Friday, May 20, 2011

Grimoire For The Apprentice Wizard: Elemental Shields

One of the books I am currently reading is Grimoire For The Apprentice Wizard by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. I'm not ready to give a full review of the book, but I thought I should mention a little something about the book's elemental and cardinal correspondences.

On page 120 of the book we are instructed to place four indicators in the cardinal directions. There are four small illustrations given as suggestion. They are four shields with astrological signs and the four alchemical symbols for the elements. When I first saw these I smiled because I was already making similar shields.

After looking over Oberon's shields I was confused. He placed Water in the West and has yellow for the color of Air. Oberon has, of course, used the four colors of the four houses of Hogwarts, so some license must be allowed for the use of color. And since modern people think of green as an Earth color, it makes sense that Oberon would assign it to the element Earth.

Oberon's Shields


East



North



South



West




But now, WHAT IF we were to try and make the four given colors, four elements, and twelve signs conform to the more ancient forms of Western Magic? This is the exercise at hand.

First we must note the attribution of the elements to the four cardinal directions that most people use today. The assignment of the elements to the quarters as used by the Golden Dawn, Oberon, and many Wiccans, can be traced to Eliphaz Levi's Transcendental Magic.

Since Eliphas Levi is not a real ancient source, maybe we should see what our GoTo man, Agrippa, has to say.

Agrippa's Shields


East



North



South



West




As you can see, Agrippa has Fire in the East, Water in the North, Air in the West and Earth to the South. I have to say I didn't see that coming. As for the colors, I have assigned the Hogwarts colors that I thought Agrippa would approve.

Looking at Agrippa's shields I wonder what he was thinking. Was his young brain just overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information he was exposed to? Did he just make a simple error? The world may never know.

How about those Rosicrucians and Alchemists (those guys that came before the Golden Dawn)? Should we make some shields representing their school of thought? Why not!

George Ripley's key as reprinted in Elias Ashmole's "Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum" looks like this:


As you can see, Ripley has assigned the elements and astrological signs to the four cardinal directions. All we have to do is assign the colors of the Houses of Hogwarts. And here they are...

Ripley's Shields



East



North



South



West




Of the three sets of shields produced so far, these shields probably conform most to the ancient arts of magic and alchemy. To make the shields more accurate, they should probably be red, yellow, black, and white. But then we wouldn't be sticking to the Harry Potter theme.

The assigning of green to Air is supported by the majority of sources that are more than 500 years old. If this assignment confuses you, just stop and imagine each shield represents a season. Moving clockwise from the spring Air in the East to the heat of summer in the South and then on through the dryness of autumn and wetness of winter. Also note the symmetry of the elemental symbols.

With this I conclude the exercise.


Resources:
Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum 
 Transcendental Magic
Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy
Wikipedia Entry about Hogwarts
Oberon's Grey School

Lemegeton:


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