The Prayer of Refuge

Do you want a 3000-word-plus prayer for protection against all harm?  Of course you do.  The whole thing will fit comfortably on six pages, less if you use a small enough font size.

Okay, I admit that I’ve been super busy lately, and even though the Salem Folklore & Witchcraft Festival has come to an end (which you can still get the recordings through the end of 2020 for all the classes!), there’s just…so much going on, and it’s easy to get bogged down, run through, and torn up by everything.  To that end, while I have a whole bunch of nebulous ideas of things I want to write, I’m having to prioritize my time between those and the things that actually need doing around my house and job.  To that end, there’re a lot of drafts piling up in my blog box, but not a lot coming out of it.  One day, I’ll get to them.

In the meantime, one of the things I’m going through is working through my own prayerbook again, reorganizing it, taking out the things I don’t use (or don’t care to use), rewording the things I’m not yet comfortable with, and the like.  One of the prayers is…well, I did come up with it, sure.  It’s one I call, rather boringly enough, the “Prayer of Refuge”, written as a generally Abrahamic-ish monotheistic prayer appealing to God for protection from…well, just about everything.  Protection from all evil wrought upon oneself, and forgiveness for all the evil one has wrought; why not?  The prayer was inspired largely by the famous Lorica of Saint Patrick, but also was based in part on the Benedicite, the Doxology of the Seventh Firmament from the Sepher haRazim, the Sanctus prayer, and the books Al-Ikhlās., Al-Falaq, and An-Nās from the Noble Qur’ān, along with a bevy of other Islamic supplications against witchcraft and spiritual afflictions.  I…may have gotten a little carried away when enumerating everything to ward against, but hey, go big or go home, and since we’re all already home anyway…

What I ended up with is, frankly, a beast of a protective prayer.  It’s far from the worst sort, to be sure, and it’s definitely got some oomph in it.  Besides, it’s not like such lengthy charms of protection aren’t otherwise extant across any number of traditions, but even this one is pretty sizable, indeed.  However, given the other tricks up my sleeve, this is one I just don’t have a need to turn to anytime soon, except perhaps if someone needs it said for them who’s under a severe case of spiritual affliction from a wide number of sources.  To that end, because other people might need such a thing more than me—and since we all have a fair chunk of free time nowadays, for some definition of “free”—I figured I’d share this bit of my own prayerbook today.  I’ll also move it up to the Prayers menu, too, for easier reference in the future.

Although this prayer is presented below as being broken up into segments, they are all intended to be read in a single sitting in succession.  For best results, try doing this after a period of fasting and purification while also making charity for those who are oppressed.

Preliminary Invocation

In the name of God, with God, from God, unto God, and in the way of God,
for there is no strength and no power save with God,
for we come from God and return to God,
and all things are done only through God!

The Glorification of and Appeal to God

All glory, all praise, all reverence, all honor be to God,
the Lord of the Great Throne, the Father of Heaven, the Fountain of Light,
the King of all kings, the God of all gods, the Creator of all creation!
God is prior to all things, for God was when Heaven and Earth was not.
God wills, and what he wills happens, and what he does not will does not happen.
God searches hearts before they are formed, and knows thoughts before they are made.
God has power over all things, and encompasses all things in his knowledge!
God made the whole of the cosmos and all within it,
God made the Day and the Night to follow each other in turn,
God made the Sun and Moon and planets and stars subservient to his command,
God gave to Heaven its strength, to the Stars their brilliance,
to the Sun its light, to the Moon its radiance,
to the Fire its splendor, to the Water its sweetness,
to the Lightning its speed, to the Wind its swiftness,
to the Sea its depth, to the Earth its stability,
to the Mountain its height, to the Forest its lushness,
to the Rock its firmness, to the Soil its fertility,
to the Winter its cold, to the Summer its heat,
to the Angels their greatness, to the Prophets their prophecy.
God created all things and ordered all things,
God sustains all things and judges all things,
God commands all things and rules all things,
and by all that God has ordained,
I appeal to God for his mercy, his forgiveness his refuge, and his protection!

Taking Refuge from Evil

I take refuge in God, the One and Only, the First and Last, the Highest and Holiest,
He who creates all things that exist and is not created by anything created,
He who depends upon nothing yet upon whom all depend.
He who surpasses every power and excellence,
He who has neither equal nor comparison,
I take refuge in God, the Lord of Dawn, the Lord of Daybreak, the Lord of Light,
from the evil that lies waiting within creation,
from the evil of darkness when it settles,
from the evil of those who work ill upon me,
from the evil of those who wish ill upon me.
I take refuge in God, the Lord of Mankind, the King of Mankind, the God of Mankind,
from the evil of the whispering enemy and of the whispering devils,
from the evil of those who whisper in the hearts of mankind,
from the evil of those who whisper in the hearts of spirits,
from the evil of those who retreat upon the remembrance of God.
I take refuge in God!

Taking Refuge in the Glories of God

I take refuge in all the wondrous names of God!
I take refuge in the might and power of God,
I take refuge in the strength and pride of God,
I take refuge in the presence and sovereignty of God,
I take refuge in the justice and judgment of God,
I take refuge in the beginninglessness and endlessness of God,
I take refuge in the immanence and transcendence of God,
I take refuge in the assistance and security of God,
I take refuge in the protection and preservation of God,
I take refuge in the nourishment and restoration of God,
I take refuge in the resurrection and life of God,
I take refuge in the kindness and guidance of God,
I take refuge in the mercy and forgiveness of God,
I take refuge in the sight and hearing of God,
I take refuge in the awareness and knowing of God,
I take refuge in the wisdom and knowledge of God,
I take refuge in the nobility and highness of God,
I take refuge in the glory and greatness of God,
I take refuge in the beauty and majesty of God,
I take refuge in the grandeur and subtlety of God,
I take refuge in the peace and splendor of God,
I take refuge in the holiness and perfection of God,
I take refuge in the truth and light of God,
I take refuge in God!

