Rituals/Autumn Equinox Rite: Babalon

From Sekhet-Maat Lodge

By Sr. Viktoria (B.K. Henderson-Winnie)


(September 22, 1999 ev)
(September 22, 2001 ev)
(September 25, 2003 ev)


Props (general)

  • Candles: 2-3 small white candles for illumination 1 each: purple, yellow, orange red, green, blue black/brown or multicolored
  • large silver or black cauldron and cover
  • clay tiles or small, flat stones
  • honey, abramelin oil, and food coloring for sigil "ink"
  • liner brushes
  • a dark colored liquor, mead, cider or the like for libation
  • Priest needs: robe, sword, shawl, wand, sandals, necklace, crown
  • Red Priestess needs: red and purple veiling, necklace of skulls, sword, decorative jewelry and other body adornment, demon-mask (optional)
  • Black Priestess needs: black robe, black veil, candlesnuff (optional)
  • White Priestess needs: white robe, white veil, book of riddles
  • incense and brazier
  • container of purified water (+ salt)
  • bell
  • gong


  1. Temple geometrics set up on 4 and 3 (1) - two concentric circles with an altar at the center point (the outer circle is marked with four stations at the cardinal directions). The inner circle is marked with three stations forming an equilateral triangle, base in the west, apex in the east. This constitutes a large circle proscribed around but not touching an equilateral triangle (the points of the triangle are approximately 3 feet inside the edge of the circle), with a single point in the center.
  2. Candles of the appropriate sephirotic color (Briatic) are placed at each station or "gate":
    1. OUTER CIRCLE:(2)
      EAST - Malkuth, Gate of Earth - black, brown, or multicolored candle. The eastern altar also holds the following: a bell, a cup, a book of riddles, a brazier and incense, and a container of (purified) salt water. Two small white candles may also be placed here for the purpose of illumination as the temple gets darker.
      NORTH - Yesod, Gate of Luna - purple
      WEST - Hod, Gate of Mercury - orange
      SOUTH - Netzach, Gate of Venus - green
      --Veil of Paroketh---
    2. INNER CIRCLE:(3)
      INTERIOR EAST - Tiphareth, Gate of Sol - yellow, amber, or gold
      NORTHWEST - Geburah, Gate of Mars - red
      SOUTHWEST - Chesed, Gate of Jupiter - blue
      --City of the Pyramids/opening of the Abyss--
      Binah, Gate of Saturn - the Grail or Cauldron of Babalon.(4) There is a cauldron on the central altar which is filled with a dark-colored wine or liquor, and contains any signs or sigils that participants may want to be placed there. The Grail is covered at the beginning of the ritual.

From here, all participants are released into the supernal triad (all three symbolically included at the central altar - Binah = the Grail/Cauldron, Chokmah = the contents of the cauldron (the sigils), Kether = The secret force which carries out the manifestation of the ideas/forms carried in the sigils (the thing that brought them into their particular forms as sigils in the first place, and the thing which will bring them into manifestation (i.e. the response) - The Will of the individual magician participating!)


Celebrants wear black or red robes. Each should bring his or her own personal chalice, and have in mind a word or mantra constructed around some question they wish to have answered, or which they would like more information about. A physical representation of that question or subject, in the form of a sigil, may also be used. In this case, the sign or sigil should be made of or inscribed upon an edible, dissolvable material (such as rice paper, sugar wafers, etc.). These items will be placed by the priestesses in the cauldron or Grail before the ritual begins, to dissolve into and be consumed with the Grail contents in the ritual.

Items should be made, however, in such a way that they sink to the bottom of the Grail (so that they are not visible to the celebrants). Another option may be to have the sign written on some type of clean, non-floating material such as a small clay tile or stone. Here it is the "ink" with which the image is written that will dissolve into the liquid. This "ink" may be made of a honey/sugar-paste and abramelin oil mixture and colored with food-coloring, and painted on with a small liner brush.

The Black and White Priestesses, prior to leading all other celebrants into the temple, collect any signs/sigils from them and place them in the central cauldron. They then stir and cover it.


