Banishing Mathers
Banishing Mathers

Banishing Mathers

There is an old bugbear about doing banishing after you consecrate a talisman. It all comes from Samuel Mathers who wrote at the end of the Z documents section on making a talisman that you should wrap up your talisman in silk. He said that you should not perform a banishing in the room because you will discharge the talisman completely.

Those who believe that Mathers spoke with the authority of God, or his secret chiefs, claimed that this piece of information is absolutely right. They tell their students that banishing will remove all the charge from everything in the room!

Mathers was never sure if he was
Golden Dawn or King Solomon. The
Crown here is from the Greater Key

There are a number of reasons why this is rubbish. If a banishing removes the charge of objects in the room, the it means that all that consecration work you did on your tools is a pointless exercise. You put on your rose cross, lay out your lotus wand and four elemental weapons and do your banishing ritual of the pentagram and turn them into very expensive lumps of wood.
Er no. That does not happen and before you say “ah that is because you did not intend to banish those objects, I will have to point out that people that say “intention is everything” in magic usually do not play with the real stuff. What you intended is no help when the floor has turned into a perfect storm. Magic is a science. If a rule does not work then you have to find out why.
A well constructed talisman is built from the four levels of reality. It starts with a divine name, contains an archetypal on and then there is a Yetizatic one. Finally there is the physical talisman itself which is like a body for the other three levels.
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram can be used to banish the earth and lower astral levels only. Since the material basis of a weapon or talisman is simply the material object drawing a pentagram is not going to change is nature any more than you can use one to stop a speeding car.
So the danger of a lesser ritual of the pentagram has to be to the lower astral connections to the material object.
In this respect, Mathers could have a point. After doing a ritual the link you have made between the talisman, or tool, and its astral counterpart is possibly weak. Banishing early in the life of the talisman or tool could be disconnected by the ritual.
However Mathers did not think that a similar relationship, that of a 0=0 candidate and their Higher Self was also weak. After the 0=0, which is the same ritual as the Z document, the candidate is told to banish and invoke often.
So Mathers then must think that the only applies to talismans or freshly consecrated tools.
I am going to stick my neck out here and say that Mathers is wrong. True it is probably not a good idea for you to put a talisman under any pressure after creating it until it has had a chance to settle down into its new body. But the ritual of consecration should be a lot more powerful than any lesser ritual of the Pentagram. This is because the lesser ritual works by raising the spiritual level of the room to keep the astral nasties out. A connection between a physical object and its astro-spiritual form would not be uneffected. Think about it. Do you lose the connection between your Higher Self because you did a banishing ritual? True, you are a little more spiritually robust than a talisman or tool, but the idea does not make much sense.
Neither does the idea of wrapping an object in silk. Silk is a good insulator if you think that spiritual force is the same as electricity. But if that were the case, wrapping an object in silk would cut the physical body of the talisman from the spiritual or astral one. It doesn’t so therefore the whole exercise is pointless. 


  1. Naw. It has to do with the etching of symbols in the aura of the candidate or over the talisman.

    It is more like wet paint, wash it off too soon and it washes away in a mess. But after it is dried, you can wash up later and get it to shine again.


  2. Pat zalewski

    Hi Nick

    Mathers had good theory in this instance in creating the pentagram ritual but little in its practical (at the time he wrote it)use or otherwise he would not have written that. The first thing I was taught about a pentagram was to direct it to a point of concentration (where you place your thought). The operator controls the Pentagram not the other way round. The Mathers Pentagram paper is very jumbled in parts as I allude to in my Secret Inner order ritual book. Is an overall brilliant theoretical construct but structured in a difficult frame.

  3. Thanks for the post Nick.

    I think I am pretty much with Fr YShY on this.

    I was taught, rightly or wrongly, that this act of wrapping or placing in the altar before banishing was for two reasons. The first may or may not be needed depending on if the act was already part of the ceremony or not – that is wrapping the talisman mirrors the ‘robing’ or investing at the end of the ceremony of initiation. The Z has this before the end, but my training included bases from other ceremonies where it was the final act. The placing of the talisman in the altar (my preference) mirrors the placing of the new initiate in the lodge seating area reserved for them.

    The second reason was that, as you say, the Lesser pentagram effects the lower astral and etheric. The subtle connecting forms on these levels, I was taught, need to ‘set’ – normally involving 24 hours – before they are permanently constructed. Banishing may hinder this ‘setting’ process and thereby hinder the flow from the higher levels into the material basis.

    Now, I have never tested this by leaving a Talisman in the way. I have always placed the material basis very carefully in the altar prior to banishing. So really, it is still theory as I have not compared the two methods. If I do, i will let you know 🙂 Thanks.

