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Performing the Kabbalistic Cross

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

What is the Kabbalistic Cross?

The Kabbalistic Cross is your first step into the Western Mystery Tradition, as well as a practice widely used in many magical systems. It's based on the Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical tradition. Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between the unchanging, eternal God—the mysterious Ein Sof—and the mortal, finite universe (God's creation).

It forms the foundation of mystical religious interpretations within Judaism and is widely used in many traditions. It can be used for many purposes but it's most common use is to ground and center your energy and aura prior to performing a ritual, spell or other magical working.

In many ways, Kabbalah can be seen as a filing system where everything in the Universe is filed and related to everything else. This system is based on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.

Tree of Life

The Kabbalah is a vast area of study and beyond to scope of this post However, we will use it's basics here.

A Brief Introduction

This is a very basic ritual, one of the very first that students learn. It utilizes the symbol of the cross, which has possessed a significance in magic that long pre-dates the Christian era. Think of it as a kind of basic map, representing the circular horizon visible from a person's point of view divided into four quarters and four cardinal directions: North, South, East & West. Over time, it came to symbolize the condition of being oriented, of knowing exactly where you are.

In the Ritual of the Kabbalistic Cross, you will visualize a cross of brilliant light shining brightly within your body. This particular cross symbolizes a kind of spiritual orientation. It symbolizes the intersection of the two primal dimensions; the dimension of Being, symbolized by the vertical line and the dimension of Action, symbolized by the horizontal line.

The vertical line of Being, which is visualized emanating from a sphere of brilliant white light floating just above the crown of your head, moving down through your body, and entering another sphere of light encircling your feet, forms a connection between the Source of All (symbolized by Kabbalists as Kether at the very top of the Tree of Life, a separate and extensive subject not covered here) and here: this place, this time in which you now find yourself (symbolized in the Kabbalah as Malkuth, the lowest sphere on the Tree of Life.)

Visualizing this line of power running vertically through your body is an expression of the truth that you are a bridge between the Upper and Lower Worlds; a conduit through which the higher spiritual energies manifest here in the material world. Through performing the Ritual of the Kabbalistic Cross, you form a conscious connection with these higher spiritual energies.

The horizontal line of Action is visualized as a line of brilliant light running from a sphere of light at your right shoulder (symbolizing Geburah on the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah) through the top of your heart center into a sphere of light at your left shoulder (symbolizing the sephira Chesed or Gedullah on the Tree of Life.) The line expresses the Truth that you are a conscious being with the power to make decisions that are based on values.

The Geburah sphere at your right shoulder symbolizes your ability to make limiting decisions (e.g., the decision to say "No!" or "I will not…"). The Gedulla/Chesed sphere at your left shoulder symbolizes your ability to make expansive (or giving) decisions (e.g., the decision to say "Yes!" or "I will…")

The Ritual of the Kabbalistic Cross is thus a magical method of gaining spiritual orientation, of affirming that you know exactly where you are spiritually and what you are going to decide to do. This is the perfect metaphysical position, the magical "High Ground."

The Kabbalistic Cross is often considered to be no more than the preamble and afterword to the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (another Kabbalistic ritual), with most people little realizing the tremendous potential of so humble a ritual. This ritual is not merely an exercise in visualization, but is both a drawing down of LVX, the sacred light, from Kether (the aforementioned ball of brilliant white light one visualizes above one's head) through the entire Middle Pillar, the center of your being, to Malkuth, out to both Gevurah and Chesed, and a circulating of said LVX through the whole of the magician's body.

The process of invoking and circulating LVX throughout the sphere of sensation energizes the whole of the Tree of Life as it exists within the magician's energetic body, circulating out stale energy and replacing it with fresh LVX, whilst simultaneously both feeding and strengthening the practitioner's energetic body.

The effect on the energetic body is similar to the combined effects of proper diet and exercise on the physical body. The influx of LVX from Kether gives the magician both the energy and the authority to perform the remainder of his rituals

It is the cumulative benefit to the energetic body of the magician that is the most significant aspect of this ritual. Frequent and faithful practice of the Kabbalistic Cross strengthens and develops the energetic body with which we are all born. In most people, the energetic body is weak and under-developed.

A healthy energetic body is not only essential to successful magickal practice, but also to psychological and spiritual health in general, and can also have a pronounced effect on one's physical health. Thus, the Kabbalistic Cross can be accurately thought of as one of the primary foundations of the Great Work of Spiritual Growth.

Performing the Ritual

Here are the simple steps of the Ritual of the Kabbalistic Cross. It may be performed anywhere, at any time you feel the need to become spiritually centered. But, for learning purposes, begin by selecting a quiet place and time. As your power of concentration increases with practice, this will become less necessary. But for now, try to eliminate interruptions and distractions as much as possible.

1. Begin by standing (or sitting, if that works best) facing toward the East, the direction of the rising sun and the dawning light. You may either close your eyes or leave them open, whichever works best for you. Visualize a glowing sphere of white light, about ten inches in diameter, forming approximately 6 inches above the top of your head. Imagine that its light is blinding, like the sun at high noon, and that you can't look directly at it without squinting.