Taking Refuge on All Sides and All Times

I take refuge in God throughout my life!
I take refuge in God on my right,
I take refuge in God on my left,
I take refuge in God above me,
I take refuge in God below me,
I take refuge in God before me,
I take refuge in God behind me,
I take refuge in God inside me,
I take refuge in God outside me,
I take refuge in God around me,
I take refuge in God when I sleep and when I awake,
I take refuge in God when I lie and when I sit,
I take refuge in God when I arise and when I stand,
I take refuge in God when I move and when I abide,
I take refuge in God when I speak and when I think,
I take refuge in God when I hear and when I see,
I take refuge in God when I eat and when I drink,
I take refuge in God at all times,
I take refuge in God on every day,
I take refuge in God in every place,
I take refuge in God with every act.
I take refuge in God!

Taking Refuge from Every Harm

I take refuge in God from all evils threatening me!
I take refuge in God from the evil of every devil and demon,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every archon and prince,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every influence and power,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every corruption and temptation,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every fear and terror,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every lie and deceit,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every delusion and hallucination,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every treason and espionage,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every snare and trap,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every gossip and smear,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every suffering and affliction,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every instability and infirmity,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every pain and plague,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every illness and injury,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every weakness and wound,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every chaos and tragedy,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every calamity and accident,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every fire and flood,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every earthquake and disaster,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every storm and gale,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every famine and drought,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every pursuit and war,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every accusation and imprisonment,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every abandonment and neglect,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every loss and impoverishment,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every creature and beast,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every spirit and ghost,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every witch and poisoner,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every smith and mage,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every alchemist and astrologer,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every priest and scholar,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every thief and brigand,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every killer and rapist,
I take refuge in God from the evil of every abuser and torturer,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that I am aware,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that I am unaware,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that I am frightened,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that I am unfrightened,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to me intentionally,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to me unintentionally,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my body,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my soul,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my spirit,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my mind,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my food,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my drink,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my possessions,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my land,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my home,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my household,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my work,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my roads,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my family,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my friends,
I take refuge in God from the evil of all that was done to my secrets,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the evil eye,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the untimely death,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the curse,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the cross,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the binding,
I take refuge in God from the evil of the whisper,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who threaten me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who hate me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who despise me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who are envious of me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who are jealous of me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who are fearful of me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who are enraged towards me,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform mischief and trickery,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform witchcraft and rituals,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform incantations and spells,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform conjuration and inscription,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform sacrifice and bloodletting,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who perform false prophecy and false blessings,
I take refuge in God from the evil of those who inspire others to evil,
I take refuge in God from every evil, from all evil, from evil itself!
I take refuge in God!

The Breaking of Evil

In the name of God, with God, from God, unto God, and in the way of God,
for there is no strength and no power save with God,
for we come from God and return to God,
and all things are done only through God!
God the Most High, God the Most Holy,
God the Most Merciful, God the Most Compassionate,
God the Almighty, God the All-Aware, God the All-knowing, God the All-Seeing!
I entrust all I am and I all I have and all I do to God,
I am safe from the evils threatening me in the refuge of God!
God judges in truth, evening the scales of justice and speaking in righteousness!
God upholds those who uphold him!
God keeps faith with those who keep faith with him!
God keeps the pure close to him in his mercy and protection,
but drives the impure away in his unconquerable wrath!
In all the Heavens God is feared, and by all the angels God is revered,
For when God raises his voice the gods themselves tremble,
and when he roars the pillars of Heaven and Earth shake.
Nothing and no one can repel the might of God,
nothing and no one can annul the commands of God!
God seizes all events that would threaten me and blocks them from occurring!
God seizes all things that would threaten me and smashes them into nothing!
God seizes all magics that would threaten me and unravels them in an instant!
God seizes all people who would threaten me and casts them out now!
God seizes all spirits who would threaten me and banishes them utterly!
God seizes all enemies who would threaten me and vanquishes them easily!
Nothing and no one is as great as God is, nothing and no one is as mighty as God is!
All the evils that threaten me cannot reach me in the protection of God!
All the evils that threaten me cannot harm me in the protection of God!
All the evils that threaten me are cut off in the protection of God!
All the evils that threaten me are destroyed in the protection of God!
I take refuge, seeking protection from the evils threatening me, in God!
I am safe from the evils threatening me in the refuge of God!

The Appeal for Forgiveness from God

And as I take refuge in God for protection from the evils threatening me,
I implore God for his forgiveness and his mercy for the evil within myself that harms myself.
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil within me,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of what I have done that I should not have done,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of what I have not done that I should have done,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my vice,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my lust,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my gluttony,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my greed,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my sloth,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my wrath,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my pride,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my apathy,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my attachment,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my addiction,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my intentions,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my neglect,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of my ignorance,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against God,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against the angels,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against the prophets,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against Heaven,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against Earth,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against creation,
I seek the forgiveness of God for the evil of all that I have committed against mankind,
I seek the forgiveness of God.

