The Scarlet Letter
Volume IV, Number 1 | March 1997
Column: Smoking Dog Project
By Paradoxos A
Liber 963 was first published in the supplement to Equinox I(?), and has been reprinted by Mandrake in their edition of The Rites of Eleusis, and New Falcon under the puzzling misnomer The Pathworkings of Aleister Crowley. The text includes 12 zodiacal chapters with 13 verses each, of which the first 12 verses are again attributable to the signs of the zodiac, beginning with the sign of the chapter itself. This is the indexing system used to extract the Fortifications.
The Fortification scheme for the ritual of the Mark of the Beast (Liber V vel Reguli) is the simplest to explain, as the astrological attributions are specified in Crowley's text. Since the four quarters are assigned to the fixed signs of the zodiac, the Fortifications would be the verses of those signs in the chapter of 963 correspondent to the Magician's own natal sun sign (alternatively, the sign at the magician's midheaven). (Also, O.T.O. initiates may wish to use a chart of their Lustration or their most recent initiation instead of a natal chart.)
In my own Fortified work, when I go to the North in the Mark of the Beast, I first trace the averse invoking pentagram of Air, then I pronounce the Aquarius verse of the Gemini (my sun sign) chapter of 963:
O Thou Eternal river of chaotic law, in whose depths lie locked the secrets of Creation; I swear to Thee by the primal waters of the Deep, to suck up the Firmament of Thy Chaos, and as a volcano to belch forth a Cosmos of coruscating suns.
Then I make the enterer with the name NUIT, make the sign puella, and it's off to circumambulate to the other quarters, which are treated analogously.
The Star Ruby Fortifications are complicated by the existence of two distinct versions of the ritual. Regardless of which version is used, the chapter for the Fortifications should be that of the magician's moon sign (alternatively, rising sign). If the Magick version is used, the quarters are the same as in the Mark of the Beast, and they correspond to the fixed signs accordingly. I prefer to use the version from The Book of Lies, and I attribute those quarters to the mutable signs as follows:
CHAOS —Gemini (Air) as duality, Chokmah
The one possible drawback to Fortifying these rituals is that they take longer to perform. It has been my own experience, however, that these Fortifications are also useful as “ritual calisthenics”; i.e. they can be used on occasions of unhurried practice, and the images and concepts that the magician associates with the ritual thereby will empower the ritual even on occasions when the Fortifications are not spoken.