- Scire: To Know (Also Noscere)
- Velle: To Will
- Audere: To Dare
- Tacere: To Keep Silent
The powers of the sphinx are the most basic and fundamental principles in a good number of Western magical traditions. This includes everything from hermetics, ceremonial magicks, witchcraft, and just about everything in between. Including Daemonolatry. One of the first things we learned in pre-initiate training were the Powers of the Sphinx. (Feel free to adjust the following elemental Daemonic correspondences according to your pantheon.)
Scire, To Know, is of Lucifer and Air. Ruled by Aquarius and represented by the human head of the sphinx.
Velle, To Will, is of Flereous and of Fire. Ruled by Leo and represented by the lion body of the sphinx.
Audere, To Dare, is of Leviathan and of Water. Ruled by Scorpio and represented by the eagle wings of the sphinx.
And finally, Tacere, To Keep Silent, is of Belial and of Earth. Ruled by Taurus and represented by the bull, which is the tail of the sphinx.
Notice the Air, Fire, Water, Earth progression (clockwise) and corresponding fixed zodiac signs and elemental Daemonic forces. Those alone should give you additional correspondences should you need them if you chose, perhaps, to delve deeper into this process.
And it is a process because the Powers themselves are basically the steps of the process of magick. So, the first is to know. One must know how to employ the magick at his current level of knowledge. Two, one must have proper application of will to lend the appropriate energy to the magical operation. Third, one must have the strength to Dare and do the magick (in a Daemonolater’s case, to work with the Daemonic). and Finally, fourth, we don’t need to tell everyone about the work we’re doing. That’s between us and the spirits/forces we’re working with. Those who have true power and dominion, the powerful magicians, need not boast of their magick. Probably best to keep it under wraps.
In a coven setting, To Know is the process of learning (which is everpresent). To Will, is to set your mind to doing the work. To Dare, is to get off your ass and actually do the work. To keep silent is often to keep completely silent about the work, and the coven. So there are a lot of ways the Powers of the Sphinx can be applied.
So where do these foundational principles come from? They come from the basic fundamental foundation of most western magickal practices. Eliphas Lévi discussed the Powers of the Sphinx in Transcendental Magick to some effect.
To learn how to will is to learn how to exercise dominion. But to be able to exert will power you must first know; for will power applied to folly is madness, death, and hell.” — Lévi’s Transcendental Magick
“In order to DARE we must KNOW; in order to WILL, we must DARE; we must WILL to possess empire and to reign we must BE SILENT.” — Lévi’s Transcendental Magick
“When one does not know, one should will to learn. To the extent that one does not know it is foolhardy to dare, but it is always well to keep silent.” — Eliphas Lévi
Some also point out that To Keep Silent can be about making the magick your own. As above, so below. To know, to know thyself. To will, to employ your own willpower. To dare, to create the ritual most pleasing to you AND the spirits you’re working with (as above, so below). To Keep Silent, the knowledge of yourself and your work – and therefore the Gods. So there are many considerations there.
Those in some traditions may even add – To Manifest as a fifth element. However, I am more inclined to view manifestation as not being part of the “process” itself. It’s what comes of the process. It’s the natural end result of it.
I invite everyone reading this to sit in meditation with the Powers of the Sphinx and consider the process on your own. Each of us will come to our own, intimate understanding of it, and its value in our practice.