The Thanksgiving for Forgiveness

God is abundant in his forgiveness and unsurpassed in his mercy,
whose forgiveness and mercy are immeasurable, everlasting, indefatigable,
in whose forgiveness and mercy I take refuge from my own evil!
I am safe from the evil within myself that harms myself in the refuge of God!
For all that he has forgiven me and all that he has given unto me,
do I give my thanks to God, do I bless God!
All glory, all praise, all reverence, all honor be to God,
the Lord of the Great Throne, the Father of Heaven, the Fountain of Light,
the King of all kings, the God of all gods, the Creator of all creation!
In God do I take refuge, and from God do I seek mercy!

The Song of Glory

Blessed be God in his refuge, and blessed in his forgiveness and mercy!
Blessed be God in the Heavens on high, and blessed in the lands of the Earth.
Blessed be God in his might, and blessed in the beauty of his power.
Blessed be God in his glory, and blessed in the beauty of his dignity.
Blessed be God in his splendor, and blessed in the beauty of his strength.
Blessed be God in his majesty, and blessed in the beauty of his throne.
Blessed be God in the mists of brilliance, and blessed in the clouds of glory.
Blessed be God in the storehouses of snow, and blessed in the rivers of flames.
Blessed be God in the chains of fire, and blessed in the ropes of flame.
Blessed be God in the peals of thunder, and blessed in the bolts of lightning.
Blessed be God amid all the deserts, and blessed amid the waves of the sea.
Blessed be God in each generation, and blessed in all the people of every land.
Blessed be God in the heights of the Earth, and blessed in the depths of the Earth.
Blessed be God in the mouths of all people, and blessed in the song of every creature.
Blessed be God for ages and ages, and blessed for an eternity of eternities.
Blessed be God, now and forever!
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts,
Heaven and Earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!*
Blessed is he who comes, has come, and will come in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

The Concluding Invocation

In the name of God, with God, from God, unto God, and in the way of God,
for there is no strength and no power save with God,
for we come from God and return to God,
and all things are done only through God!

Three Prayers for Times of Illness and Disease

A prayer of my personal practice for the Archangel Raphael, the Healing of God, based on the Chaplet of Saint Raphael the Archangel and other Christian prayers, and which may be useful in these times.

In the name of God, the Holy, the Light, the All-Knowing, the All-Aware!
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of Hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of your glory,
and your glory is known to us through your glorious angel Raphael.
Holy, mighty, and wondrous is your angel Raphael!
O Raphael the Healer, angel restoring us to health!
O Raphael the Guide, angel giving us Light on the way!
O Raphael the Companion, angel accompanying us to joy!
Divine physician, heavenly scientist, celestial traveler,
it is upon you we call, to you we lift our hands seeking succor!
When all hope is lost, Raphael, you give us hope.
When all health is lost, Raphael, you give us health.
When all love is lost, Raphael, you give us love.
When all life is lost, Raphael, you give us life.
When all seems lost, Raphael, you turn back the tide
of darkness, of sorrow, of misery and misfortune
and restore us to a whole, hale, happy and holy life.

In every trial, holy Raphael, stand for us!
Be our advocate in Heaven at the end of days!
Be our support in every problem we face!
Be our sight in every dark night we see!
Be our healer in every illness we suffer!
Be our leader in every journey we undertake!
Be our strength in every battle we join!
May God send upon you peace, holy Raphael,
and upon your wings, may you send peace upon us all.

Amen.

A tasbīḥ-styled set of prayers using the misbaḥa, the ring of Islamic prayer beads of three sets of 33 beads.  This prayer practice is largely original, but incorporates the Jewish blessing Birkhat haGomel.

  1. Recite once: “In the name of God who lives and reigns forever.”
  2. On each of the first set of 33 beads, recite: “O cure of all diseases, lead me to health.”
  3. On the first separator, recite: “God willing, o Raphael, come swiftly to my aid.”
  4. On each of the second set of 33 beads, recite: “O terror of all demons, lead me to virtue.”
  5. On the second separator, recite: “God willing, o Raphael, come swiftly to my aid.”
  6. On each of the third set of 33 beads, recite: “O guide of all paths, lead me to victory.”
  7. Recite once: “Blessed are you, o Lord of Creation, who bestows upon me every goodness.”

And one last prayer, this one for general healing from illness based on the Noble Qur’ān (verses 21:83-84) and several Islamic supplications attributed to the Prophet Muḥammad for healing diseases.  This may be prayed for oneself, for another person at the appropriate places, ideally using their matronym (e.g. “John son of Elizabeth”), or on behalf of all who are ill and suffering from illness.

O God, my God, hear me my prayers,
o you who preserve us through all our suffering,
o you who sustain us all the days of our lives,
o you who restore us to good health and living,
o you who keep us alive until the proper time of our return to you.

In my body abides illness; only you can remove it, o Lord.
Truly have I been seized by distress and torment in my body and my soul,
but you are most merciful among all the merciful,
and in you I take refuge from all the pain and fear I suffer.

In my body abides disease; only you can provide the cure for it, o Lord.
Truly are you the best healer and keeper of health,
for without you, we have nothing and are nothing,
and you provide solutions without problems, cures without illness.

Truly are you are the cure of all cures, the key to all salvation!
Free me, release me, save me, deliver me from this suffering!
O God, cure me of all illness.
O God, cure me of all sickness.
O God, cure me of all disease.
O God, cure me of all infection.
O God, cure me of all infestation.
O God, cure me of all plague.
O God, cure me of all affliction.
O God, cure me of all pollution.
Free me, release me, save me, deliver me from this suffering!

