Posture & Gesture


Read the OAS’ presentation of ritual postures and gestures in The Ogdoadic Journal Number Five: Praxis, including photographs and further commentary:


While the exercise of rhythmic breathing signifies control of the Ruach, the postures employed in the Ogdoadic Tradition signify control of the Nephesh: this ties into the scheme of the Domus Sacrificii, or House of Sacrifice, of which the two Pillars of the Porch are Pneuma and Sarx – Breath and Body. This relationship between willed physical movements or positioning of the body and the emotional-instinctual Nephesh is in part due to the proximity, and indeed the interpenetration, of the Qabalistic worlds of Yetzirah and Assiah. While the so-called higher emotions may find their expression in the articulations of the Ruach, the more base emotions such as physical passion, anger, or sorrow are almost inseparable from their physical expressions: clenched fists, hung heads, etc.

As magicians, whether we intend to manifest our Will within the material world or raise it up in offering to the All-Highest, we must inevitably work with the plasticity of the astral light which is the medium of Yetzirah, and correspondingly the substance of our own Nephesh. By adopting specific postures, or gesticulating in a particular manner, we consciously express that Will within both of those outer and inner astral realms, and create (or contribute to) a channel for the manifestation or exaltation of those forces with which we work.



Planetary Gestures

Wand Posture Arista Korax (Luna)
Earth Posture Ave Kryphios (Mercury)
God-form Posture Cervus Miles (Venus)
Orante Leo (Sol)
Pronatio Persis (Mars)
Psi Heliodromos (Jupiter)
Tau Pater (Saturn)


The three basic postures of the Ogdoadic Tradition are as follows:

Wand Posture

The Wand Posture is a normal, well-balanced standing position. The feet are together, the shoulders are comfortably dropped back such that they are neither rigid or slouching, and the head is held erect and facing forward. The arms hang loosely at the sides with a slight curve at the elbow.

Earth Posture

The Earth Posture is a supine position in which one’s back is flat upon the ground with the legs straight and arms at the sides.

God-form Posture

The God-form Posture takes its name from the seated images of Egyptian deities. It is a sitting position in which one’s thighs are parallel to the ground, and the lower legs perpindicular to that horizontal. The legs and feet are together. The spine is held erect, but not rigidly so. The head is held straight and eyes gaze forward, while the arms hang loosely at the sides with the hands resting on the thighs, palms down. Essential for this position is a chair which allows the legs to be in the proper configuration — cushions and supports should be used if such a chair cannot be found.

An association can be traced between these three postures and the Principles of the Constellation of the Worshipped: the Wand Posture is associated with Melanotheos; the Earth Posture is associated with Leukothea; and the God-form Posture corresponds to the Agathodaimon. Thus it is that the Wand Posture is used for active magical work – indeed, the very name signifies the Great Wand or Spear which is the Ogdoadic ritual “weapon” associated with Melanotheos. The Earth Posture is one of receptivity and thus of Leukothea; its principle use in the Ogdoadic Tradition being the exercise of “Going Forth,” that is, Helionic astral projection, in which the Nephesh-substance is ejected from the astrosome in order to provide a vehicle in which the consciousness will travel. The God-form Posture can be seen as a combination of the other two, just as Agathodaimon is the solar child of Leukothea and Melanotheos; its primary use is actually mystical in nature, being the posture recommended for meditation, and for receptive “channeling” of influences coming forth from the Higher Planes (the World of Atziluth, the intermediary for which is the Adept’s Holy Guardian Angel, signified by the Agathodaimon).



There are also numerous gestures utilized in the Ogdoadic Tradition: these are used to express a particular magical force, power, action, or aspiration – but always an expression of Will. As such, all gestures are by their nature active and thus begin from the Wand Posture.


