Enochian or Rosicrucian Chess
First part on Hermetic.com
Second part begins:
The correct application of the action of the moveable images (representing the motion of The Ruling Angels over the Servient Squares) is called The Playe or Raying of the Chequers of the Tablets.
By G. H. FRATRE D.D.C.F.
Of the Chess King and the Tarot Ace. The move of this piece is one square every way, and answereth to the action of the Spirit. Wherever it goeth, it commenceth and initiateth a fresh current, whence it is represented by the motion of only one square in any direction and there staying for this purpose before moving onward. So that his action is not hurried, but represents a balanced movement. Yet in his beginning of action is he at first a mute force, as though throned upon the water; as in the end of his action he is a life manifested and throned upon the earth.
And herein is a mystery of the Lord Aeshoori (Osiris) when enthroned between Isis and Nephthys, thus rep resenting the beginning and end of the action of Him in whom end and beginning are not, but rather concealment and then manifestation. Herein is a great mystery of life, for His Thrones are not in the two active elements, seeing that these latter are his horse and chariot of transition in the passage from concealment into manifestation. This piece, then, is the symboliser of the action of the potencies of the crosses on the Servient Squares.
Of the Chess Knight, the Tarot King. The move of this piece is three squares cornerwise every way (as in ordinary chess) and representeth the leaping action of the flickering flame. Wherefore also is he not stopped in his course by a piece or an intervening square, even as Fire seizing on a matter speedily rendereth it transparent. This piece representeth the action of Fire as the Revealer of the Strength of the Spirit, even as Hoor is the avenger of Aeshoori. It is a force potent and terrible, the King in the elemental operations.
Thus it openeth the locked doors of matter and sheweth forth the treasure hidden therein. Therefore hath all life its beginnings in a Fire Celestial. And the number of squares covered by the move of the Knight in the midst of the Board (reckoning from the Square on which he standeth, but not including it) is 16 squares, of which 8 are checked, and 8 are passed over.
Of the Chess Queen, The Tarot Queen. The move of this piece is unto every third square from her (reckoning the square whereon she standeth as the first) as well cornerwise, as well perpendicular, as horizontal. Thus again covering 16 squares out of a square of 25 squares, of which 8 are threatened, and 8 are passed over. But she threateneth not a piece upon the intervening square of her move. And her movement is as that of the waves of the sea, and (like the Knight) she is not hindered in her motion by a piece on an intervening square. This piece representeth the undulating action of water and of the sea, and she is ascribed unto the Great Goddess Isis, who is the Cherisher of Life.
The Chess Bishop or Fool, the Tarot Prince. The move of this piece is any number of squares cornerwise (that is only on the diagonal) in any direction even unto the limits of the Tablet. He representeth the keen and swift wind, and he is ascribed unto the God Aroueris (Horus the Elder). He is stopped by any piece in his way, even as the wind is stopped by a material barrier. He representeth the swift vehicle of the Spirit.
The Chess Castle or Rook, the Tarot Princess or Knave. The move of this piece representeth the ponderous and formidable force of earth and its motion is any number of squares in a square direction, perpendicular or horizontal (but not cornerwise) even unto the limits of the board. It is ascribed unto Nephthys the Goddess. It representeth the
completed action of the Spirit in matter. Therefore is its movement square, and also stopped by intervening pieces, yet powerful from the length and breadth of its range.
The Pawns. The four pawns represent certain forces formed by the con junction of the Spirit with each of the four elements severally, and they are severally ascribed unto Ameshet, Ahephi, Tmoumathph, and Kabexnuv, who stand before the face of Aeshoori. And their movement is but one square forward, perpendicular, and they threaten one square forward diagonal on each side, thus formulating the symbol of the Triangle, for they each represent a mixture of three elements under the presidency of the
Therefore, each is, as it were the servant of the God or Goddess, before whom he standeth. Yet, they be all, in a manner, alike in their action, although their Lords be different. Each is the servant of the God or Goddess whose element is expressed in his symbol, without its contrary.
In each set of three elements, taken together, two must be contrary. Wherefore, for example, Ameshet, who represents Water, Fire, and Earth, is the servant of Nephthys, whose element Earth is expressed in this attribution without the contrary of Air. Ahephi, who represents Air, Fire, and Water, is the servant of Aroueris, whose attribution is Air. Tmournathph, who represents Water, Air, and Earth, is the Servant of Isis, whose attribution is Water. Kabexnuv, who represents Fire, Air, and Earth, is the servant of Horus, whose attribution is Fire.
One of the rules concerning the Pawns in actual play is that should one reach the 8th square of its column, it may be exchanged for the piece of which it is vice-gerent. That is, as in ordinary chess, a pawn which reaches the eighth square may be exchanged for any piece the player desires – but in Enochian chess the exchange is limited by the elemental attributions of the pieces. So that were an Ahephi pawn the servant of Aroueris, to survive the battle of the entire game and win through to the top of the board, it could be exchanged for a Bishop, even though the Bishop were untaken and still on the board. And so with the others.
