What follows are instructions on how to do a banishing ritual. This is a good kind of ritual to “practice” with because it’s meant to reset and refresh, and hence if one was so inclined, one could probably do it every day and get some benefit out of it - especially now, perhaps? I had mentioned previously in my entry about Satanic ritual practice that this kind of ritual is handy for people who struggle with “work coming home with me” or with separating themselves from negativity on social media. Please note though that this is not to make any kind of objective/scientifically-researchable claims about benefits - subjectively, you might feel better after is all I’m saying.
This entry is divided into the following subsections:
I advise reading it to the end before attempting anything.
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There’s an interesting clash between the occult traditions that I follow as far as under what circumstances one should do magic. Chaos magic tends to have a very laid back attitude about this question, along the lines that any time is a good time to learn, practice and generally play around. The LaVeyan tradition, by contrast, tends to frame magic as something you should only do when you actually need something badly and earthly methods are not getting it done.
I tend to adhere largely to the latter standard, yet I observe that if one has fairly few crises in one’s life, one doesn’t actually wind up practicing magic much if one follows the LaVeyan guideline strictly. And since there are inherent goods associated with ritual practice, as my previous entry argued, it is then good to have something that one can justify doing on a regular basis in order to actually practice.
Point being, I see banishing as where these two ways of thinking about magic intersect: you can do it all the time, alter parts of it to experiment, play around, etc., while at the same time it is aimed at attaining something (improved peace of mind) that many people really could use daily - again, especially right now!
What do you need to actually try doing this, though? To make this do-able for those not already regularly practicing occult ritual, all you really need is a dim room (either candle-lit or with other equivalent mood-lighting, or even just lit with a flashlight if that’s all you have) and something that plays music and has your favorite goth/industrial/metal/etc. song loaded on it ready to go - stereo, iPhone, it doesn’t matter, but music coming out of a speaker audible in a space would be preferable over headphones.
I am confident that the vast majority of folks can get those two things without currently leaving their house, which seems likely to be a significant consideration at the moment.
Two other considerations:
Timing: In broad occult principle, you can do this kind of thing at any time, but I’d say do it at night if at all possible because the aesthetic of the ritual is more favorable to that.
Clothing: I think that if you’re going to become a regular practitioner, it’s good to establish some kind of routine here, e.g. whenever I do ritual work, I have a specific pendant and a specific hood (keep your remarks about cosplaying as a certain black metal band to yourself, please ;)) that I only wear during ritual and/or other equivalently-momentous occult occasions. You don’t have to do that, though. Some people have special ritual clothing, some people go partly or fully naked, and some people do nothing in particular. Do whatever you find most comfortable. Dress for the club if you like, since you’re not gonna be doing it for any actual clubbing in the at-all near future at the rate things are going.
Lastly re: preparation: read everything I say below, to the bottom of the entry, before you start. As the ritual text below is frequently interrupted by instructions, there is a .pdf file you can download at the bottom that contains just the text alone.
My own personal ideal is to always memorize everything to be said in the ritual, hence why I keep rituals as short as possible, but as I realize that may be daunting to some, let me assure you: you can still benefit from it even if you are having to keep consulting your phone or printout for what to say next, it’s just that you’ll likely get more if you can recite the words in a reasonably confident, flowing manner, and memorization may help with that.
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Note that in what follows:
- The words in bold are to be spoken
- The words in italics indicate actions to be performed
- Anything neither bold nor italicized is my giving commentary on why we are doing this or otherwise providing clarification, nuance, etc.
OK, so you’re in your mood-lit room with your music-device ready to play some cool dark tunes. Now what?
Since the LaVeyan tradition has long influenced me, I will say, start by facing west. In my opinion, it doesn’t actually matter what direction you face if you have not already committed to any particular occult tradition, but consistency should be established over time, as that will cause certain directions and associations to “feel right,” leading to more effective ritual practice. That said, beginners may feel more confident if they simply imitate what the more-experienced ritualist is doing, and the directional advice that follows is given in that spirit. If you want to use another direction as the one that you start in and face during the majority of the ritual text (e.g. south), then just adjust everything else accordingly (e.g. when cycling through the directions, your order would then be east, north, west, ending again at south). The same applies if you want to associate the four elements with different directions than the ones I’ve listed below: just adjust things accordingly.