  1. Wand Posture.
  2. Arms are upraised into the Psi gesture.
  3. The wrists are brought in to cross upon the breast, right over left, fingertips touching the collarbone.
  4. The arms are lowered to form the gesture Pronatio.
  5. The arms are returned to crossing upon the breast, but left over right.
  6. The arms are opened to a gentle curve just below the horizontal, extending out from the body, the hands follow the curve and are slightly cupped inwards.

This gesture is accompanied by the intonation of the following Latin phrases at each of its points: 2. Ave lux sanctissima, 3. Sol vivens, 4. Custos mundi, 5. In corde te foveo, 6. Membris circumamictis gloria tua. The meaning of the words is “Hail, most holy light / Living sun / Guardian of the world / In my heart I hold thee / My limbs being girt about with thy glory.” The Arista is used at the end of the Setting of the Wards of Adamant, instead of the Calyx (as in the Wards of Power), as a gratulatio. The gesture Arista is itself part of the greater 3rd formula of the Clavis Rei Primae, which is reserved in the Ogdoadic Tradition for use as a formula of sublimatio in the form and power of Agathodaimon.

The word “arista” is Latin for harvest, and also has a particular reference to an ear of wheat. This is an allusion to the Eleusinian mysteries, at the conclusion of which was said to be the simple, silent, and stark presentation of an ear of wheat as symbol and token of the Regeneration.



  1. Wand Posture.
  2. The right arm is raised such that the upper arm is almost horizontal and the forearm is vertical to it, forming a sort of right angle. The palm faces forward.

A footnote on p. 23 of Mysteria Magica (3 vol. ed.) states that the Ave is employed as a salutation to the East, the place of Light, whenever any Companion has cause to pass the station of the East and is not engaged in ritual activity. The Ave may also be effectively employed while performing the Morning and Evening Solar Adorations.

Ave is a standard Latin greeting, equating to “Hail!”



  1. Wand Posture.
  2. Both hands are raised to the forehead to frame the brow in a triangle formed by the thumbs, index and middle fingers all touching. The palms face outward. The ring fingers and little fingers are parallel to the others.
  3. The hands are flung forward and slightly upward, fingers spreading apart, elbows straightening, palms still facing out.

Cervus is used in the Praesidia section of the Setting of the Wards of Power. Concerning this gesture a footnote in Paper III of Mysteria Magica says,

The Gesture by its nature causes diffusion, but does not lessen banishing force within a small area. Magical practice has established that Cervus is fully efficacious to a distance of approximately thirty feet from the operator, and thus in a working area sixty feet in diameter. Beyond this range the full astral reality of its power begins to diminish. The fortification of the circle by the method of the cervus is only possible because the projected force is diffused thereby; a concentrated projection of force would, inevitably, pierce the barrier. The circle alone will contain forces, but will provide no adequate defense.

The word “cervus” has two different, yet applicable meanings in Latin. The first is “palisade,” or a barrier composed of seperate pales or posts. The second meaning is “stag” or “deer.” At the second point of the Cervus, the fingers of the hands are spread apart and thus the resemblance to a stag’s antlers, as well as the “posts” of the palisade.


  1. Wand Posture.
  2. The arms are raised forwards such that the upper arms are approximately horizontal and the forearms raised to about 45 degrees above the horizontal. The palms face forward.
  3. The posture may then be suitably altered–so long as symmetry is maintained–so that the palms may more easily direct energy to an object (e.g. projecting upon a materium on the Bomos).
  4. The projection of energy being complete, the posture is dismissed by the crossing of the wrists upon the chest, left over right, fingertips touching the collar bone.

The Orante gesture is used almost exclusively in the Orante Formula, which is a development of the 2nd Formula of the Clavis Rei Primae that is suitable for magical projection (cf. alchemical projection) upon an appropriate materium.

The word “orante” is a Latin participle meaning “speaking,” from the verb “oro.”



  1. Wand Posture.
  2. The forearms are extended downward and slightly forward from the body while the upper arms remain at the sides. The hands are held horizontally and the closed fingertips point forward.