  • THE PRIEST: (Chaos) wears the following robes and regalia:
    Doric or Ionic chlamys (royal robe), white with blue or purple and gold (chesed)
    red sash with sword (geburah)
    crown or wreath of oak leaves (sol)
    necklace with jewel (netzach)
    wand/scepter (hod)
    shawl (Greek himation), opalescent/violet/silver (yesod)
    sandals (malkuth)
  • THE RED PRIESTESS: (Babalon) Robed in scarlet and purple, with gold and black.(5) Wears a necklace of skulls and is girt with a sword. Heavy makeup on face and body. Some accent markings on hands and palms, around the nipples, and around waist and belly desirable.
  • THE WHITE PRIESTESS: (Aima/Life) Robed and mantled in white, with her book of questions.
  • THE BLACK PRIESTESS: (Ama/Death) Robed and mantled in black, with candlesnuff.

Both the Black and White Priestesses are veiled in semiopaque veils of black & white.(6)


I. Entering the Temple

Red Priestess stands in the West.

Priest stands concealed outside the circle (in another room or behind a curtain, out of the sight of the participants).

Participants enter temple deosil (clockwise), forming a circle along the outer perimeter of the room. The White Priestess leads and the Black Priestess follows them. Once inside, White and Black Priestesses stand in the east, flanking the eastern altar.

---GONG X1---

II. Purification

Black and White Priestesses now circumambulate the temple widdershins (counterclockwise). The White Priestess will have taken up the censer of incense and proceeds to cense the temple as they walk. The Black Priestess will have taken up the purifired water and asperges the temple in like manner. As they return to the station in the east, they will replace the water and incense on the altar.

III. Invocation

Black and White Priestesses perform Liber XXV (The Star Ruby) together, as follows:

  1. Black and White Priestesses stand back to back across the Grail altar, The White Priestess facing east and the Black Priestess facing west. Both simultaneously give the cry:

    With the accompanying gestures, they say together:

  2. The White and Black Priestesses advance to the east and west, respectively.
    The White Priestess formulates and casts the pentagram in the east, roaring
    The Black Priestess formulates and casts the pentagram in the west, hissing

    Both turn and walk deosil to the north and south.

    The White Priestess formulates and casts the pentagram in the south, bellowing
    The Black Priestess formulates and casts the pentagram in the north, saying

  3. Let both raise the paean IO PAN in the signs of N.O.X. at each quarter, moving rapidly deosil to each in turn. When they have reached the quarter from which they began the paean, both return to the central altar, this time standing on the northern and southern sides and facing inwards towards each other. Here they stand in the last sign of N.O.X., finishing the paean.

  4. The Black and White Priestesses turn to face outwards, and extending the arms in the form of a Tau-cross, say together:

  5. Both Priestesses repeat section 1 from their places, ending with the exclamation APO PANTOS KAKODAIMONES rather than beginning with it.

The two Priestesses go to the western side of the central altar, and then together walk outwards to the west where the Red Priestess is standing. They stop, still facing west, one on either side of her.

The Red Priestess steps forward through them, and followed by the Black and White Priestesses, completes three circumambulations of the temple in a widdershins spiral to her station at the center. As they walk, they form an equilateral triangle. At the center she will stand on the western side of the Grail altar, facing east.

The two other Priestesses stand opposite her across the altar. The three Priestesses cross hands, right over left (forming a triangle with anti-clockwise tendencies), and join hands so that the space between them is directly over the cauldron/Grail.

The Black Priestess pronounces the mantra-poem beginning Omari Tessala Marax:

--bell x 3--

Then, both Black and White Priestesses pronounce the mantra together, focusing on the Red Priestess.

--bell x 3--

Finally, all three Priestesses pronounce the mantra together, the Red Priestess rising into it as an invocation of Babalon.

--bell x 3--

Priestesses release hands and the Black and White Priestesses turn and walk to their stations in the East, taking their places as sentinels of the Gate of Earth. White Priestess will have picked up her "Book of Riddles" from the altar in the East, and the Black Priestess her candlesnuff.

IV. Descent and Opening of the Vortex

The White Priestess opens her book and says:
Even from the beginning have we sung into the ears of Man: Seek that End in whom is all power given.(8) For life seeks life's likeness, and in strength of joy has it ever shone forth as a beacon, this water of life; this stone of the wise; bestowing sight and strength, and length of days.
But the Way is wild and obscure, and few are not lost in that maze of myriad distraction, few endure its terrible trials. None escape the guardians of the halls in its temple. None return as they were.
Who dares the gaping jaws of Dis, when the Tower crashes around him?
Who will writhe and wrestle with the Serpent and the Lion?
Who journeys to claim the Empress' Throne?
Only the naked self may survive the journey. Who among you will go?