Note too that for this ritual, you will want your music-playing device to be within reach from wherever you are standing at your “starting” position, or as it will be referred to throughout below for the sake of simplicity, “west.”
Take a few deep breaths to clear your mind. Picture energy coming down from the moon - or the sun, if it’s daytime - and into you when you inhale, and used-up energy leaving your body as smoke through your mouth when you exhale.
This may sound very New-Agey, but this type of practice is actually widespread across many different religious and occult traditions I know of, and it does help get into the right state of mind for effective ritual performance in my experience; I thus recommend it.
When you are ready, speak the following words:
I hereby evoke the dark gods of the sinister path,
Masters of life and death, reconcilers of the flesh and the spirit!
Come forth and appear before me,
For I am a seeker of wisdom and power, fearless and proud in my pursuit of divinity!
If saying this makes you feel silly and pretentious, ignore that, because that is social conditioning getting in the way of the wonder that is magic.
Note that this ritual does not entail calling any specific dark gods, but instead evokes them by categories that are kind-of based in my general occult + religious knowledge and kind-of made up by me. A brief explanation of the symbolism involved in this:
- Archons: Archon is a word that means ruler, most widely known as evil entities that the Gnostics believed kept people trapped in the material world. Since my assumption as a Satanist is that the material world is good and you want to stay there, entities associated with it and its pleasures are then benevolent.
- Fallen Angels: The apocryphal Book of Enoch talks about fallen angels who lust for human women and therefore descend, subsequently deciding to share various kinds of forbidden knowledge with them, including sorcery. Sounds to me like those women ended up better off thanks to that bargain. So these too are allies.
- Abominations: This is a nod to Lovecraft. I use it to reference the idea that “dark” sorcery means you are willing to engage with sublime forces that “normal” people may consider dangerous. The sayings “fortune favors the bold” and “strength through adversity” are both relevant here. In my interpretation, Satanism embraces all of these ideas in its ethos, hence it being worthwhile to salute such values in the course of ritual.
- Ancient Ones: Another nod to Lovecraft. The sort of person who’s willing to do magic at all I think will often be the sort of person who believes on some level that there are mysteries behind life and the universe that may never be fully understood. This is not to espouse mumbo-jumbo for mumbo-jumbo’s sake, but rather a realistic admission that human experience and perceptions are limited, and that it might then be wise acknowledge the possibility of “something more” and to approach it with an appropriate attitude of reverence and wonder.
To continue with the summoning, though:
Turn toward the south, extend your arm in that direction, and say:
From the southern fires I call forth the Archons, rulers of this world and granters of desire
Come forth at my call: veni, veni, incendium!
The last three words are in Latin and mean basically “come forth, fire!” Similarly, the Latin that follows in the next few lines below can be translated as giving the same imperative to air, earth and water.
Ideally, the last three words should also be intoned, i.e. “sung in monotone,” one might say. (I will likely demonstrate what I mean by this on Instagram at some point.) You do not have to do this, though. In fact, you could probably even still do this without having a chant here at all, just ending the line at “Come forth at my call!”, and the ritual would still “work.”
If you want to actually feel like a sorcerer though, you really should put something in non-normal English here, so I am going to just give you the simplest options I can come up with. Latin has the advantages both of being an established language-of-use in magical tradition and of being extremely regular and phonetic in its pronunciation, i.e. it’s said the way it looks and is thus less daunting than “zodacare od zodameranu!” -type stuff.
Also worth mentioning: if I was doing this, I’d be pointing my dagger in those directions instead of only putting my arm forward, so you can use that or a wand or the like if you have one, but you seriously don’t absolutely need it; it’s just aesthetics that add to the experience’s vividness if you do have it.