The opening of chess play is known under the technical title of “Awakening the Abodes.” As already stated the game is set for four players, each of whom works the pieces at each of the four angles, playing in rotation. Should the game be used for the purposes of divination, the first player would be the querent, the one asking the question, or the person representing the matter about which information is required. This first player chooses which angle of the board he will play from, bearing in mind the divinatory qualities of the elements as set forth in the documents on Geomancy and Tarot.
The major difference between Enochian chess and the modern game is that in the former, when using it for divinatory purposes, the moves are decided by the throwing of a dice. Depending upon the number disclosed by the dice, so must a certain piece be moved, for the numbers are attributed to pieces. The actual details of the move – that is whether to right or left, backward or forward, to take an opponent or to press forward – are quite
obviously left to the personal ingenium and divining mind of the player. The dice only determines specifically that such and such a piece shall be played.
The Prime Mover, or the owner of the Ptah piece, plays first, and his first
move is to be decided by the throw of the dice to indicate which piece or Enochian Chess
pawn he must first play. Each player follows in rotation, deosil, that is round the board with the sun from the prime player. First the prime player moves, and if his setting is Air, then follow the Water pieces, the Fire pieces, the Earth pieces, and then back again to the Air who is the prime mover.
The actual attributions of the numbers on the dice to the Enochian
chess-pieces are as follows:
If the player throws:
1. He moves a King or any Pawn.
2. He moves a Knight.
3. He moves a Bishop.
4. He moves a Queen.
5. He moves a Castle.
6. He moves a Pawn.
At the first move of the game, if the dice cast throws up 1, it clearly cannot apply to the King, for this piece cannot move at all until the pawns have been cleared before him. In that event, a pawn would require to be moved.
The reason for the attribution of the numbers on the dice above shown to the chess-pieces are fairly simple. The explanation must be sought in the numbers and powers of the squares on the Sephirotic crosses. On the tensquared cross, Kether, the Crown, is the first square, which is a fairly sound attribution to the King, who is Osiris, Spirit – the Number 1. Number 2 on the Cross is Chokmah, the Yod of Tetragrammaton, Abba, and therefore the Knight is appropriate. 3 is Binah, to which is referred in the Enochian attributions, the High Priestess card of the Tarot. The mitre of the High Priestess determines the selection of the Bishop. 4 is Chesed, to which is attributed the Tarot trunp The Empress, who is the chess Queen. and 5 is the Castle, referred to Geburah, and the Tarot card The Tower struck by lightning. The remaining number 6 refers to the movement of any pawn, one square.
It is not always necessary to use four players. Two individuals may play, each operating two lesser angles and two sets of pieces. Fire and Air would be pitted against Water and Earth. If this is done, then the two sets of elemental pieces of any player must be regarded as a single unit in practice. That is to say if the first player whose pieces are the allies of Fire and Air, checks the Earth King, the second player must not continue the movements of the Water pieces, which are his allies, until he has moved the Earth King out of check by any of the usual technical forms of chess.
The reader who understands and appreciates ordinary chess manouevring will appreciate what is expected of him in the course of play. When the so-called “stale-mate” occurs, which is when a player has no piece or pawn that he can move without incumng check, that is the King not being in check but so placed that he could not move without getting in to check, the result is that the player whose King is affected loses his turn until his state of “stale-mate” is removed.
For the purposes of Divination, an additional piece was employed. This was called the Ptah. Any book dealing with the Egyptian God-forms will describe the form in question. A small figure of this should be made, and on the board it will represent the question or matter of divination. The mode of employing it is simple. It has no power at all, and is not actually used in the play. It is only used by the first player to be set on any square in the Lesser Angle from which he begins his play. Any square, that is, except the one on which the King first stands.
The King must reach, in the course of the game, this square on which the Ptah is set and remain there for one round of the game undistrubed – that is without moving therefrom – and unchecked. A knowledge of the nature of the Pyramids with their elemental composition, and some knowledge of the Angelic forces represented by those squares and
Pyramids, will decide the player as to what square shall be selected for the placing of the Ptah.
If the divinatory question concerns the fiery Lesser Angle of the Element of Earth, a question involving Capricornus and the figure Carcer ruled by Zazel, then the Ptah probably should be placed upon a square of the Angle which is of the nature of Cardinal Earth, as representing the Yod type of Earth, or on Elemental Fire, that is the Heh (final) type of Fire. The ingenium of the interested student will guide his judgment herein.
NOTES CONCERNING THE BOARDS AND THE PLAY GENERALLY
Every Lesser Angle throughout the Tablets has a diagonal line of four squares starting from its prime square; which are allotted respectively to Aries, Gemini, Scorpio and Earth. From these four squares the Bishops can move one square into a square of Libra, Sagittarius, Taurus or Water, these completing the series of squares in that Lesser Angle :n which a Bishop can move. Let us call this the Aries System of diagonal squares. This diagonal is crossed by another which in the Airy and Watery boards is composed of Cancer, Leo, Virgo and Air Squares, having as subsidiaries, squares of Aquarius, Pisces, Capricorn and Fire.