The Priest, pushing in(9) from outside the circle answers:
It is I that go!

Black and White Priestesses say together: Let him who seeks continue until he find.
White Priestess: When he has found
Black Priestess: He shall wonder.
White Priestess: When he has wondered
Black Priestess: He shall reign.
White Priestess: When he has reigned
Black Priestess: He shall rest.(10)

--bell x 4--

Black and White Priestesses move into their positions at the southern edge of the eastern altar. Both face south, standing about 2-3 feet apart, the Black Priestess closer to the inner edge of the circle, the White closer to the outer.

--bell x 4--

Priest walks around circle (counterclockwise) until he stands before the two Priestesses in the East. They block his way(11)


White Priestess:
Who springs, life from lifeless lain,
Whose body is ground for the cakes of grain?
None may pass but He -
I am He, the fertile Earth! I am He!
Black Priestess tears sandals off Priest, saying:
You are not the rotting flesh which entombs you!(12)


White Priestess:
Who begets endless myriad shapes of night,
Who is he, Father of Changes, Veil of Light?
None may pass but He.
I am He, the shifting Moon! I am He!
Black Priestess tears shawl from Priest's shoulders, saying:
You are neither the sexuality which enflames you nor the sum of your fickle imagination!


White Priestess:
Who has written the words of the stars, stolen fire from Heaven's Sea?
Prince of thieves, whose lies are truth's key?
None may pass but He.
I am He, artful Mercury! I am He!
Black Priestess grabs wand away from Priest, saying:
Away with your worthless puzzles! You are not the thoughts which blow through your mind.


White Priestess:
Who sparks fire in the passionate heart, stokes lovers' pain
Patron of murders and suicides, intoxicating Genius flame?
None may pass but He.
I am He, the Morning Star! I am He!
Black Priestess tears jewel from Priest's throat, saying:
Impostor! You are not the emotions in which you drown!
Priest circles in to the next gate, still traveling widdershins.

--bell x3---

All participants take one step in, closing off the outer circle(13) (now on the other side of the Veil of Paroketh) and forming a new (smaller) circle around the next triangle of altars.


White Priestess:
Who travels the Heavens, visible and invisible in His hour,
Self-renewing, giver of light and sustenance, source of life's power?
None may pass but He.
I am He, the sovereign Sun! I am He!
Black Priestess knocks crown form Priest's head, saying:
You are not this shining image, nor the sole center of the Universe!


White Priestess:
Who comes in furious clamor, wielding the fiery blade,
Who, with force of Will, hath the Earth barren laid?
None may pass but He.
Priest, drawing sword:
I am He, invincible Mars! I am He!
Black Priestess draws (open) hand over Priest's eyes, closing them. She takes his sword, sheathes it, and removes both sash and sword, saying:
You are not your dream of conquest; you are not your lust of result.


White Priestess:
Who has given the Law of Love, a kingdom of wisdom founded,
Who is He, all-providing, all-just, Master of Mercy Unbounded?
None may pass but He.
I am He, wise Jupiter! I am He!
Black Priestess removes his royal robe, saying:
You are not the clothing of your capabilities, you are not what you know to be real.

Priest circles in to the central and final altar, standing on the Eastern side of it, facing the Red Priestess. He now stands before her completely divested of all his clothing and regalia.(14)

--BELL x1--

Black and White Priestesses stand even with the altar; the Black Priestess to the Northern side, the White Priestess to the Southern side.

All participants take two steps in to surround the Priest and Priestesses at the central altar.

Three participants will pick up the (extinguished) candles from the Sol, Mars, and Jupiter gates, (the participants closest to the three candles) and move them to the three outer altars in the North, West, and South (formerly, the Luna, Mercury, and Venus gates). They will then take their places in the circle around the central altar. All lights in the temple, save the two on the eastern altar for illumination, are extinguished at this point.


Black and White Priestesses begin to whisper ---"OMARI TESSALA MARAX, etc..." when Red Priestess begins to speak, and continue softly until Priest answers final question. (NONE.)

