The Banner of the East


"If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."

Hanging upon the eastern wall of the temple is the Banner of the East, as if borne aloft by the Hosts of the Four Winds. In the temple it marks the symbolic portal of entry of the forces of Air, summoned by the sacred magician and assembled to do his or her bidding.

"Such a fire existeth, extending through the rushing of air, or even a fire formless, when cometh the image of a voice. or even a flashing light, abounding, revolving, whirling forth, crying aloud."

Depicted here in the yellow of Air and the eastern quarter, the banner is charged with the alchemical sigil of Air in the flashing color. Yellow is also the color of alchemical Mercury.

In our tradition, the east is the quarter of Air, Will, and of teaching. It is associated with Tiphareth, also colored yellow in the queen scale, and hence with the godname JHVH Eloah va Daath.

The archangel of the quarter is Raphael, Regent of Air, and angel of Key 6. He is the patron of learning and healing. He can be visualized clad in yellow and mauve, holding a staff, or caduceus, or perhaps the wand of Aesculapius. It is effective to see Raphael standing in front of the rising sun, perhaps with his robes billowing in the morning breeze.

Other denizens of symbolic east include the gold-tined stag, the unicorn, and all the gods of air, such as Shu, whose uplifted arms inspired the grade sign of Air.

The elemental beings of the East are the sylphs, and their ruler is Paralda, the melekh or angel who represents their forces at the conscious level.

Control such forces in your own nature, or in the words of the ritual, "be thou, therefore, prompt and active as the Sylphs, but avoid frivolity and caprice," and then pray



Eliphas Levy

Spirit of Life, Spirit of Wisdom whose breath giveth forth and withdraweth the form of all living things; Thou, before whom the Life of Beings is but a shadow which changeth, and a vapor which passeth; Thou who mountest upon the clouds, and who walketh upon the wings of the wind; Thou who breathest forth, and endless Space is peopled; Thou who drawest in Thy breath and all that cometh from Thee returneth unto Thee; ceaseless Movement in Eternal Stability, Be Thou eternally blessed! We praise Thee and we bless Thee in the changing Empire of created Light, or Shades, or reflections, and of Images and we aspire without cessation unto Thy immutable and imperishable brilliance. Let the Ray of Thine Intelligence and the warmth of Thy Love penetrate even unto us; then that which is volatile shall be fixed, the shadow shall be a body, the Spirit of Air shall be a soul, the dream shall be a thought. And no longer shall we be swept away by the Tempest, but we shall hold the bridles of the Winged Steeds of Dawn, and we shall direct the course of the Evening Breeze to fly before Thee. O Spirits of Spirits, O Eternal Soul of Souls, O imperishable breath of Life, O Creative Sigh, O mouth which breathest forth and withdrawest the Life of all Beings in the Flux and Reflux ebb and flow of thine Eternal Word which is the Divine Ocean of Movement and of Truth. Amen.

Prepared by Emmanuel Rose
Ó Emmanuel Rose 2001