The Gate Initiations of Babylonian Magic

The gate initiations of Babylonian Magick are magickal retirements. You will only gain insight from such an initiation if you work hard for it. Remember that the Gates are not "grades" in the traditional sense. They are week-long intensive efforts at magickal progress. I am offering the following remarks as suggestions for how to get the most out of a week-long "retirement" while carrying on an otherwise normal life.

Begin any initiation in the first week of the lunar month. None of these initiations should end during the second half of the month, the waning moon.

The ideal setting for the initiation is complete isolation from society, with only the necessary study materials, offerings, and ritual foods at hand. I anticipate that most students will not want or be able to get complete isolation (but if you can, ignore instruction 4v and the first instruction of day 5). Anything other than complete retirement from society will therefore involve the following compromises.

For the week of your initiation, abstain from sex, alcohol, and other recreational drugs (including tobacco). Make it up to your partner or partners with extravagances in the weeks before an after your initiation. Also keep social activities to a minimum, if you cannot avoid them altogether. If you are normally gregarious at work, tell your co-workers you will be preoccupied for the next few days, and cannot socialize. Especially avoid TV and radio. A little television is the same as a little alcohol, from a magickal perspective. If your work involves knowing the news, read newspapers, but don't let your mind wander. Also, don't play recorded music. The only music should be the sound of your prayers and songs. Finally, if you are a parent, be sure only that your children are in no position to disturb you during your chosen hours of meditation.

These rules are not virtues. They are a means to an end. If you were to adopt these rules as a way of life, they would become the vices of a fanatic. In a self-initiation, you must cut out every influence that does not come from you, through you, or because of you. When the regimen is over, you must force yourself to get back to normal as quickly as you can.

EACH INITIATION will contain the following general parts:

1.A two-fold remembrance of your dedication -

  1. wear a cord of the color of the Gate around your waist: do not take it off, even for bathing.
  2. engrave or write in ball-point pen the name of God and Goddess of the Gate in cuneiform over your heart.

2. Construct a representation of the Gate as large as you can conveniently make it, or draw it on a large piece of paper in color. Place it in the direction towards which it enters the city of Babylon; put the dais and the representation of the God and Goddess on either side of the archway.

3. Daily Prayers

  1. the Hymn from Sumerian Temple Hymns to establish the dais or temple of the deity, every morning after washing (say Ninlil's instead of Enlil's for Gate 5, since Enlil's prayer in the series is too damaged).
  2. one prayer or song you have memorized (it can be your own composition), four times a day, in addition to the daily adorations to the Sun at the cardinal points and the Moon when it appears.

4. Offerings (daily, half an hour before sunset; remove old offerings one hour before sunset) -

  1. incense (censer, sticks or cones)
  2. libations (one bottle of beer or one glass of wine)
  3. fruits (any type, one or many)
  4. bread (small loaf)
  5. meat (optional); (should be fresh; choice cut or whole small animal)

5. Study -

  1. the Story attributed to the Gate; read it out loud in front of the Gate every night of the quarter before bed (except for day 5; see number 7 below), after the prayer, light your incense and pour your libation into a bowl before the recital
  2. study the temple plans of the God and Goddess in their own cities. During your offerings and recitals visualize that you are doing it in that temple; fill in all the details in your mind
  3. at least once a day for an hour or more, walk around in the Babylonian quarter or quarters associated with the Gate, along its streets, visiting its temples, shrines and other sights. Let your imagination do the work, informed by the study of the map; remember who you meet, and what you see; ask questions and find answers. For example, there are "180 shrines of Ishtar" throughout the city. Do you find any of them? If you want to make an offering at such a shrine, how do you find a grocer, florist or vendor specializing in such offerings to buy your offering? - to leave the vision, go back to the place where you started, preferably a secluded corner; when you are finished, write everything you saw, heard and did, along with all your insights, in your diary. Study the map again and mark down the location of your significant discoveries.

6. Diary -

  1. write down every dream with all the details you remember, but don't over-analyse them; write down your first impressions, and any other insight that may come during the day, but don't struggle to find an interpretation
  2. in general, keep the diary more fully than normal (at least every two hours, except when sleeping of course!); write down insights and the results of the reflections for each day

7. The Order of the Days (Meditation themes for each day)

  1. Day 1. Scrutinize your life. Humble yourself. Profess your ignorance and guilt, and think concretely about the mistakes you have made, the people you have hurt, and in what ways you have wronged and disappointed yourself; make a list of problems you would like to solve - no less than 3, and no more than 7 (but do not seek for or attempt a resolution today)
  2. Day 2. Make plans to correct the wrongs for which you are responsible; i.e. renew committments to repay debts, apologize to people you have harmed, and be more generous than normal to beggars; make sure you harbor no grudges you will not resolve
  3. Day 3. Assert that you will not be victimized; assert your will to succeed; invoke the special assistance of your Guardian Angel and your God and Goddess; begin to redress wrongs to yourself
  4. Day 4. Write a letter to the deity of the Gate asking for a fulfillment of your deepest aspirations; be specific; seal the letter and put it in front of the altar
  5. Day 5. Buy a lottery ticket for a drawn lottery - not a "scratcher" (buy only one, and even if you're already rich); don't care if you win; do a special visualization of the Story of the Gate, paraphrased to reflect a concern of your own life (that is, retell the story in modern terms); do this instead of the recital this evening
  6. Day 6. Decide what Success is: meditate concretely on what the initiation has taught you; come up with at least 3 things; write them in your diary;
  7. Day 7.Read your diary for the past week (only the past week) at sunset on the seventh day, then:
    burn your sealed letter (use tongs), singing to the God and Goddess;
    do the evening adoration;
    remove your cord and place it on the offering table in front of the altar.
    You are initiated

Disassemble the Gate and put it away, but modify the offering table and altar so that it can become part of your general spiritual life. Leave your cord on the altar permanently as a reminder of your past effort and future aspiration.

Summary of the themes of the days

  1. Fears and failings
  2. Resolutions
  3. Strength
  4. Action
  5. Application
  6. Closure
  7. Initiation

Every day pray especiallly for Wisdom about the initiation from your shedu and lamassu, your God and Goddess, and the God and Goddess of the Gate.