Assumption of Godform

by Mark Stavish, M.A.

Published by kind permission of Mark Stavish of the Institute for Hermetic Studies

All Rights Reserved. Copyright ©  Mark Stavish, M.A. 13 April 1998

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The technique known as Assumption of the Godform is among the most impressive, as well as challenging techniques in esotericism. A careful study of a chosen pantheon in depth is often required, along with the willingness to spend a great deal of time in extended meditation and devotion each of the pantheon's deities. Yet, if done carefully and in a progressive and step-by-step manner, Assumption of the Godform can offer practical occultists insights into the depth and power of ancient cults, practices, and ideas that simply reading about them can not.


Background on the Technique

“Thing of a place and thou are there. Think of a thing, and thou are it.

The fundamental idea behind “Assumption of the Godform is that within each of us there are power that lie in potential for awakening, and that by identifying ourselves with those idealized expressions of those power from ancient times, in the form of ‘gods', we can awaken through resonance, similar powers and wisdom within our own psyche.

The multitude of deities, gods, and heroes of ancient mythologies represent the various means of expressing the highest human ideals of those time. Surprisingly, they also seem to do the same for modern practitioners as well, in that the Western world lacks a cohesive and comprehensive modern mythology that answer life's questions in the same fashion as those of Greece or Egypt.

Modern mythologies, such as Star Wars or Star Trek, exert a strong influence over our collective psyche, but lack the coherent veneration, sacred status, or social-political position of the ancient cults. Modern churches, as survivors of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, also lack any appreciation for the techniques of direct experience, although some methods have managed to survive in Roman Catholicism, and some minority Protestant sects. In short, if we are to have a technique that offers us direct experience of an ideal in our lives, a veritable means of incarnating an aspect of deity, then we must turn our attention to the ancient cults for some guidance.


Variations on the Technique

Assumption of the Godform as a practical technique exists on at least three different levels. The first level of the practice is the easiest, and consists of little more than sitting in a chair and imagining that you are your chosen deity - Thoth, Ptah, Jesus, etc. This is fundamental to success in the advanced levels, and it is suggested that this practice be undertaken until compietancy and familiarity with the practice is developed. Much in the same way we move from simple to complex assumptions when going, from minerals, to plants, to animals, and finally humans, in the previous technique.


On the second level, it is important to study the deity you've chosen, in fact, you might want to study the entire pantheon to some degree. When picking a godform, it is not uncommon to pick one for each of the planetary powers, and when possible, have them come from the same pantheon. In many instances, the Egyptian gods and goddesses are suggested for several reasons. One, they have been, and are still in use among esotericists, and as such, have an inherent power that makes success easier. Second, they are abstract - neither too human, as the Greek deities, yet, not too unattainable as others.

When this is done, and you've picked the god you wish to assume, and have studied its appearance, gestures, and mannerism, you begin to build a small likeness of it in your heart. One you feel comfortable with the image you've built, you may begin to ‘grow' the image until it almost fills your being. Stay at this level for some time.

According to Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Assumption of the Godform can create a tremendous amount of pressure on your endocrine system, presumably as it stimulates the psychic centers on a very physical level, and should be undertaken slowly and with patience so as to not create psychic or physical imbalances.[1]


Angel Fire - Andrew Gonzalez

The Next Level

In the next level, you grow the god within, and allow it to expand beyond your body, growing to immense height. You may want to also sense it merging, or ‘clicking' with it corresponding image in the cosmos. That is, your god grows to meet or become one with its exact corresponding image in the cosmos. Like to mirror images becoming one.

In Liber O Crowley describes the practice of Assumption using Qabalistic Divine Names. The following description is taken from the PON Qabala Course.[2]

According to the lesson, there are three fundamental techniques in Western magical-qabalistic ritual:

  1. Rituals of invocation and evocation.

  2. Vibration and vocalization of Divine Names.

  3. Identification of the operator with a chosen deific form.

Of which, “The mastery of these three points leads ipso facto to the mastery of ritual, either in personal practice (solo, as it were) or in a group (an orchestra, as it were). [3]

After performing a banishing pentagram ritual, and then, perform an invoking pentagram ritual to first cleans, and then stabilize the area of working.

The technique assumes a familiarity with the gods of Egypt, or some other chosen pantheon. However, for reasons states, as well as being seen as the most ‘magical', Egyptian deities are preferred.

After preparing your oratory ritualistically, sit in a chair in the “Pharonic or “Egyptian God posture, or with feet flat on the floor, palms down on thighs, and back straight.

Imagine that the god you have chosen envelopes your entire being, slightly larger than you, and that you are in complete identification with it. Do not rush this part, but tale your time before proceeding to the next step.

Once identification is established, stand up, extend arms to your sides, and breathe in deeply through your nostrils, imagining that the name of the god is being inhaled in flaming white light. Let the name descend to your lungs, heart, solar plexus, abdomen, genitals, and feet.