Restore me to my health, that I may continue to give my praise to you!
Sustain me in my health, that I may continue to give my glory to you!
Preserve me in my health, that I may continue to give my worship to you!
Protect me in my health, that I may continue to give my devotion to you!

Amen.

May all I, all those with me, all those who have gone before me, all those who come after me, and all people in all parts of the world of all ages, cultures, languages, origins, faiths, practices, and habits find respite in this time of trouble, health in this time of pandemic, comfort in this time of distress, and peace in this time of turmoil.

On Prayer Beads, Devotions to Gabriel, and a New Way of Doing Just That

I think that, as of this moment…god, how many sets of prayer beads do I have in my temple room? Seven chaplets for the archangels I made myself, one rosary each for Mary the Theotokos and for Saint Cyprian of Antioch and for my ancestor shrine, a chaplet of Saint Cyprian of Antioch I designed myself, an Orthodox Christian prayer rope, a set of tiger’s eye prayer beads I made for solar work (specifically for a variant of my Consecration of the Twelve Faces of Hēlios), a set of labradorite prayer beads I made for my Holy Guardian Angel, a chaplet for Hermēs based on the work of the good Dr. Jeffrey S. Kupperman (yes, that one, the one with the book! he put out a wonderful novena rule and chaplet for Hermēs not too long ago), and a set of Islamic prayer beads (misbaḥa) for my ancestor shrine for one of my spirit guides. All told, that makes 16 different sets of prayer beads scattered throughout my temple, though admittedly I don’t use all of them; sometimes they’re there more for the shrine’s sake or the use of the spirits rather than my own. I used to have a rosewood mala for my old Buddhist stuff, but I’ve since gifted that away to a friend who can put it to better use since there’s nothing more for me to do along those lines or practices.

What? I like the convenience, customizability, and attractiveness of prayer beads. They’re useful, they’re tangible, they let the body focus on one thing and allow the mind to focus on another in a semi-autonomous way.

Well, lately, as part of my burgeoning geomantic devotional practice, I’ve been getting more interested in Islamic prayer methods. Credit where it’s due: Islamic devotional practice, prayers, and supplication frameworks are amazing. There’s a massive body of beautiful, poetic, and wonderfully specific literature-cum-prayer rules of endless supplication after supplication after supplication, and it’s at once dazzling and daunting. Now, I’m not a Muslim, nor have I intention to convert given…all the other obligations I have and some theological differences, but I cannot deny the beauty and profundity of how they approach divinity through prayer. As you might have guessed, there’s also a method of prayer with Islam’s own kind of prayer beads: the misbaḥa, also known as tasbīḥ. The word has its origins in the word subḥa, meaning “glory”, as in the phrase Subḥāna-llāh, “Glory be to God” (the recitation of which is also called Tasbīḥ, just as the recitation of the phrase Allāhu ‘akbar, “God is Great”, is called Takbīr).

Misbaḥa are easy to understand: they’re made of 99 beads, with two separators that stand out in some way to break the counting beads up into three sets of 33 beads each. The “head” or “tail” (depending on how you look at it) typically has a long, cylindrical bead, plus some other number of beads for keeping track of iterations of going through the entire thing. Other misbaḥa are made with other numbers, some as few as 11 beads or sometimes 33 broken into three sets of 11, but others used in some religious orders can have as many as a thousand beads. Some misbaḥa have a slidable marker to further mark off particular sets of beads, such as for holding one’s place or when reaching a particular count desired (e.g. 40 is a common number found in Islamic devotional repetitions).

Probably the most popular way, or at least one of the most popular and acclaimed ways, of using misbaḥa is through the method known as the Tasbīḥ Fāṭimah, the method ascribed to Fāṭimah, the daughter of the Prophet Muḥammad. The method is simple:

  1. On each of the first set of 33 beads, recite the Tasbīḥ: Subḥāna-llah (“Glory be to God”).
  2. On each of the second set of 33 beads, recite the Taḥmīd: Alḥamdu li-llāh (“Praise be to God”).
  3. On each of the third set of 33 beads, recite the Takbīr: Allāhu ‘akbar (“God is Great”).

Unlike rosaries or chaplets in the Christian tradition, note how the separators don’t have associated prayers or anything said on them; they’re just used solely as markers to switch up prayers. There are variations of this method, too, of course; some say to recite the Takbīr first followed by the Taḥmīd and the Tasbīḥ in that order, some say to recite the Takbīr 34 times instead of 33 times, some say to conclude by reciting the first part of the Shahāda (Lā ‘ilāha ‘illā-llāh, “there is no god but God”), but the general method is fundamentally the same. It is recommended for the observant to perform this devotion immediately after every compulsory prayer, but the original story behind the Prophet giving it to his daughter also recommends saying it before one retires for sleep.

Discussing this with one of my Muslim colleagues online, this is just one method of using misbaḥa; there are countless ways to use them, such as for reciting individual attributes or names of God (of which there are, of course, a conventional set of 99 in Islam), reciting particular verses of the Qur’ān over and over, and the like. The possibilities are endless, apparently.