In the Earthy and Fiery board the second series of Four form the diagonal, and the first the subsidiaries. Let us call this the Cancer series. If we now examine the Boards we shall see that the Aries system of any Lesser Angle is joined diagonally to the Aries system of the other three Lesser Angles; and that the Cancer also is similarly joined to every other
Cancer system. So that we have two systems of squares; viz: the Aries and the Cancer; of the whole, each containing four squares allotted to every sign it contains. This resembles the black and white systems of squares of the ordinary board; and it is as if we allotted the White to Aries, and the black to Cancer.
When beginning a game see to which system the Ptah square belongs. Because if it be a square of the Aries system the attack of the opposing Queens is insignificant, while that of the Bishops is strong. In such a case the number of pieces is 6; 2 Bishops, 2 Knights and 2 Rooks. That is, in these matters the Airy attack is strong, and the Watery weak.
If the Ptah be on a square of the Cancer System, one opposing Queen directly attacks this Square, but the Bishops do not. In this case the number of attacking pieces is 5; one Queen, 2 Knights, and 2 Rooks. That is, in these matters the Airy attack is insignificant, while the Watery is strong.
If an opposing Queen can attack the Ptah, the defence should note well which Queen it is and should remember that this fact greatly enhances her power. He should thereupon not hesitate to exchange what might otherwise be considered a more powerful piece for her. She should certainly be exchanged for a Bishop, and probably also for a Knight. The YHVH order of the pieces corresponds with their respective offensive and defensive Powers.
Yod. Knight. The most offensive piece.
Heh. Queen. More offensive than defensive.
Vau. Bishop. More defensive than offensive.
Heh (final) Rook. Most defensive. That is in a general sense.
Because, according to the circumstances of the actual play, every piece is able to assume both roles of attacking or defending. Note that, as in ordinary chess, opposing Kings may not occupy contiguous squares. There must always be one square between them. This,
however, does not apply to the Kings who are allies. That is, if Fire and Air are allies, then the Kings of these elements may approach each other and occupy contiguous squares. Naturally they do not check each other.
When a King has once been moved from the corner square which he occupied with another piece at the beginning of the game neither he nor that piece can be moved back again to that square unless it be vacant. If the Prime Player’s King is checked and he cannot move it, his game is arrested and his pieces cannot move until the pieces of his ally can release his King. That is to say that his pieces remain in situ but having during that time of check no power of action and can neither attack nor threaten; they only block the squares occupied.
If the allied King can be check-mated, his partner continues to play and to seek to release him. When both Kings are checkmated, the game is at an end, and the partners checkmated have lost the game. The game is also lost by the first player, when though neither he or his ally is checkmated, the enemies hold such a position that the Prime Player cannot possibly attain the Ptah square.
The Knights or Fiery forces of the Elements meet and clash violently in all parts, and are strong in attack against every thing and everywhere. Their moves, like Fire, pass unarrested through the other elements in irregular courses like the lambent flame, leaping both diagonally and square-wise at every move. They contain the potential forces of the other pieces. Their force is similar to the Tarot King, and to Chokmah. They are the Abba forces, and with the Queens represent the Briatic forces of the scheme.
The Queens or Watery forces of the Elements never clash with one another, but ever undulate onwards, each in its own course unaffected by opposing or crossing waves. But the Watery forces only move in their respective pre-ordained courses; they cannot leave their limits and enter upon the domain of others. Water, like Fire, is unarrested and undulating, and like Air and Earth it can act diagonally or square-wise, containing the potential force of Air and Earth. They are the Queen of the Tarot, and Binah. They are the
Aimah, and are of Briah.
The Bishops are subtle and sharp, Airy in quality, moving rapidly, but easily arrested in their course. They clash not with opposing bishops, and the friendly Airs support each other in attack and defence. Where the active Airs whirl the passives cannot come. They are the forces of the Princes, and of Yetzirah, the Son.
The Rooks are the heavy resisting powers of the Princess, the Earth by nature, mighty indeed in action when preceded by the action of the other three. That is, when in any matter the forces of Fire, Water, and Air have been absorbed and equilibriated, i.e. removed from the board, the mighty powers of the castles come into play. But woe to him who too early calls these ponderous forces forth.
The Rook moves through columns as through ranks. She is able, therefore, to reach every square on the board, and is very powerful. But her movement is very ponderous, and it is a piece that is not moved many times in a game unless the forces of the other Elements have been absorbed in its working out. While the Aleph, Mem, and Shin forces are in full operation the Rook is easily attacked and with difficulty defended, unless she remain quiet, and act as a firm basis of support and defence to the side. If she, however, makes the mistake of entering early into action she is nearly sure to fall a prey to the more subtle forces whose proper sphere is attacked.
If the more subtle forces do not bring about a solution of the question, and the matter has to be fought out to the bitter end, that is, if the Yetziratic and Briatic forces are absorbed and balanced in the matter, then do the ponderous forces of Assiah, the Princess, engage in powerful combat.