  4. I think that was my point. That if Mathers meant the banishing would discharge it it can’t always be the case and that after a while the link would be strong enough to survive (a black handled dagger would be useless if you could not use it to banish). Waiting for the paint to dry is a good symbol of this… although the time period for the paint drying is not explained (which would suggest that Mathers had not thought of it). Also, the rule does not always seem to apply. In the consecration of the sword, for example, you use it as part of the ritual (something you could not do if the link is tenuous). The “robing” of the talisman is a good idea, only the problem is that you are using the Z documents. A robing would mirror the part where the canidate gets their sash which is before the final purification and consecration (which would be null and void if silk insulated from the astral). If you wrap up the talisman last then you are cutting off the physical from the lower astral (which is the same thing as the banishing0 My own personal take on this is that the banishing and the silk are all part of Mathers’ drama and we have probably invented reasons for it rather than question the drama. I have had talismans in the room after I banished (sticking them in the altar should not make much difference) and it didn’t change the charge. However I like the idea of a doctrine which allows the talisman a chance to work with its new body before hitting it with astral stress.

  5. I am sure that if you left it out and focused you could protect it, or something; in your magical universe, that’s all you baby! I wrap it up.

    As far as the sword goes, Mars and the Radical Intelligence has that classic energy of destruction before the next stage of healthier growth that is more in keeping with the original intention.

    Crowley makes use of this exact Martial symbolism in the Star Ruby.

    1. This is an interesting conversation and I would like to comment, if that is ok, but I am not GD. If the temple space you are using is fully integrated and tuned to the inner temple construct with guardians, there would be no need to do banishing as the inner guardians and the opening work will have tuned all invaders out adn made it invisible to lower forms. Then the talisman can ‘cook’ to its hearts content until it is ready and fully charged. Just a thought, though I do not know how this would work in GD setting. I think Nick is right in that methods can be too dogmatically adhered to and can lose their effectiveness if they are not updated to keep in line with our culture changes, flow of contact etc. Im sure it is possible to update without losing the identity and flow of a path.

      On another note, Peregrin, your new book looks very interesting and good, im glad Basil has published it. it looks like it will become a classic. Congrats!

  6. Sorry, didn’t finish that thought.

    So the sword is a similar radical energy for change as a banishing, but on a planetary level. Therefore it doesn’t “banish itself”. That’s why in another tradition, the Star Ruby is of similar use to the LRP, because it is Martial.

    As always, Nick, good topic.

  7. At first I couldn’t find the section you are referring to it. Then I saw it in “Talsimans and Sigils” (black brick, Vol IV, bk 7). Is that what you mean? There Mathers just uses the terms “banishing” but without specifying what type of banishing it is. I often think that in magic “banishing” is such a relative term – I mean the question always remains: What is it exactly that you are banishing? Of course, in relation to LBRP, it is never about banishing positive or spiritual energy, but, instead, all about banishing negative or undesirable energy. And by “negative or undesirable energy” I mean energy that is contrary or opposed to the purpose of the magical working being performed. And since the talisman would be made for a specific purpose, any general banishing performed – such as by the LBRP – would only be banishing away any interfering or opposing energies (that might be in the way), not the purpose-specific energy of the talisman itself. However, I looked around and noticed that in the Addendum to the Hexagram Ritual in the black brick (p.299 in 6th Ed), Mathers there refers to invoking and banishing a *specific* planetary energy (2nd paragraph from the end of the Addendum). For instance if you make a Talisman of Jupiter and invoke Jupiter into it, he is saying: don’t then go and banish Jupiter over it – instead, just leave the invoked Jupiter energy active. Of course, that would mean you *could* still go ahead and perform a general LBRP over it as that wouldn’t banish the Jupiter energy but only remove obstructions to the Jupiter energy. So, perhaps Mathers meant don’t do a specific banishing of an energy you have just invoked into a talisman. Of course, the problem is in the comment you refer to, Mathers just says “banishing” and so it remains ambigious as to what type of banishing (general or specific) is to be avoided.

    1. The way i have “always” seen it is that the wrapping prior to charging mirrors the blindfold of the aspirant and the wrapping after the robing.
      Thus in a sense “covering” or “isolating” it from the rest of the ritual.

      The talisman being “hidden” in the dark (the robe also being associated to Binah)is a way of saying “this,but not that” so to speak.

      Ofcourse, the talisman being physical, the idea is multilayered (implying Binah of Assiah Gashmi as well).

      When it comes to implements being used for banishing i have learn that what banishes doesent get banished (unless focused upon to get banished).

      Just like the magician doesent risk dissolving him / herself (unless deliberatly banishing some parts).

      The difference between active and passive, yin and yang, banisher and banishee (sorry).

      When shooting an arrow both the archer,bow and arrow gets affected by the force released, but not nearly as much as the target.

      Objects on the altar might be seen as part of the operation. By being placed there they become a center of attention and thus Tipharetic (even if their individual natures are not Tipharet)so even if one is not physically holding them they can be seen as a balancing factor in the ritual and “contributing”.

      Personally, to play it safe, i usually wrap and tuck away any talismans before doing a banishing. I have however used implements such as wands for banishing directly after charging them without any problems.

      Just my 5 cents.


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