So, of course, this got me thinking: while I, too, can use the Tasbīḥ Fāṭimah devotion, is there a way I could use this venerable tool in a way specifically geared for my own needs? Of course there is. The Tasbīḥ Fāṭimah practice is wonderful on its own, and doesn’t require one to be a Muslim to use it; after all, the supplications involved in it are pretty basic and can work for anyone with an Abrahamic, Hermetic, or just plain deist bent, and it’s a clean and straightforward practice that doesn’t involve a lot of preliminary setup, education, or training. It’s effective, I’ll absolutely grant it that. But if there are other ways to use misbaḥa, why not also try something else as well for a more specific purpose than just worship, hesychasm, and henosis?

There being three sets of 33 beads reminded me of the Chaplet of Saint Gabriel the Archangel from Catholic devotions, which is constructed with a lead chain of three beads linked to a ring of 33 beads broken into three sets of 11 beads with one separator bead between each set.

  1. Lead bead 1: “Heavenly Father, through the salutation of the Archangel Gabriel, may we honor the incarnation of your divine Son.”
  2. Lead bead 2: “Mother of our Savior, may we strive always to imitate your holy virtues and respond to our Father, ‘be it done unto me according to thy Word’.”
  3. Lead bead 3: “Archangel Gabriel, please praise our Father for the gift of his Son praying, one day, by his grace, we may all be one.”
  4. On each of the beads in each set of 11: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
  5. On each of the two separator beads: “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus.”

Simple and straightforward. It wouldn’t be a stretch to simply expand the repetitions from three sets of 11 for a total of 33 to three sets of 33 for a total of 99 (33 being a sacred number for Christians, being the number of years Jesus was alive when he was crucified). I could definitely use misbaḥa for Gabriel-based devotions, which is good given the importance of Gabriel being the angel of revelation to the prophet Daniel as well as to Elizabeth, Mary, Muḥammad, Enoch, and so many others, and given the fact that Gabriel is the angel who taught the founders of geomancy their art. However, I didn’t feel like the Catholic approach here—although totally workable—felt appropriate for either my own devotional needs or for use with the misbaḥa.

So, I scoured some verses of Scripture in which Gabriel was either directly present by name or directly being referenced from the Tanakh, the Bible, and the Qur’ān, and in the end, I developed a new method of repetition-based devotions to God through his archangel, a method I’m tentatively calling the “Crown of Gabriel”, to be used on a standard misbaḥa of 99 beads:

  1. At the beginning, recite once: “In the name of God who created me.”
  2. On of the first set of 33 beads, recite: “May God fill me with his grace.”
  3. On the first separator, recite: “God willing, teach me, o Gabriel, mighty in power, revelations to be revealed.”
  4. On each of the second set of 33 beads, recite: “May God be with me.”
  5. On the second separator, recite: “God willing, come forth, o Gabriel, to give me understanding and insight.”
  6. On each of the third set of 33 beads, recite: “Do unto me according to his word.”
  7. At the end, recite once: “My Lord is the Most Generous.”

The specific supplications come from four verses of Abrahamic scripture, one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and two from the Qur’ān, all of which are associated with Gabriel in one way or another:

  • Daniel 9:22 (the clarification of the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks):

    And he [Gabriel] informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

  • Luke 1:28—38 (the Annunciation):

    And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured [full of grace], the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

  • Qur’ān, Sūrah An-Najm, 53:1—10 (which describes the appearance of Gabriel to the prophet, with connections to the star Sirius):

    By the star when it descends, your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred, nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed, taught to him by one intense in strength, one of soundness. And he rose to [his] true form while he was in the higher [part of the] horizon. Then he approached and descended and was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer. And he revealed to His Servant what he revealed.

  • Qur’ān, Sūrah Al-`Alaq, 96:1—5 (the very first revelation to the Prophet by Gabriel):

    Recite in the name of your Lord who created, created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous, who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not.

For my own needs, I didn’t keep the exact wording from scripture as the Chaplet of Saint Gabriel does; rather, I tweaked them to be more specific to me, that God might teach, fill, and guide me through his angel in a personal way appropriate to me and me alone. Unlike the usual method of Tasbīḥ Fāṭimah and like the Chaplet of Saint Gabriel, I did include prayers for use on the separator beads; originally, I had those supplications for the separator beads and the supplications done at the first and last swapped (so that you’d start with “God willing, teach me…” and end with “God willing, come forth…”), but I felt like swapping them was better so that the whole thing could start off with an invocation of God of sorts—not the proper and usual Basmala (bi-smi-llāhi ar-raḥmāni ar-raḥīm, “in the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful”), but something that works as well and follows the same structure.

Also, what’s nice is that, even though the Crown of Gabriel is designed for a misbaḥa, it can still be used on a regular Chaplet of Saint Gabriel, reducing the number of repetitions of the main supplications from 33 to 11. As for what to recite on the three lead beads, one might add in generic prayers (the Sanctus, the Trisagion, etc.) for all three to be followed with the initial supplication of the Crown of Gabriel, or one could break out the initial supplication into three by incorporating the Basmala as well:

  1. “In the name of God, the Most Compassionate!”
  2. “In the name of God, the Most Merciful!”
  3. “In the name of God, who created me!”

And, on the joint of the chaplet and lead beads, recite the Our Father, just to keep things moving.