When it touches your feet, quickly place your left foot forward (about one foot), while thrusting your body and hands forward (at eye level), into the posture of “the Enter or of the god Horus. As this is done, image the name ascending with force, power, and brilliance, from your feet while exhaling out of your nostrils.

Feel as though your voice carries the Name to the edges of the Universe.

Pause for a moment, and them place your left foot besides the right one, and place your left index finger on your lips, so that you find yourself in the position of Harpocrates - the god of Silence.

Success is hard to describe, but a definite sensation will be felt. If a single vocalization exhausts you, it is considered a sign that it has worked. A sensation of intense heat, onset of sweating, and possibly even trouble remaining standing will occur..

If you hear the name of the god resounding, “as if carried off by a thousand thunders; this sound will seem to come from an enormous voice coming from the whole universe and not from him is also considered a sign of efficiency.

The more time it takes to return to normal awareness, the better the experiment.

Other modern Golden Dawn authorities suggest inscribing the name, and/or sigil of the entity in your heart prior to the vibration of its name. Then to formulate the image in the “East' of the temple area you are working in, and to move towards the image and into it, with your back towards the ‘East' and facing the ‘West'.[4]



Golden Dawn-West Palm Beach, Florida

The Assumption of Harpocrates

The first and most important of the godforms used in Assumption in the Golden Dawn is that of Harpocrates - the son of Osiris, and Lord of Matter. Harpocrates is “the god who is the cause of all generation, of all nature, and of all the powers of the elements' and as such he ‘precedes all things and comprehends all things in himself.'[5]

After having immersed yourself in the imagery and symbolism of Harpocrates, begin your experiment with a brief period of relaxation. You may, if you desire prepare your working area with a ritual, such as the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram, or simply imagine yourself surrounded by a brilliant sphere of blueish-white light.

Then, imagine Harpocrates emerging from the primordial darkness, on a lotus flower. When the image is real to you, step forward, and assume his classical pose, of the left foot about six inches in front of the right, and raise your right forefinger to you mouth in the sign of silence. Imagine, feel, that you are becoming Harpocrates. Then vibrate his name - Hoor-po-krat-ist, while you imagine yourself emerging from the primordial waters of creation.

This visualization can also be made more potent by employing the following affirmation:

“Hoor-po-krat-ist, Thou Lord of the Silence. Hoor-po-krat-ist, Lord of the Sacred Lotus, O Thou Hoor-po-krat-ist (pause and contemplate the force invoked), Thou that standest in victory on the heads of the infernal dwellers of the waters wherefrom all things were created, Thee, Thee, I invoke, by the name of Eheieh and the power of Agla.

Behold! He is in me, and I in him. Mine is the lotus as I rise as Harpocrates from the firmament of waters…For I am Hoor-po-krat-ist, the Lotus throned Lord of Silence…I am Ra enshrouded, hephra unmanifest to man. [6]

If you are successful, a period of bliss, and extreme elevation may be experienced.


The Sign of the Enterer - Steffi Grant  

Divine Names

“A rose by another name…

It is often stated that the Egyptians had two names for their gods: one public and one private. It was these private names of the gods that gave the priesthood of Egypt power over them, and could invoke them to visible appearance in their temples. According to tradition, if you know the ‘name' of a god, deity, person, or thing, you can control or influence it.

So then, what is in a name? Roche de Coppens states:

“Names are symbols and psychic media which convey and elicit the various units of human consciousness we call intuitions, thoughts, feelings, and vital energies. As such, Names are the true units of human consciousness, acting as streams of focused thoughts, emotions, and “bundles of energy. They are the mental lenses that focus out whole attention upon one aspect of reality, one power, or one being. Names also function as catalysts to awaken, invoke, and evoke certain energies and states of consciousness in the Psyche. In short, they are the psycho-spiritual means at our disposal to invade a certain Presence and induce a certain state of consciousness by focusing our awareness. Names are the intellectual tools by which we can recreate in ourselves an image or facsimile of that which is without, or below, or above our consciousness… [7]

Esoterically speaking, a Name is the means by which we can know something, by becoming its temporary channel and by recreating it or allowing it to express in our consciousness and in our being. [8]



Synthetic Approach

The following technique is a bullet point synthesis of the above techniques, so as at avail ourselves of the various ‘tricks' used by the various authorities in the technique.