A footnote on p. 23 of Mysteria Magica states

The Gesture Pronatio is independently used (according to context) in invoking chthonic forces, or to link the magical purpose with an intended offering.

“Pronatio” comes from the Latin verb “prono,” or “to bend forward.”



  1. Wand Posture.
  2. The arms are to curve upwards such that the body resembles the Greek letter Ψ (Psi). The palms face up.

This gesture is used to symbolize the receptivity of Matter (the “bowl”) to Spirit (the vertical); this is the same arcanum as identified by Qabalists in the Hebrew letter Shin, representative of the action of the Ruach Elohim.

Examples of the use of this gesture can be found in the threefold deosil circumambulation known as Orthrochoros, which represents the presence of the Triune Light, and also in the Arista Plena (3rd form Clavis Rei Primae) and the simpler gesture Arista.


  1. Wand Posture.
  2. The arms are raised to the height of the shoulders, fully extended such that they are parallel to the ground so that the whole body resembles the cross-like Greek letter Τ (Tau). Palms may be either turned up or down, depending on the situation.

For instance, the palms are upturned in the Calyx to signify that one is ready to become a receptacle for the Divine Light, and they are turned down in the Invocatio of the Setting of the Wards of Power when the Archontes are being summoned to guard the circle.


The Planetary Gestures

The following sequence of seven gestures are properly within the work of the Second Hall of Ordo Astrum Sophiae (as, indeed, is all of the material from Denning & Phillips Planetary Magick). They are to be used in the context of planetary rituals when dramatic action or “prodromos” is desired prior to the main invocations of the rite. Each gesture is composed of several different points, or sub-gestures.

The names of each gesture are derived from the titles of the 7 initiatic grades of the ancient Mithraic mysteries.

Korax (Raven) – Luna

  1. Wand Posture.
  2. Medean Step: Left foot steps back, trunk turns to left comfortably. At the same time, arms are raised slightly at sides, palms turned up.
  3. Calling Luna: Arms are raised in a graceful, flowing movement until fingers meet overhead, elbows and wrist slightly bent to curve the arms. Then arms are lowered, still curved to about shoulder height, then raised, without haste, overhead as before.
  4. Taurus: The elbows are bent decisively to bring the hands down to form the Bull Sign at brow as follows: the two fists are clenched, palm towards brow the outer edges of the hands touching. The two thumbs, slightly crooked are extended to point outwards and upwards at the sides.
  5. Wand Posture.
  6. Active Repose: With fingers extended, arms are crossed on beast, right arm outside.
  7. Lunar Pronatio: Upper arms remaining close to the body the forearms are extended downwards and slightly forward. The hands are horizontal, palms downward, closed fingertips pointing forwards and thumbs extended as in “Taurus”.
  8. Wand Posture.

Kryphios (the Concealed) – Mercury

  1. Wand Posture.
  2. Priest of Babylon: Forearms are held horizontally so that hands are palm to palm in front of the solar plexus right hand palm down over left hand palm up. The fingers of both hands are closed, each hand enfolding the fingers of the other The thumbs he closely alongside the forefingers.
  3. Herald: Right foot is advanced with knee flexed. At the same time, right arm is raised forward to horizontal, left arm raised backwards to horizontal. Left heel is raised, body inclines forward in straight line with left leg.
  4. The Hidden One: Both hands are raised simultaneously to draw the hood swiftly over the face. Then, head is bowed, forearms are crossed in front of head, left arm on outside, palms forward.
  5. Wand Posture. (hood still covering face).
  6. The Revealed: Both hands simultaneously throw back hood.