Up till now, my angelic devotions largely focused (and will still focus!) on the archangel Michael and my own holy guardian angel. However, I cannot deny the huge role Gabriel necessarily plays in the religions that recognize the archangels at all, as well as in the mythological origins and continued practices of geomancy. Granted that all the archangels work together in a synaxis (basically, where you call on one, you’re basically getting the whole set together no matter what), it’s clear I need to amp up my own devotional practices to Gabriel. I think the Crown of Gabriel method should suffice nicely for that, while also being a way to increase my own intuitive abilities as a diviner in the process. God willing, of course.

On Geomantic Energy Centers, and the Via Elementorum Exercise

So, the last post on my system of epodes, or bīja/mantra-like intonations, for the elements and geomantic figures, wasn’t originally going to be a post of its own.  It was originally just a small thing that was going to fall within another post on a novel technique of mine, a kind of geomantic energy work, based on a notion of geomantically-derived energy centers in the body.  That topic was brought up earlier this summer in the context of how such a system of energy centers inspired by geomancy could be developed and explored, and I’ve been thinking about how to actually begin working with the subtle energy body in a geomantic way.  The idea is that, based on the Geomantic Adam diagram from MS Arabe 2631, we can posit that there are four main energy centers in the body, each associated with the four elements: a Head center for Fire, a Throat center for Air, a Belly center for Water, and a Groin center for Earth, based on the parts of the body associated with the figures Laetitia, Rubeus, Albus, and Tristitia, which each have only one element active in their (you guessed it) so-called head, neck, belly, and feet lines.

Of course, based on the Geomantic Adam diagram, it could totally be conceived that there are 16 such energy centers in the body, one for each geomantic figure, as indicated according to the diagram.  However, of these, the four primary ones would be those corresponding to the pure-element figures Laetitia, Rubeus, Albus, and Tristitia.  However, for the sake of fullness, here’s where I’d place all such energy centers:

Figure Body Part Energy Center
Laetitia Head Center of the head behind the eyes
Rubeus Throat and neck Center of the throat
Puella Left shoulder Upper left chest between shoulder and collarbone
Puer Right shoulder Upper right chest between shoulder and collarbone
Carcer Chest and breast Center of chest cavity by the heart
Amissio Left hand and arm Middle of the palm of the left hand
Acquisitio Right hand and arm Middle of the palm of the right hand
Albus Stomach, upper belly Solar plexus, just under the sternum
Coniunctio Ribcage Sternum
Populus Back Spine between kidneys
Via Intestines, lower belly Just below navel
Tristitia Crotch and genitals Perineum
Fortuna Maior Left hip and upper leg Crease between left buttock and thigh
Fortuna Minor Right hip and upper leg Crease between right buttock and hip
Cauda Draconis Left foot and lower leg Middle of the sole of the left foot
Caput Draconis Right foot and lower leg Middle of the sole of the right foot

Now, most of these are definitely secondary to the purpose of this post, which is to demonstrate a simple energy exercise to work with the primary four energy centers, and honestly, most of these secondary centers are simply conjectural with varying degrees of confidence.  For instance, I’m totally about the placement of the centers for Amissio and Acquisitio as well as Cauda and Caput Draconis and why they’re positioned where they are.  However, for ones like Coniunctio, Carcer, or Populus, I’m much less sure about these.  There’s also the possibility of extending these to other parts of the body, say the orifices of the head or to other major organs in the body, much as there are secondary chakras that connect to the primary seven chakras distributed throughout the body.  However, all these can be explored another time in another post; for the purposes of this exercise, we’ll limit ourselves to the centers for Laetitia, Rubeus, Albus, and Tristitia.

First, before we continue with describing the energy exercise, the practitioner will need to decide on one main thing for their implementation of the exercise.  The first is a set of elemental epodes, bīja-like intonable single-syllable “mantras”.  This is what I discussed in the last post, and what I had to break out of this one, because (as can be seen), it was too big to be just thrown into another topic and really deserved being fleshed out in its own post.  After all, when dealing with such innovations, it really helps to lay out a solid theoretical foundation and expand on the whys and hows and wheres so that, when we begin to involve these new elements of rite and ritual, we can have a good understanding from the get-go about what can be used where and for what purposes.  While I give a whole bevy of possible systems of elemental epodes, there are four I would recommend most to choose from:

  • Arabic system
    • Fire:  (با)
    • Air:  (زا)
    • Water:  (دا)
    • Earth: ḥā (حا)
  • Simple Greek system
    • Fire: ba (ΒΑ)
    • Air: za (ΖΑ)
    • Water: da (ΔΑ)
    • Earth: ha (Ἁ)
  • Hybrid Greek system
    • Fire: bi (ΒΙ)
    • Air: zu (ΖΥ)
    • Water: (ΔΗ)
    • Earth: ha (Ἁ)
  • Exact Mathesis system
    • Fire: kho (ΧΟ)
    • Air: phu (ΦΥ)
    • Water: ksē (ΞΗ)
    • Earth: thō (ΘΩ)

Personally, because I have a hard time pronouncing the Arabic letter ḥāʾ and because I like using the planetary vowels to extend the system, I prefer to use the hybrid Greek set of, which I also plan on using in the future for the other geomantic figures besides the four pure elemental ones of Laetitia, Rubeus, Albus, and Tristitia.  However, for the purposes of this energy exercise, you can go with a simpler, more straightforward system if you so choose.

