Mishkan ha-Echad

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Origin of the Unicursal Hexagram

The Unicursal Hexagram is widely believed to have been created by Aleister Crowley, but the reality is that it is a form introduced in a paper called Polygons and Polygrams, one of seven papers given out in the 4=7 grade of the Golden Dawn. Regardie did not publish this in its entirety, so it is not surprising there is some confusion, but the nature of this symbol according to the Golden Dawn is a bit different to what many Thelemites turned it into.

As the image shows, this is not just another way to draw a standard hexagram, allowing for a single united line, but rather a symbol that denotes something entirely different. It is arguably more alchemical than planetary.

It is classified as the third form of the hexangle and is called the "pseudo-hexagram" or "irregular third form." Its description is: "Denotes the presidency of the Sun and Moon over the Four Elements, united in, and proceeding from, the Spirit."

It is not, therefore, a good replacement for the hexagrams used in the Ritual of the Hexagram, as the only planets concerned are the Sun and Moon, and the Sun is no longer the central focus point, but an opposing force to the Moon, which is its sister and twin.


Nanu Nanu said...

Is the paper Polygons and Polygrams available anywhere?

Frater Yechidah said...

Regardie published part of it in the Black Book. A more complete version can be found in his Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. Various copies from the original order and its offshoots are in collections around the world, private and public.

Yours fraternally,
Frater Yechidah.

Pat Zalewski said...

I had a chance to discuss this with Regardie in 83 and he told me he was quite surprised when discovering that it was not Crowley's invention. The origin of the symbol is thousands of years old and can be seen in rock drawings. Sitchins's work is one such example.

The symbol itself as a planetary invocations, such as what Regardie gave in his book 'Ceremonial Magick'. I actually tried it out and I think is a more easier aspect to work with and generates the same amount of power. There were also indications that I came across that some at whare ra used this fromm time to time as well. I mentioned this in my "Talismans and Evocations of the GD" book, page 133 (footnote).

The fragmented GD hexagram ritual triangle positioning, which we first see as symbols on talisman forms in the Key of Solomon papers is far far more fragmented when there is simply no need for it to be. I have used both versions over the last 20 years and noticed no difference in power or polarity balance.

Since we are working in holographic constructs, which magickal ritual tends to be, there is always plenty of wriggle room for this. So in essence, I strongly disagree with your comments about this being ineffective due to the geometric positioning of the polarity of the figure

Jason Miller, said...

Oh my God.

Thank you for this.

One project that I have been working on since last year involves the unicursal Hex and Sexual Alchemy.

This diagram give me the last piece of a puzzle I have tried to understand.

Frater Yechidah said...

Thanks for the comment, Pat.

Regardie mentioned before that he got this from Crowley, but it is not clear if it was directly or from reading some of his work. He was not aware of the original GD version until he went through the Carr P. Collins papers for Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, leading me to believe that the Hermes Temple cut it from the Polygons and Polygrams paper.

The truth is that I never said the symbol is "ineffective," but rather that it has different symbolism and thus a different intent and purpose to the standard hexagram.

We will have to agree to disagree on this.

Yours fraternally,
Frater Yechidah.

Tabatha said...

Hi Dean,

The earliest version of the figure that I've seen is found in Giordano Bruno's "Articuli adversus mathematicos" where is it called the "Figura Amoris" ("Figure of Love").

Chic and I wrote an article on the Unicursal Hexagram for Hermetic Virtues Magazine (winter 2012 issue). We also wrote an alchemical ritual using the figure for the new Edition of Regardie's "The Philosopher's Stone.


Frater Yechidah said...

Thanks for the comment, Tabatha.

I look forward to checking out your article and ritual :)

Yours fraternally,
Frater Yechidah.

Unknown said...

Place the universal at the apex. Keep the sides as they are. Place the Earth at the bottom and then the lens is formed by the the sides. The sides are each one person and there lies the paradox of focus. Be cautious when using this arrangement please. Do not try to achieve anything it will unfold its purpose to you.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Very informative.


Roberto F. Ramos

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I have not seen this hexagram used as a substitute for the planetary hexagram.

However, I've seen it used as a substitute for elemental hexagrams. I am not sure whether this is the best idea or not.

From what I understand, it's mostly used in the Star Sapphire, which is polarity based and not a planetary hexagram ritual.

It's also used in Reguli to symbolize sexual polarity of a sort. For this purpose, the sun and moon symbol would be totally appropriate.

Soror Harmony