Take time for this image to form clearly in your imagination. Raise your right hand, place the tips of your index and middle fingers into this sphere of light, pull the light downward and touch your forehead, intoning the word "Ateh," pronounced "Ah-Tay." This Hebrew word means "Thou art…" and acknowledges the Being of God.

2. Now slowly move your right hand, ring and middle fingers pointing outwards, downward from your forehead and let it point down towards your feet. Imagine that the light is moving downward with your hand, and that it continues straight down through your body till it reaches the region of your feet. (Try to imagine that your body is semi-transparent and that you can see the line of light moving down through yourself.)

Visualize another sphere of radiant white light forming around your feet to the height of your ankles, and intone the word "Malkuth," pronounced "Mal-Kuth." This Hebrew word means "The Kingdom," and the sphere at your feet symbolizes the here and now in which you find yourself. Allow this image to become clear and strong in your imagination, and let your thoughts consider that you are the bridge between the Upper and Lower Worlds, and that it is through your decisions that the Divine Light manifests here on Earth. Visualize the upright line of the Cross for perhaps 5 seconds.

3. Now raise your right hand up the beam of light to the level of your shoulders, then out to your right shoulder and let it hover a few inches away from your right shoulder. Visualize a sphere of white light, about ten inches in diameter, forming around and within your right shoulder. Allow this image to become strong and clear in your imagination.

The Geburah sphere symbolizes your power & vitality, your ability to define boundaries and defend them, your strength to resist harmful negative influences. Keeping all this in mind, touch your right hand to your right shoulder and intone the words "Ve Geburah," pronounced "Vay Gay Boo Rah" which are Hebrew for "the Power."

4. Maintaining the visualization of the three spheres, move your right hand and let it hover a few inches away from your left shoulder. Imagine that a line of light is streaming from the white sphere on your right into your left shoulder where a sphere of glowing white light forms, again about ten inches in diameter, around and within your left shoulder.

Allow this image to become clear and distinct in your mind, touch your left shoulder with your right hand, and intone the words "Ve Gedullah," pronounced "Vay Gay Doo Lah" which, in Hebrew, mean "the Glory." This sphere symbolizes your ability to be giving, loving, compassionate, and forgiving.

5. Moving your right hand to the center of your body where it is joined by your left hand, visualize the horizontal line of light moving through your chest, connecting the right and left spheres and intersecting with the vertical line of the Cross right in the center of your chest. At the point where the two lines intersect, visualize a glowing sphere of yellowish-golden light forming.

This symbolizes the center sphere that perfectly balances influences from Above and Below, and from the spheres on either side of it. See this clearly and vividly in your imagination, and watch as its light radiates from within you to surround you and illumine the room in which you stand. Intone the Hebrew words "La Olam," pronounced "Lay O Lam" which are variously translated as "unto all the ages" or "forever."

6. Conclude by clasping your hands together, as in prayer, and holding them against your chest at the place where the sphere of golden light manifests. Say the word "Amen," pronounced "Ah Mohn." This expresses your conscious decision to elevate and shift your consciousness to a Center of Perfect Spiritual Balance. 7. Stand for a while and visualize the light of the spiritually orienting Kabbalistic Cross glowing brightly within you. See the light radiate around you like a protective sphere, a Magic Circle of spiritual protection and illumination. Meditate on the symbolic significance of the ritual you have just preformed.

You are now ready to go about your business from an altered point of view. This is a perspective that will put you more closely in touch with Higher Spiritual Forces, and make you more open to their positive influence.

After Performing The Kabbalistic Cross

There are many, many versions of this basic Hermetic (Western Mystery) ritual available in books and online. Many of the online versions simply outline the steps of the ritual without explaining its inner significance, and so people perform it mechanically without a true understanding of what it's really all about. That's a shame, because the Kabbalistic Cross (with sufficient familiarity) provides a very potent ritual that clears the mind, calms the emotions, and enlightens the thoughts and decisions of the magician, as well as many other uses.

As with all magical rituals, the primary purpose of the Ritual of the Kabbalistic Cross is to tune the mind so that it can begin to pick up higher frequencies. But this beneficial result can never be attained by a person who merely imitates the motions and sounds made by the magician without any comprehension of their meaning. Nor will results come quickly even to someone who does begin with an appreciation of the inner significance of the ritual. It must be done repeatedly on a twice-daily basis, until the mind no longer has to consciously remember the steps and is thereby freed to concentrate on their Hermetic significance while engaged in the performance.

Summing Up

Teaching the mind the trick of raising itself above the material concerns which weigh it down so heavily takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Don't be discouraged if you get nothing out of the Ritual of the Kabbalistic Cross for a while. Keep at it. Meditate on it. Write down any inspirations that come to you while performing it and study them closely. Diligent efforts will be crowned with eventual success. I wish you success!

Feel free to ask questions in the comments or share any insights you have in the use of this ritual. Subscribe at the bottom of the page to get notices when there's a new post, event or whatever coming out!


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