Black and White Priestesses whisper:

Red Priestess:
I am the Whore that shakest death, and I am the holy angel of inspiration; the Great One of the Night of Time.
BABAL- ON, the "Gate of the Sun" have I been called, though I am called by a thousand names in a thousand tongues.
IAO and OAI, the Right and the Averse; all these are alike to me.(15) Mine are the Leopard, the Wolf, and the Raven(16) - all lusts, desires, drives and obsessions, for I am the End thereof. I will give thee the kingdoms of the earth, O thou who hast mastered the Kingdoms of the East and of the West. I am Apep, O thou slain one. Thou shalt slay thyself upon mine altar: I will have thy blood to drink. For I am a mighty vampire, and my children shall suck up the wine of the earth which is blood.(17)
Thinkest thou?
I, the force that have created all, am not to be despised.(18)
I, the force that have devoured all, am not to be denied.
And I will slay thee in my lust.(19)
Who are you that comes to Me?
I am that I am.
Red Priestess:
How did you come to be (here)?(20)
Through one secret, nine moons, seven gates and two veils.(21) I am weary and have traveled far. I seek the Grail.
Red Priestess:
Know this then, Traveler: as each skin is shed, still the soul travels on, each new skin more varied and beautiful than the last. What is there? Truth, Beauty, Strength and Wisdom - to be found within the Grail:
This is the blood of the saints, that they have drained All for Naught. This is the elixir of life, the miraculous stone. This is the venom of death, destroyer of illusion.
Whom does it serve?

Black and White Priestesses stop chanting abruptly at the word NONE (no matter where they are in the chant).

Red Priestess uncovers the Grail/cauldron and offers her hand to the Priest directly over its liquid surface. They join hands.

Black and White Priestesses direct everyone else to come close in and place their right hand, palm down, over part of the Grail.

Red Priestess begins chanting her word or mantra, softly whispering it under her breath and gazing fixedly at the heart of the cauldron. As she does this, the Priest and the Black and White Priestesses begin their chants and direct the other participants to do the same. All should be staring at the center of the Grail's dark, reflective surface(22) and quietly chanting their words or mantras.

All begin to slowly circle about the cauldron (deosil) with hands still placed above the surface of liquid. Participants should endeavor to constantly keep the eyes and hand projected in a straight line to the surface of the liquid in the Grail, never breaking it.

Led by the Red Priestess and Priest, the circle of chanters will begin after a few revolutions (once the center-point of the liquid surface of the cauldron is fixed solidly in the mind and gaze of all present) to move away from the center, still traveling in a deosil direction, towards the outside edges of the circle. All should be steadily gaining in speed and volume as they travel, their eyes still fixed to the heart of the Grail (at no time should this gaze be broken, if possible!). They should feel as though with their outstretched hands they are pulling open wider and wider the chasm at the center of the temple (the Grail).(23)

When all have reached a peak of speed and volume along the outermost edge of the circle (just inside the candles) for several revolutions, the Red Priestess gives the word.

Sh - B - Th - A - II!(24)

Participants now spin once widdershins on their own axes, and forcefully project themselves in the Sign of the Enterer towards the heart of the Grail, closing the eyes and sinking to the ground in the Sign of Silence.

After a short time of repose in silence, the Priest rises and approaches the eastern altar, taking from it the cup. He signals all to rise and walk in a widdershins spiral to the central altar with him. All other participants bring out their individual cups at this time.(25) Here they will scry on the surface of the wine, divining the answer to their question or information regarding the subject about which they asked.

Red Priestess rises after all are finished and paces clockwise around the outer circle, saying:
I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof ! ...It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, O man! Lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.(26)
This Path is beyond Life and Death(27)
And the end thereof is known not even unto Our Lady or to the Beast whereon She rideth; nor unto the virgin her daughter nor unto Chaos her lawful Lord; but unto the Crowned Child is it known? It is not known if it be known.(28)

All dip into the Grail with their chalices (directed by the Priest), and drain their cups.

---BELL 3 - 5 - 3 ---

Red Priestess: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
All: Love is the law, love under will.

The people move out from the center of the temple and form a circle along the outer perimeter of the room.

The Priest performs a banishing (Liber XXV, or some other).

---GONG x1---

Temple is cleared. The End.

