Invoking and Banishing by the Fourth Gate - The Gates of the Elements - The Practice of Druid Magic

The Druid Magic Handbook: Ritual Magic Rooted in the Living Earth - John Michael Greer 2008

Invoking and Banishing by the Fourth Gate
The Gates of the Elements
The Practice of Druid Magic

Image This is the fourth invocation and banishing, done after you invoke and banish by air, fire, and water, and it follows the same pattern as the others.

Earth in the Druid tradition is the symbol of manifestation, the firm material basis that allows the other elemental powers to take form in the universe of our experience. In nature, it takes the shape of soil and stone, the substances that make the surface of the Earth; the realm of earth's far depths belongs to Spirit Below instead. The symbol of earth is the creative circle of spirit with a line descending downward into manifestation.

To invoke and banish earth, turn to the north. With the first two fingers of your right hand trace the symbol of earth. In the invoking mode it is traced starting from the place where the circle meets the line and going around the circle clockwise, then drawing the line downward. Visualize it in green flame, and then fill it with paler, transparent green flame. Then say words like the following: “By the great bear who guards the starry heavens, and in the great name Elen, I invoke the earth, its gods, its spirits, and its powers. May I receive the blessings of earth this day.” The goddess Elen appears in Welsh legend as a goddess of dawn and springtime, as well as patroness of the old straight trackways, older than the Romans, that still puzzle wayfarers in the British countryside. In Druid Revival lore she became the goddess of the dragon current flowing along the old tracks, and thus a powerful symbol of life and strength within the Earth. If you prefer to work with Irish deities, Boann, the Irish cow goddess, is a good choice for Earth. Christian Druids usually invoke Saint Uriel the archangel in this quarter.

When you finish the invocation, pause for a time, and concentrate on earth. Imagine the land in which you live, with whatever vegetation flourishes there growing on it. If you live in woodland country, see yourself in the forest; if you live on the plains, imagine yourself on the prairie with tall grasses bending in the wind; if you live in the desert, picture yourself amid the red rock and sagebrush. Be sure to bring in the sounds and scents of the landscape. As you picture this, feel the powers and blessings of earth flowing into you through your solar plexus. Imagine your body filled with the green light of earth, and feel yourself becoming so solid and firm that you could resist the mightiest force in the universe.

Then say, “I thank the earth for its gifts,” and trace the symbol in its banishing mode, starting from the place where the circle joins the line, tracing the circle counterclockwise, and then draw the line downward. Say words like the following: “And with the help of the powers of earth, I banish from within me and around me all unbalanced manifestations of earth. I banish them far away from me.” Concentrate on the idea that all unbalanced factors in your life are swallowed up by the Earth and buried far beneath soil and stone. Take as much time as you need on this visualization.

For the next two or three weeks, include this section in your daily practice: perform the Elemental Cross, then invoke and banish by air, then invoke and banish by fire, then invoke and banish by water, then invoke and banish by earth, then perform the Circulation of Light. Practice it until you have this phase of the ritual by heart, and can feel the Earth respond to the ritual. During the time you spend doing this, pay attention to any of the symbols of the Gate of Earth that show up in other aspects of your life. You can also work with the realm of earth by using the following methods.

Receptive Working

The living Earth beneath your feet is another reservoir of nwyfre for the Druid mage. Every spot on the Earth's surface has different magical properties, because the soil and stone underlying each place affects the nwyfre that flows up through them. The way a colored filter affects a beam of white light makes a good metaphor for this effect. In some places, the energies that rise up through the land foster human spirituality, and over the centuries, such places have become holy sites and places of pilgrimage. Other places have their own effects, and local folklore often points out places with distinctive powers.

It's useful to arrange a visit to a holy place venerated by traditional lore, or a place that is sacred to you whether or not other people recognize its power, during the time you spend working with the Fourth Gate. When you go there, pause for a time outside the sacred area to clear your mind. Enter the sacred place with the intention of learning from it and experiencing its energies, and keep your mind free of ordinary mental chatter while you're there. If circumstances permit, spend some time meditating while there, taking the place itself as the theme for the meditation. Done in this way, with intention, a visit to a sacred place can be a powerful, transforming experience.

Active Working

You can also charge stones with magical intentions in exactly the same way you charged air and water. Simply choose a stone of a convenient size and shape to carry in your pocket. Wash it with cold water, both to remove dirt and to strip away any unwanted energies that may have become attached to it in the past. Leave it out in direct sunlight for an hour or more to finish the cleansing process. Then pick up the stone and hold it in front of you by the index fingers and thumbs of both hands.

State your intention in a single sentence, phrase, or word, but concentrate on the idea that the intention flows into the stone and charges it. Then imagine that the color corresponding most closely to your intention is flowing into the stone from all over the universe, making the stone glow more and more intensely with that color. Build this imagery as strongly as possible, then release it, and place the stone in your pocket, or in a place where you spend plenty of time.

For example, if you want to improve your skills as a musician, you might define your intention by the phrase “musical skill” and the color green. Choose and clean a pebble that suits your fancy, and charge it as described above. Put the pebble in the room where you practice music most often, close to the place where you sit or stand while playing.