interplay of extremes such as fire and water, light and darkness, Will and Love, symbolized by the union of the two triangles, all reflect on the nature of that attainment. As such, a full understanding of the Star of the Macrocosm may be found within the heart of the magician herself, as a reflection of the Truth of which we are all an expression. Where the 5 points of the pentagram show the aspiration towards the divine with an equilibrium of elements and a seeming craving for the radiant L.V.X., the hexagram expresses the brilliant fire of the Gnostic Sun surrounded by six centers of force in perfect equipoise. One may enter the true Vault of the Adepts by apprehension and application of this symbol in the life of the magician.
“He that hath the knowledge of the Microcosm, cannot long be ignorant of the knowledge of the Macrocosm. This is that which the Egyptian industrious searchers of Nature so often said, and loudly proclaimed‑‑that every one should KNOW HIMSELF. This speech their dull disciples (the Greeks) took in a moral sense, and in ignorance affixed it to their Temples. But I admonish thee, whosoever thou art, that desirest to dive into the inmost parts of Nature, if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. If thou knowest not the excellency of thine own house, why dost thou seek and search after the excellency of other things? The universal Orb of the world contains not so great mysteries and excellences as a little Man, formed by God to his own Image. And he who desires the primacy amongst the students of Nature, will nowhere find a greater or better field of study than himself. Therefore will I follow the example of the Egyptians, and from my whole heart, and certain true experience proved by me, speak to my neighbor in the words of the Egyptians, and with a loud voice do not proclaim: O MAN, KNOW THYSELF, in Thee is hid the Treasure of Treasures.”
— The Center of Nature Concentrated; or, The Salt of Nature Regenerated, Alipili
[written September 2003]