Beyond knowing your preferred set of elemental epodes, let’s also establish a few other things:

  • The gesture of Laetitia is a hand gesture made with the index finger pressed down into the palm and the thumb covering the index finger, with the other fingers extended.
  • The gesture of Rubeus is a hand gesture made with the middle finger pressed down into the palm and the thumb covering the index finger, with the other fingers extended.
  • The gesture of Albus is a hand gesture made with the ring finger pressed down into the palm and the thumb covering the index finger, with the other fingers extended.
  • The gesture of Tristitia is a hand gesture made with the little finger pressed down into the palm and the thumb covering the index finger, with the other fingers extended.
  • The six permutations of the Divine Name: “ΙΑΩ ΑΩΙ ΩΙΑ ΑΙΩ ΙΩΑ ΩΑΙ”.  These are just the six different ways the name ΙΑΩ (ee-ah-ough) can be spelled.  Those who prefer an Arabic flavor can pronounce these using only the three (long) vowels available in standard and classical Arabic: “ĪĀŪ ĀŪĪ ŪĪĀ ĀĪŪ ĪŪĀ ŪĀĪ” (ياو اوي ويا ايو يوا واي).
  • There’s a particular Arabic phrase that’s a famous palindrome in Islam: “RABBAKA FAKABBIR”, literally “glorify your Lord”, from the Qur’an 74:3, “‏رَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ‎” (you can see it in full vocalized Arabic and hear it cantillated here).  That it’s a palindrome here will work well for our purposes, as well as recalling the Arabic and Divine origins of geomancy.  Of course, if you wanted to Hellenicize it and make it a proper palindrome in a Greek script, I would recommend spelling it as “ΡΗΒΒΑΚΑ ΦΑΚΑΒΒΗΡ”, but this is just a small detail.

Alright!  At this point, we have a a rough set of four main energy centers in the body, a set of intonations, and a set of gestures to use.  With all those at our disposal, we’re now (FINALLY omg) able to describe the actual energetic exercise.  First, let’s try something simple, shall we?  Those who are familiar with the work of Strategic Sorcery’s Jason Miller will be familiar with his well-known primer on magic, The Sorcerer’s Secrets.  In that book, he describes a simple energy practice called the The Pillar and The Spheres, a quick, short, and easy method of getting the subtle energy body cleansed and primed for more powerful work.  I’m using that as my template for the really simple energy exercise that follows:

  1. Stand upright with good posture, with the feet shoulder-width apart.  If standing is not possible, sit in a straight-backed chair.  Relax the body, keeping good posture.  Clear the breath and empty the lungs.  If desired, perform a Pillar-like exercise at this point to clear out the central channel, such as that of Jason Miller or my own variant, the Pillar of Heaven and Earth (see this post for more information).
  2. Focus the attention on a spot in the middle of your head, behind the forehead, just somewhat above the spot between the ears and behind the eyes.  See an empty sphere at this spot.  Breathe in a hot, dry, upwards-motion, red-colored energy that fills this sphere.  Intone the epode of Fire, seeing the sphere burn brightly, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  3. Focus the attention on a spot in the middle of your throat.  See an empty sphere at this spot.  Breathe in a warm, moist, spinning, yellow-colored energy that fills this sphere.  Intone the epode of Air, seeing the sphere whip upon itself, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  4. Focus the attention on a spot at the solar plexus, in the soft spot just under the sternum of the upper abdomen.  See an empty sphere at this spot.  Breathe in a cool, wet, downwards-motion, blue-colored energy that fills this sphere.  Intone the epode of Water, seeing water fill and surround this sphere, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  5. Focus the attention on a spot at the perineum, at the base of the spine between the genitals and the anus.  See an empty sphere at this spot.  Breathe in a cold, dry, heavy and compressing, dark-colored energy that fills this sphere.  Intone the epode of Earth, seeing rock and soil crack and crystallize through this sphere, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  6. Spend a few moments relaxing, maintaining the visualization and manifestation of the four energy centers in the head, throat, belly, and perineum.

Okay, easy enough!  With or without any other preliminary work, such as a Pillar activity or some other practice, this is simple and straightforward enough, and is what I would recommend for a first-attempt by those who would want to start working with a four-primary-center subtle body system within a geomantic contexts.  After getting used to this, we can elaborate on the process a bit and start incorporating other things that we’ve already discussed.  One of the inspirations for this method is something I’ve been doing a while, the Attunement portion of my old Q.D.Sh. Ritual, except here we’re using different intonations and making use of the geomantic gestures in addition to the basic exercise template given above.