End Notes

1. 4 and 3 = 7, the number of Netzach/Venus and Babalon. Also, the first 4 stations on the outer circle are representative of the 4 sephiroth below the veil of paroketh. Upon passing through this veil, the Priest enters the second (inner) circle to pass through the next 3 stations. These 3 are representative of the three sephiroth beyond paroketh, but before the Abyss. After passing through these, the Priest leaves the second circle and proceeds to the center. This is the final station of Binah (which is the opening of the Abyss), where the Red Priestess (Babalon) waits with the Grail. All of his movement is in a counterclockwise spiral towards the center.

2. Secondary colors and neutral blend.

3. Primary colors (the complements, or, "flashing colors " of the previous triad.)

4. This Grail or cauldron should be large enough to hold enough liquid for all the participants to drink at least one cupful.

5. The Red Priestess may also opt to wear a horrible mask - one with prominent teeth or distorted monstrous features. This mask would then be removed after the Priest answers the final question (section IV) as she uncovers the Grail and offers him her hand.

6. The object being that it obscures their faces, makes them more symbols than people. Their concealment also emphasizes the "bareness" of the Red Priestess.

7. From the Vision and the Voice, 2nd Aethyr.

8. From Liber AL vel Legis, I:25

9. The Priest, pushing in from outside is acting here as the Fool (Atu 0), the random element, unpredictable, bursting into the circle from the outside (The World, Atu XXI) in order to "become" a definite thing.

10. From The White Goddess, by Robert Graves. (p.423) Supposed Gnostic Christian adaptation of a formulaic poem originating in a cult of Herakles ("Glory of Hera"), where he is personified as the "Son of Heaven", the Sun-King.

11. The Priest here may be thought of as the Charioteer (Atu VII, the Chariot) , drawn on by the two Sphinxes (The Black and White Priestesses) through the Labyrinth. The two Priestesses can be said to represent any set of opposites, the vibration between them being the force that both draws and propels the Charioteer (the Priest - Chaos) to his goal to possess that which he already has (the Grail). Nature (the Red Priestess - Babalon) only has to indicate this to him through her final questions, and receive the result of his [successful] understanding.

12. The first four admonitions of the Black Priestess (Gates of Earth through Venus) are taken wholly or in part from an I.O.T. ritual entitled the Auto da Fe.

13. In this way, it is made apparent that there is no way out for the Priest; there is no going back once the path has been begun! - Liber CLVI (156), Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni, v. 19: "Wherefore I charge you that ye come unto me in the Beginning; for if ye take but one step in this Path, ye must arrive inevitably at the end thereof."

14. Liber Cheth, v. 7: "Now therefore that thou mayest achieve this ritual of the Holy Graal, do thou divest thyself of all thy goals."

15. Excerpted from Liber LXVI (66), vel Stellae Rubeae, v. 34-35

16. The leopard symbolizes the lust of the spirit; the wolf, the lust of the flesh; and the raven the lust of the mind.

17. Liber LXVI, v. 47-49

18. Liber LXVI, v. 63

19. Liber LXVI, v. 64

20. She is asking: "why are you here?"

21. one secret = the mystery of creation, or, of coming into being. nine moons = the nine months of the process of physical manifestation (gestation). seven gates =passage through life over time, marked by the changes of the self through significantly different states of being (i.e. birth, childhood, sexual maturity, etc.). two veils = Paroketh and the veil before the Abyss - marking two Great changes undergone by the self (initiations) in the process of its "spiritual development" (The Great Work)

22. The surface of the liquid acts as a sort of magic mirror or scrying surface for this rite. It works best if it is nearly black and slightly distorted by the vibrations from the participants' movement in the temple.

23. The effect should be that of a vortex opening up in the chamber, with the Grail and liquid in it as its central point. The opening should expand like a camera aperture as participants circle outwards, faster and faster.

24. ShBThAI = Shabbathai: "rest", cessation, stillness. The command by the Red Priestess to "empty" oneself into the Cup of Babalon. The Hebrew name describing Binah, the sphere of Saturn.

25. The "camera aperture" is being closed in to a very small, focused opening (the rim of the cauldron). The void is being closed up.

26. Liber AL vel Legis II:22

27. Cheth, v. 20

28. Cheth, v. 21

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