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Consecration According to the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy

The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy is the continuation of pseudo-Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy. It’s paramount in the occult world as it weaves a vast amount of knowledge from a variety of sources into one compiled work. Published in 1559, what might its significance be for those who practice work of the late medieval period, prior to its publication?

As touched on in a previous blog, Consecration and the Priest, the role of the consecration process in the Fourth Book takes the stance that consecration is to be done by a priestly individual while not necessarily a priest. This is in alignment with a particular traditional line of solomonic magic which before this publication required a priest to fulfill certain roles. The presentation of the Fourth Book establishes a link to the lineage of these previous grimoires by presenting the Heptameron itself while also giving the option of consecrating without a priest.

And now we come to treat of the Consecrations which, men ought to make upon all instruments and things necessary to be used in this Art: and the vertue of this Consecration most chiefly consists in two things; to wit, in the power of the person consecrating, and by the vertue of the prayer by which the Consecration is made.

So let us assume you fulfill the requirements presented in the Fourth Book to be able to consecrate. You not only must possess the qualities of holiness, but also recite a prayer which contains such qualities as well.

there is required the like holiness; which either solely consisteth in the prayer it self, as, if it be by divine inspiration ordained to this purpose, such as we have in many places of the holy Bible; or that it be hereunto instituted through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the ordination of the Church.

Unless you have the power of the Holy Spirit, it is strongly advised here to use prayers out of the Bible or others written by those ordained in the church. Fortunately such collections are easily found online and in published works.

There is used also the invocation of some Divine names, with the consignation of holy Seals, and things of the like sort, which do conduce to sanctification and expiation; such as are the Sprinkling with Holy-Water, Unctions with holy Oyl [oil], and odoriferous Suffumigations appertaining to holy Worship.

Beyond the requirement of the upstanding individual and prayer endued with the holy spirit, there are a variety of additional items or things said which may be conducive to sanctification. These things however will vary based on what is being consecrated. As given later in the chapter you are told consecration of a place requires only holy water, incense and a commemorative blessing. tools of the art and documents like books require holy water, oil, incense, commemorative blessing all while candles burn. In some instances you don’t need any of these things so long as a consecrated host can be embedded into the item in some manner as the item will receive the virtues from the host.

therefore in every Consecration there is chiefly used the Benediction and Consecration of Water, Oyl, Fire, and Fumigations, used everywhere with holy Wax-lights or Lamps burning

This line gives us pause. It appears at first that it’s saying we must use holy water, oil, fire and fumigations, but after consideration it rather appears it’s simply saying every consecration uses commonly one or more of these things and if they are being used, they must first be consecrated. Note that it’s saying the benediction and consecration by water, oil, fire and incense are mostly used. So while the Fourth Book does state we will commonly use holy water, incense, fire, oil, divine names, holy seals and “things of the like sort”, we do see prescriptive examples where not all are used.

Beyond this we are told if we have any item to use that is impure that before the consecration it must be exorcised.

if any Consecration to be made of things profane, in which there is any pollution of defilement, then an exorcising and expiation of those things ought to procede the consecration. Which things being so made pure, are more apt to receive the influences of the Divine vertues.

Lastly, we are giving the final instruction,

We are also to observe, that in the end of every Consecration, after that the prayer is rightly performed, the person consecrating ought to bless the thing consecrated, by breathing out some words, with divine vertue and power of the present Consecration, with the commemoration of his vertue and authority.

So to recap a proper consecration according to the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy is this:

Regarding the requirement of the individual consecrating objects, these things must be met.

  1. It is required the individual have a “holiness of life”, “power of sanctifying” and have a “firm and undoubted faith”.
  2. It is required that the prayer of consecration have “like holiness”, “divine inspiration” such as seen in the bible and other places.

Assuming the above requirements have been met, below are requirements in the process of consecrating items or places:

  1. It is required that during any consecration wax candles or oil burners are lit.
  2. While we will see holy water, oil, fire, incense, divine names, holy seals and commemorative prayers, what is actually called for will vary based on the nature of the consecration.
    1. Consecration of a place requires the prayer of Solomon, blessing with holy water and incense, commemorating in the benediction of holy mysteries (some options are given) and invoking pertinent divine names which are to be written about the place to be consecrated.
    2. Consecration of implementation and tools of the art require blessing with holy water and incense, anointing with oil, sealing with some holy seal, blessing with prayer, and commemoration of pertinent scripture.
      1. The above requirement can be overridden if the item can contain in it a consecrated host which will grant it virtue.
  3. It is required that when holy water, oil, fire, incense or burning lamps are used, that they must first be consecrated.
  4. Optionally, or rather at the discretion of the person consecrating, if an item is profane or defiled, that it must be exorcised before the consecration.
  5. It is required that after every consecration the item is to be blessed by words commemorating its divine virtue and authority.

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