Miles (Soldier) – Venus

  1. Wand Posture.
  2. Denial: Right palm is placed on left shoulder. Then, right arm, with palm now turned out sweeps vigorously around in a semicircle, upwards and over to rest extended horizontally from right shoulder palm forward.
  3. I aspire: Left hand is raised cupped, overhead with slightly flexed elbow to allow the cupped palm to take a horizontal position. The eyes follow this action of the left hand.
  4. Active Repose: Hands crossed, right over left, on breast.
  5. Dedication: The left hand is lowered in front of the body, palm down and horizontal, while the right hand signs the Sigillum Tau on the brow.
  6. Passive Repose: Hands placed on breast left over right.
  7. Victory: In one simultaneous movement, the arms are raised in the Psi position ,the head is thrown back, and the right foot is advanced to stamp once.
  8. Wand Posture.

Leo (Lion) – Sol

  1. Wand Posture.
  2. Calathus: The forearms are raised vertically in front of the chest with their undersides touching each other from elbow to wrist Maintaining this position, the two hands are bent backwards until their palms are as nearly horizontal a, possible, the fingers bent to suggest a shallow cup shape.
  3. Flamma: From this formulation, the arms are raised with an outward curving motion, until the hands curve inwards allowing fingers and thumbs to formulate a fire triangle at maximum height overhead.
  4. Catinus: The arms form the Psi posture. At the same time, the right foot steps back and the body inclines backwards, head thrown back.
  5. Ignis: Right foot is restored to normal standing position, body restored to vertical, while the hands again formulate the fire triangle but this time on breast.
  6. The Holy: Left foot is advanced, body bends forward, middle fingers touch floor in front of feet.
  7. Wand Posture.

Persis (the Persian) – Mars

  1. Wand Posture.
  2. Gradivus: In one movement step forward and left with left foot; then, in one movement step forward and right with right foot. (Feet are thus firmly planted astride).
  3. Quintus: In one movement both hands are brought up to shoulder and hung out sideways, so that arms are horizontal and the five digits of each hand are spread wide.
  4. Paratus: Upper torso is twisted to left.
  5. Anhur: Both fists being clenched meanwhile, upper torso is twisted violently to the right: as the torso is twisted to the right, the left fist is moved to the breast and the right fist is raised, right upper arm horizontally out sideways from shoulder, forearm raised vertically, as if about to hurl a spear.
  6. Wand Posture.

Heliodromos (Path of the Sun) – Jupiter

  1. Wand Posture.
  2. The Thunderer: Left arm is raised upwards and back to “hurling” position, fingers curved as if grasping a thunderbolt; at the same time right arm is raised straight forward, horizontally from shoulder, left foot stepping back.
  3. Chesed: Right arm is drawn back from above position, to rest palm on left shoulder. At the same time, left foot is brought forward to standing position beside right foot The left arm is lowered to rest horizontally across the front of the body.
  4. Kaph: Elbows to sides, both forearms am raised forward horizontally. The left hand turned palm upwards, cupped: the right hand turned palm downwards, hat with fingers straight.
  5. Wand Posture.

Pater (Father) – Saturn

  1. Wand Posture.
  2. Orante Gesture (steps 1&2).
  3. Attis: In one flowing movement, the left arm swings downwards to the left side and somewhat away from the body, palm upwards, balancing the right arm which is raised aloft and maintained with the cupped palm upwards, fingers to the back. The head meeanwhile is raised to look towards the right hand, and the right foot is advanced, toes resting lightly on the ground and heel raised, completing the balance of the entire figure. This changes smoothly to:
  4. Cybele: Right arm is brought down and forward to about horizontal. The palm is upwards, forefinger and middle finger are extended together, the third and little finger are closed but not tightly. Left palm is turned downwards, the arm raised to the horizontal but not rigid. The head turns to look along the left arm. At the same time, the right foot is brought back beside the left.
  5. Uplifting the World: Head forward, both hands sweep around slowly in incurving crescent movements to reach a symmetrical position, arms raised forward, elbows bent and pointing down, palms upwards and held on high, as if raising (for instance) a sheaf of wheat or similar offering which lies across the forearms.
  6. Wand Posture.

Comments are closed.