  1. Perform a pentagram, or such ritual, to prepare your area of working.

  2. If suitable, perform an appropriate hexagram ritual.

  3. Offer an oration, of your construction, or a classical one, such as the Orphic Hymns, or from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

  4. Imagine the deity perfectly in your heart.

  5. Imagine in the deities heart, its sigil, or other sign.

  6. Imagine this image growing to match your body is size, enveloping it, masking its appearance with its own.

  7. Stand upright, and intone the name, and or the name and Divine Name appropriate to the godform chosen. “In the Name of YHVH Aloah Va-Daath, I am Osiris, the Risen Lord! If the deity doesn't easily fit into the qabalistic Tree scheme of things, invoke it “In the Name Eheieh, and by the Power of AGLA, I am….. This utilizes the principle Names of Spirit from the Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram. In either instance, it is important to ‘inhale the names' as previously described, and to exhale them with great force, and visualization.

  8. Allow the image to grow to immense height, carrying you with it, for it is you.

  9. Offer another oration is you like, or simply experience the results of you invocation.

  10. When the moment is right, perform the Sign of Silence. Rest and absorb the energy.

  11. Banish, and stamp your foot, return to normal consciousness.

“By way of conclusion, let the aspiring Candidate always keep present in his or her consciousness that the WORK must first be KNOWN BY THE HEAD, then FELT BY THE HEART, then CHOSEN BY THE WILL, to be LIVED BY THE BODY, SO THAT ONE CAN MAKE THE “WORD BECOME FLESH OR BECOME THE IDEAL ONE IS NURTURING. [9]


Lotus Spirit - Kupka

Psychological Support for the Technique

Assagioli's ‘Ideal Model'

“We must become aware that each of us has within himself various self-models or models of the ego, or - more exactly, using our terminology - of the personality. Such models are not only diverse in nature, origin, and vividness but this constitutes not only one of the major difficulties but is also one the most useful fields of application of a right psychoanalysis. [10]

Assagioli points out that there are three kinds of models which obscure and prevent our realization of what we actually are in the present tense.

1) What we believe we are. Either in over-evaluating, or under-evaluating ourselves.

2) What we would like to be. Often idealized, unattainable models.

3) What we should like to appear to others. Each model reflecting each relationship.

Of course, there are also the models that are projected onto us, thereby effecting our relationships with others:

4) What others believe us to be.

5) What others would like us to be.

6) Images of ourselves, evoked by others.

Assagioli states that the rational behind ‘ideal models' is in “the utilization or taking advantage of the psychological law that every image has a motor-element which tends to be translated into action - which is a rather dry, objective way of indicating the creative power of imagination…The model must first be static and then “manifesting in motion. The stages are: first the idea, which if seen as desirable becomes an ideal, and then ardently sought after emerges or expresses itself in form and function. [11]

Assagioli further points out that ideals, or traditional ‘hero worship' should not be confused with modern ‘idol worship' such as is applied to sports players, movies stars, business men and women of dubious morals, or celebrities.

The ideal should be the model we chose, and the external form of the living person, or the person themselves. “It should be an idea, an image, introjected, and not a personal attachment to the inspirer of the model. [12]

In advanced work, an entirely new, and integrated personality can be ‘imagined' and brought into being this way.

Peter Roche de Coppens discribes his use of the technique of an ‘Ideal Model' in his work, The Invisible Temple, and combines it with the traditional use of “Assumption of the Godform and use of Divine Names.

“Let me give you an example of how I have used (and still use) the Name of one of my teachers, who is an 85 year old woman still alive in Paris, whom I have known and been inspired by for over 25 years….

In her presence, I have become transformed: being more myself in its higher sense, more alive, more creative, generous, and functioning at a higher level of consciousness. When I invoke her Name…I immediately feel her presence there and no longer feel alone, but instead connected to God, to Humanity, to Nature. All that I know about, and have experienced with her immediately returns to me and is present with me as her Spirit is connected with mine, and I become transformed again with powerful motivations and urges to become the better person I can be. [13]


The Sign of Silence - Crowley


In his work Invisibility, Steve Richard's discusses the technique of “Assumption of the Godform in relationship to the practices of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and their ritual for invisibility. The godform used for this practice is the Egyptian god of Harpocrates. However, the technique is not limited just to idealized personalities or anthropomorphized archetypes. In fact, it is used in a much more practical manner: to progressively attune with the many facets of creation, or to other human beings.

“Once you have selected your object, sit quietly, close your eyes, and visualize it in front of you. Now gradually increase the size of the object in your visualization until it becomes quite large, large enough, in fact, that it we were an open door you could walk through it. Then imagine that you are merging with your object, that you and the object are in fact becoming one. Once you feel that you have been successful, and that you have in fact merged psychically with whatever you are using, try to become sensitive to any feelings or sensations that may come to you. How does it feel to be a piece of steel? What does it look like? Are there tactile sensations that come to you? How cold is your object? What are its textures?

If you are successful with this experiment, the first thing that will happen is that you will actually feel that you have in fact merged with whatever you are trying to merge with, if not physically, then psychically. Then as you progress with it, you will begin to have actual sensations, intuitions, even thoughts that come to you as you do the experiment, and which proceed directly from this sense of merging that you will produce. [14]

After working your way up the chain, from mineral, to plant, and animal life, you can begin to experiment with human beings.