Turn to the east, extend your arm in that direction, and say:
From the eastern air I call forth the Fallen Angels, knowledge-seekers and bearers of the light of wisdom
Come forth at my call: veni, veni, aether!
Turn to the north, extend your arm in that direction, and say:
From the northern earth I call forth the Abominations, revealers of harsh truths and enemies of the cowardly
Come forth at my call: veni, veni, terra!
Turn to the west, extend your arm in that direction, and say:
From the western waters I call forth the Ancient Ones, chaos-bringers and destroyers of obstacles
Come forth at my call: veni, veni, diluvium!
If you don’t like the Latin and the generic elemental invocation, you can replace it with gods of your choice or etc. Like, if you want to be all “Lovecraft cultist” I would say “Ia Shub-Niggurath” for south, “Ia Yog-Sothoth” for east, “Ia Nyalathotep” for north and “Ia Cthulhu” for west. It doesn’t really matter so long as you pick something at least vaguely in keeping with the theme of each direction, which is what I tried to do just off the top of my head now for which entity I would put where.
Lowering your arm but still facing west, continue:
Dark goods, I, [name], stand before you and request a boon:
Banish that which drains my strength and forbid it from enfeebling me
Do as I command, and I will testify to your greatness!
I turn now to the four directions to receive your blessings
Obviously put your own name in where it says [name]. If you have a non-legal name that you consider your “real” name, definitely use that instead of your legal name.
The next part is important, as it is the part of the ritual that actually “does stuff,” vs. what comes before and after is the window-dressing to make this part more effective. I’d thus suggest fairly close adherence to the directions that follow even if you are taking liberties with other parts of the ritual.
Turn to the south and say:
Archons, banish that which drains my strength, for I am the black flame that cannot be extinguished!
While still facing that direction, close your eyes and envision as vividly as you can that you are in fact the heart of a human-sized fire, and that this fire burns away any impurities in its midst until only your pure consciousness remains. In this moment, nothing in the universe matters except you, and it is OK to feel that way. (Sad that social conditioning requires this be spelled out in these terms.) You emit a heat that the things that you do not want around you are not able to approach.
Once you have basked in this feeling for whatever you feel is a sufficient period, turn to the east and continue:
Fallen Angels, banish that which drains my strength, for I am the black wind that drives my enemies before me!
Close your eyes and envision as vividly as you can that that you are the eye of a whirling storm, and the people and things you don’t want to deal with are blowing away from you in all directions. You are the calm center. You are standing on top of a cloud and everything that could drag you down is way far away below you and thus impotent in its attempts to grasp at you.
Once you have basked in this feeling for whatever you feel is a sufficient period, turn to the south and continue:
Abominations, banish that which drains my strength, for I am the immovable black stone that cannot be stained!
Close your eyes and envision as vividly as you can that you are the stone just described - a massive boulder, monolith or etc. Feel keenly the continuity between you and what is below your feet and the mass of the whole earth beyond that, persisting long before and after human beings were or will be. Since you are ageless and eternal, the trivialities that come into contact with you make no impact and are of no import, and no mundane bullshit is capable of decentering you.
Once you have basked in this feeling for whatever you feel is a sufficient period, turn to the west and continue:
Ancient Ones, banish that which drains my strength, for I am the black sea that washes away all mistakes!
Close your eyes and envision as vividly as you can that you are being immersed in a vast, calm, dark body of water. All your troubles dissolve away and fall to the infinitely-far-away bottom, leaving you clean. Realize that you have thereby regained your ‘true’ state and that it is possible to return to this place even amid the worst of difficulties, as it will always welcome you home.
For those who can’t swim and find this unappealing, use “black rain” instead and adjust the rest of the visualization accordingly re: being washed clean. I myself switch back and forth between “sea” and “rain” depending on my mood; both have felt equally efficacious to me.
When I do the visualizations myself, I actually have a different meditation position I sit in for each direction, but that is definitely needlessly complicated for the beginner-version of this ritual that I’m trying to present to you. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that if you don’t want to stand with your eyes closed, the classic kneeling or lotus -type meditation poses are fine for any/all directions.