  1. Stand upright with good posture, with the feet shoulder-width apart.  If standing is not possible, sit in a straight-backed chair.  Relax the body, keeping good posture.  Clear the breath and empty the lungs.
  2. Breathe in deeply.  As you draw in breath, visualize a clear beam of pure, cool light shooting down from the infinite heavens above through the crown of your head, through the center of your body, and out from your perineum downwards, clearing out your body of all darkness.  Intone the word “RABBAKA”, exhaling all air from the lungs, visualizing and feeling the beam of light continue shooting down through you.
  3. Breathe in deeply.  Visualize a clear beam of powerful, hot light shooting up from the infinite hells below through the perineum, through the center of your body, and out from the crown of your head, stabilizing your body with fortitude.  Intone the word “FAKABBIR”, exhaling all air from the lungs, visualizing and feeling the beam of light continue shooting up through you.
  4. Focus the attention on a spot in the middle of your head, behind the forehead, just somewhat above the spot between the ears and behind the eyes.  See an empty sphere at this spot.  Lower your left hand down and out to the side and raise your right hand up and out to the side, making the gesture of Laetitia with both hands.  Breathe in a hot, dry, upwards-motion, red-colored energy that fills this sphere.  Intone the epode of Fire, seeing the sphere burn brightly, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  5. Focus the attention on a spot in the middle of your throat.  See an empty sphere at this spot.  Raise both your hands up and out to the sides, making the gesture of Rubeus with both hands.  Breathe in a warm, moist, spinning, yellow-colored energy that fills this sphere.  Intone the epode of Air, seeing the sphere whip upon itself, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  6. Focus the attention on a spot at the solar plexus, in the soft spot just under the sternum of the upper abdomen.  Lower your right hand down and out to the side and raise your left hand up and out to the side, making the gesture of Albus with both hands.  See an empty sphere at this spot.  Breathe in a cool, wet, downwards-motion, blue-colored energy that fills this sphere.  Intone the epode of Water, seeing water fill and surround this sphere, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  7. Focus the attention on a spot at the perineum, at the base of the spine between the genitals and the anus.  See an empty sphere at this spot.  Lower both your hands down and out to the sides, making the gesture of Tristitia with both hands.  Breathe in a cold, dry, heavy and compressing, dark-colored energy that fills this sphere.  Intone the epode of Earth, seeing rock and soil crack and crystallize through this sphere, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  8. Inhale deeply.  Place both hands together at the lowest point they can reach without bending over, palms pressed together.  Slowly raise them outwards and up in a large circular motion separately so that they meet again high up above your head.  Intone the first half of the permutations of the Divine Name “ΙΑΩ ΑΩΙ ΩΙΑ” while doing this, exhaling all air from the lungs.  Visualize the four centers becoming connected along a single path of light upwards from the perineum center up to the head center.
  9. Inhale deeply.  Slowly lower the hands outward and down in a large circular motion separately so that they meet again at their lowest point.  Intone the second half of the permutations of the Divine Name “ΑΙΩ ΙΩΑ ΩΑΙ” while doing this, exhaling all air from the lungs.  Visualize the four centers becoming further connected along a single path of light downwards from the head center down to the perineum center.
  10. Again focus on the perineum center.  Lower both your hands down and out to the sides, making the gesture of Tristitia with both hands.  Breathe in more Earth energy into this sphere.  Intone the epode of Earth, seeing the energy of the sphere begin to travel up and down the central energy path of the body, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  11. Again focus on the solar plexus center.  Lower your right hand down and out to the side and raise your left hand up and out to the side, making the gesture of Albus with both hands.  Breathe in more Water energy into this sphere.  Intone the epode of Water, seeing the energy of the sphere begin to travel up and down the central energy path of the body, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  12. Again focus on the throat center.  Raise both your hands up and out to the sides, making the gesture of Rubeus with both hands.  Breathe in more Air energy into this sphere.  Intone the epode of Air, seeing the energy of the sphere begin to travel up and down the central energy path of the body, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  13. Again focus on the head center.  Lower your left hand down and out to the side and raise your right hand up and out to the side, making the gesture of Laetitia with both hands.  Breathe in more Fire energy into this sphere.  Intone the epode of Fire, seeing the energy of the sphere begin to travel up and down the central energy path of the body, exhaling all air from the lungs.
  14. Breathe in deeply.  As you draw in breath, visualize a clear beam of powerful, hot light shooting up from the infinite hells below through the perineum, through the center of your body, and out from the crown of your head, connecting your energy centers and their elements to all the heavens above and fortifying them with all the hells below.  Intone the word “RABBAKA”, exhaling all air from the lungs, visualizing and feeling the beam of light continue shooting up through you.
  15. Breathe in deeply.  As you draw in breath, visualize a clear beam of pure, cool light shooting down from the infinite heavens above through the crown of your head, through the center of your body, and out from your perineum downwards, connecting your energy centers and all their elements to all the hells below and sanctifying them with all the heavens above.  Intone the word “FAKABBIR”, exhaling all air from the lungs, visualizing and feeling the beam of light continue shooting down through you.
  16. Spend a few moments relaxing, maintaining the visualization and manifestation of the four energy centers in the head, throat, belly, and perineum, most powerfully located at their respective centers but able to facilitate and flow their respective elements in a balanced and gentle way through the main column of the body and radiating outwards from there, connecting to the cosmos both above and below.

And there you have it!  The only thing left is a fancy name, isn’t it?  How about the Via Elementorum, literally “The Way of the Elements”?  After all, we are essentially making a path for the four elemental powers to radiate from in the body, and the four energy centers, when all fully activated, resemble the four single points in the figure of Via, which means the Road; in a sense, though we’re working with the four elements individually as represented by Laetitia, Rubeus, Albus, and Tristitia, when all four are added, it’s the figure Via that results, the full sum of all elements active together at once.  I would make a corresponding Arabic name, but I don’t really know Arabic; it’d probably be something like Ṭarīq al-ʿAnāṣiri (طَرِيق الْعَنَاصِرِ).  Those who know Arabic are more than welcome to correct this or suggest a better name.

With a geomantic energy exercise like this, it can serve as a foundation for more profoundly exploring the geomantic figures and how they relate to the body, allowing the body a new way to interact with the elements and channeling the powers of the figures, giving us new avenues for exploring geomantic magic, and a whole slew of other things to consider and adapt.  Who knows, this might even get me back on a regular energy work exploration routine, figuring out exactly how far I can take this novel system!  Of course, it is experimental, and modifications and refinements will likely need to be made along the way.  Still, it’s something to start with, and it could be extraordinarily useful even on its own merits.