“You will now be able to merely visualize the animal or the person standing in front of you, and then, as before, imagine that you are merging with it, so that your consciousnesses are merged together and you become one with it.

In this case, you may wish to visualize yourself standing directly behind the person you are assuming, then, in imagination, reach out and put your hands on the sides of the other person's head. Now, imagine that you are putting his head on, in other words, that you are slipping his head over yours, just as you would a ski mask. After you have done this, try to see with his eyes, hear with his hears, and think with his brain. His thoughts will become your thoughts, and your thoughts will become his. Using this method you can communicate with another person telepathically and implant thoughts in his mind without him being consciously aware where they came from. [15]

Elsewhere he states:

“It is a very versatile technique, and it would not be too much to say that an ingenious student can derive all the benefits of any system of psychic culture from this one technique alone, without the benefit of any other. [16]

Alchemical Applications

From Richard's comments we can see that the theory and practice behind ‘assumption' is in no way limited to qabalists and their myriad of pantheons and mythologies. Practicing alchemists can, and some would say do use it, even it unconsciously, when working with laboratory materials and their enigmatic picture books.

Through constant contemplation of the Work, its components, and their realizations that an energetic exchange is taking place on some level between their inner self and the outer materials, an experience of assumption is inevitable for the alchemist. This experience of ‘oneness' could even be said to be a benchmark sign of some degree of interior success or initiation in the Work at hand.

Through a conscious application of the technique, it becomes possible to have an interior awakening regarding the various manuscripts, their authors, the time and culture in which they lived, and in short, to view their Work through their soul.

Even if the great alchemists such as Christian Rosencreutz, Flammel, or Saint Germain, were more legend than reality, the use of Assumption allows us to touch the archetype that they have become. To, in short, ‘assume' them in the same fashion the qabalist ‘assumes' Thoth, Osiris, or any other deity they chose.

The advantage of this technique over many others is in its directness. When it works we are aware of it. The knowledge and experience we gain is often very clear, although powerful. The often confusing array of subconscious symbols that qabalists wade through in interpreting psychic experiences, dreams, or meditation insights, is avoided. An intuition is often the fruits of this work, signifying a more Briactic level of experience. We get a glimpse of the powers of Tiphareth - the powers of direct experience.



The uses of the techniques of Assumption, be it of a godform, a plant, mineral, piece of laboratory equipment, or a mythic hero is limitless. When combined with a direct and real desire to perfect ourselves and to unfold those hidden potentials buried deep within, be it through an ‘ideal model' of a mythological character, we come closer and closer to being a ‘whole' and ‘holy' being.

Maybe there is nothing better to quote on this point than the Hermetic text which reads:

“If then you do not make yourself equal to God, you cannot approach God: for like is known by like. Leap clear of all that is corporeal, and make yourself grow to an expanse like that greatness which is beyond all measure; rise up above all time, and become eternal, then you will apprehend God.

Think that for you too nothing is impossible; deem that you too are immortal, and that you are able to grasp all things in your thought, to know every craft and every science; find yourself at home in the haunts of every living creature; make yourself higher than all heights, and lower than all depths; bring together in yourself all opposites of quality, heat and cold, dryness and fluidity; think that you are not yet begotten, that you are in the womb, and that you are young, that you are old, that you have died, that you are in the world beyond the grave: grasp in your thoughts all this at once, all times and places, all substances and qualities and magnitudes together; then you can apprehend God.

But if you shut up your soul in your body, and abase yourself, and say, “I know nothing, I can do nothing, I am afraid of earth and sea, I cannot mount to heaven; I do not know what I was, nor what I shall be, then what have you to do with God? Your thoughts can grasp nothing beautiful and good, if you cleave to the body and evil. For it is the height of evil not to know God; but to be capable of knowing God, and to wish and hope to know Him, is the road which leads straight to the good; and it is an easy road to travel.

[1] The Sacred Cord Meditations by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire, 1990. P. 107.
[2] Lesson 67, p. 5.
[3] Ibid.
[4] The Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple by Chic and Sandra Cicero. P.374.
[5] Ibid. p.130.
[6] Ibid. p. 132.
[7] Ibid, p. 84.
[8] Ibid
[9] The Invisible Temple by Peter Roche de Coppens. Llewellyn .p. 17.
[10] Psychosynthesis by Roberto Assangioli . p. 166.
[11] Ibid, p. 168.
[12] Ibid, p. 169.
[13] Roche de Coppens, p. 93.
[14] Invisibility - The Art of Vanishing by Steve Richards, Aquarian Press, Wellingborough Northamptonshire, 19 . p. 125.
[15] Ibid, p. 126.
[16] Ibid. p. 124.