Once you have basked in this feeling for whatever you feel is a sufficient period, open your eyes and continue, while still facing west:
Thus do I cleanse myself and my space!
Dark gods, I hereby testify to your greatness!
Press play on your device. Either stand still or sit still with your eyes closed, and listen to the entire song, beginning to end. Concentrate your senses on the song intensely the entire time. Immerse yourself in it and enjoy the experience of sharing it with the invisible beings of darkness that you have summoned forth.
This should work with any song that you both i) enjoy and ii) feel is fitting to the aesthetic of the ritual, i.e. demonic beings would also enjoy it. ;) Whether it is upbeat or ambient or has vocals or not or etc. does not matter so long as the other two criteria are enthusiastically fulfilled and you yourself feel that it is fitting. But if you want my recommendations, I would especially suggest:
- “Mystic Sabbath” by Ghost Twin, for goth / industrial fans
- “God of Forbidden Light” by Dissection, or basically anything else from the “Reinkaos” album, for fans of metal (black or otherwise, as Reinkaos is pretty accessible as black metal goes)
- Practically anything by either Wardruna or Heilung, for practically anybody
If I personally was carrying out this ritual via the method I’m describing here, I would probably use “The Wanderer” by Uada, because I would want something that invokes dark mysteries while also being peaceful (it is an instrumental acoustic piece for the most part) - others’ tastes will definitely vary. (Note: all links to music are bandcamp when possible - go buy stuff, because musicians are getting fucked with the no-shows thing right now.)
But usually when I banish in my own practice, I use burning sage as the equivalent offering at this point. Music is what I recommend here just because the majority of people I spend time around who would have any interest in a ritual of dark aesthetic, but lack “spiritual” supplies in their home at this very moment, I am confident will have access to music.
Once the song is over, turn to each of the four directions and bow your head, saying to each:
Archons, as your favored regent, I thank you
Fallen Angels, as your ardent disciple, I thank you
Abominations, as your chosen herald, I thank you
Ancient Ones, as your awakened offspring, I thank you
Facing now once again west, finish with:
Thus is the rite complete
Dark gods, go forth with all of the might of the adversary,
And then return to the shadows from whence you came!
It is done!
I actually say “Hail Satan!” instead of “It is done!” when I do stuff myself. The vast majority of rituals I run across end with something like “It is done” though, hence ending it that way here. But anyway, then you’re finished, i.e. time to put out your mood-lighting, leave the room and return to “reality.” ;)
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Magic is a matter of learning to control one’s will. The idea is that you focus intensely, then release your desire and do not dwell upon it afterward. As I explained in the previous entry about ritual magic, I think this is a psychologically-beneficial ability to develop regardless of what one may or may not believe about anything “supernatural.”
Thus, for this rite to be maximally-effective psychologically, don’t go do something counterproductive immediately afterward, like go back on the Internet to read the news, or sit around wringing your hands about whether you did it right and whether you’ll ever be a decent occultist.
Instead, go read an escapist book or watch a movie or play video games or go to bed. Some occultists also recommend grounding via connecting with other people, but of course that will largely be a Skype-only affair at the current time. I also think that suggestion is only really suitable for hardcore extroverts, vs. if you are even moderately introverted, the other things I suggested above will be better for post-ritual grounding. But of course I am biased in my judgment via being an introvert myself.
One last point worth making: I think getting good at ritual is actually a fair bit like getting good at cooking, i.e. it helps to have recipes, but you also need to experiment and eventually you’ll get better at improvising. Thus, while the “recipe” (i.e. all of the text above, without the intrusions of various instructional details) can be downloaded below, don’t feel like if you want to try this and succeed, you “need to” adhere to everything super strictly. If something doesn’t feel right (especially re: wording), then change it and give it a try.
That said, my own experience leaves me nonetheless convinced that if what I have described is attempted earnestly, there will be some benefit as far as feeling better after the ritual than you felt before.
And I like to think that counts for something considering what everyone is going through this last while and probably for a while yet to come.
Anyway, here’s the download.
Take care of yourselves.