The Star Game
The Star Game
The Star Game serves three basic esoteric functions. First, it is a new type of sinister magick, appropriate to our times and the emergence of the next Aeon. Second, it enables an understanding of Aeonics; and, third, it is one means of developing that new type of thinking – beyond causal, abstract, forms – which is an important part of the the forthcoming New Aeon.
In addition, it can be played simply for pleasure, as a “game”, although it is somewhat more complicated than ordinary chess.
In The Dark Tradition, it is one of the tasks of an aspirant Internal Adept to learn, and master, the rudiments of The Star Game, since this learning reveals many secrets about The Dark Tradition itself.
The Star Game exists in two forms: the “simple” (or basic) form, and the “advanced” (or esoteric) form. In the basic form there are seven boards, and only 27 pieces. In the advanced form, there are at least 81 pieces per “side” (or player) and many more boards, and it is this advanced form which is most interesting from an esoteric point of view and which enables effective Dark Sorcery, beyond “words” and “chants”.
An outline of the basic version of The Star Game is given below, together with some notes regarding the advanced form, and more details regarding both forms can be found in the ONA MS NAOS, as published by the ONA in facsimile.
There are seven boards, each one named after a particular star, which boards are placed one above the other in a spiral and forming a septenary Tree of Life (or Tree of Wyrd, to be precise).
Each board has nine black and nine squares, with each board representing a sphere of the Tree of Wyrd (ToW). See Figure O below.
Each player has three sets of nine pieces, that is 27 pieces in all. The nine pieces are:
a(a) a(b) a(c) b(a) b(b) b(c) c(a) c(b) c(c)
The pieces can also be named Alchemically, abstractly or in terms of the Dark Tradition.
In Alchemical terms, a is the Alchemical symbol for Salt. b is the Alchemical symbol for Mercury, and c is the Alchemical symbol for Sulphur. Abstractly, a is the Greek letter alpha, b the letter beta, and c gamma. In terms of the Dark Tradition, a is causal space-time; b is where the acausal is present or manifest in the causal, and c acausal space-time.
These symbols and letters should be written on the pieces which are either small, square pieces of wood (of a size to fit on the board squares), or small tetrahedrons.
One set of three pieces is coloured black, the other set, white. [ Or red and blue may be used.]
Esoterically, the pieces represent the combinations of the alchemical substances, or the various combinations and manifestations of causal/acausal.
The central rule of the game is that each piece, when it moves, is transformed into the piece next in sequence:
Thus the a(a) piece when it is moved becomes an a(b) piece; a(c) becomes b(a) and so on. A c(c) piece becomes a(a).
The c (or gamma) pieces – c(a) c(b) c(c) – can move to any (vacant) square on any board.
The b (or beta) pieces can move across the board they are already on to any vacant square, and up, or down, one level – for example, from Acturus up to Antares, or down to Sirius. Note that a piece on Sirius can move only up to Arcturus.
The a (or alpha) pieces can move only across the board they are on.
After a piece has been moved, and therefore changed into the piece next in sequence, it moves according to its new identity. Thus, a b(c) piece would become a c(a) piece and on its next move, moves as a c (or gamma) piece.
The Placing of Pieces:
The initial or starting position of the pieces depends on how the game is used. Esoterically, the pieces are placed to represent a particular form at a particular moment in causal time: for example, to represent a civilization, an Aeon, or a person. Exoterically – when the game is played simply as an intellectual game – the placing of the pieces is fixed.
In the exoteric game the starting positions are as follows:
Six pieces are placed on Sirius – two sets of alpha pieces – for white, and six for black. See Figure 1
Arcturus has three pieces for white and three for black. See Figure 2
Antares has six pieces for white and six for black – two sets of beta pieces, placed exactly as the pieces on the Sirius board.
Mira has no pieces on it at the start.
Rigel has the three remaining pieces (for each player) of the beta sets, placed as the alpha pieces on Arcturus.
Deneb has six pieces of white and six of black from the gamma set, placed as the alpha set on Sirius.
Naos has the three remaining pieces of the gamma set, placed the same as the alpha sets of Arcturus.
Exoteric Game Rules:
The pieces move according to the rules above (see The Moves above), and are transformed as above. However, in the exoteric game, pieces can only stay on Mira for three moves. After three moves have been played (three by white; three by black) the player must move one of their pieces on Mira, if they have pieces on Mira, and this move must – if the piece is able (of the correct sequence) – be up or down from the Mira board. If there are alpha pieces on Mira, these are moved according to alpha piece rules: across the board only. That is, until they become beta pieces when they must move up or down from Mira.
A c(c) piece is the only piece that can can capture any opposing piece. A c(c) piece can capture an opposing piece on any square from any board except Naos. The pieces on Naos cannot be captured. The piece so captured is removed from the game and plays no further part.
After a c(c) piece has captured another piece, it becomes a a(a) piece.
Exoteric Game Object:
The simplest form of the game is for one player to occupy certain squares on Mira, of a pattern decided by both players beforehand. A suggested pattern for winning is given in Figure 3.
Thus, the player has to place three of their alpha pieces in the pattern given.
The first player to achieve this pattern (within the three move Mira limit) wins. Note that c(c) pieces can capture pierces on Mira.
Exoteric Rule Variations:
To initially make the game easier to learn, and play, two variations are suggested. The first is to amend the three move Mira limit – to five, or seven, moves. This makes the game much easier.
The second is not to allow the c(c) piece to capture pieces on Mira. This makes the game very easy indeed.
Star Game: Elementary Guide to Esoteric Meanings
1) The seven boards can represent the origin, and change, of one particular Aeon. That is, each board – each sphere – is an aspect of that particular Aeon. Sirius represents the origin, and Naos, the end of the Aeon. The pieces symbolize causal-acausal, and the presencing of the acausal. Or in more mundane terms, archetypes.
Thus, the present Western Aeon can be symbolized, and the future ascertained – or changed, if the game is used in a Magickal way by an Adept.
2) The seven boards can also represent the seven Aeons, with Sirius being the Sumeric – the first Aeon – and Rigel the present Western Aeon. Thus, the Next Aeon, the galactic, can be studied, understood and perchance brought into being/changed.
(See Aeonic Magick – A Basic Introduction for details about the seven Aeons of septenary tradition.)
The initial placing of the pieces is the key to representing both of the above, and such placings are taught to Initiates of the Sinister way.
The boards can also represent one individual. The pieces then represent aspects of the consciousness – the life – of the individual. The alpha pieces are concerned with the “ego”; the beta pieces with “self”; and the gamma pieces with Adeptship and beyond.
The alpha set represents “feeling”; the beta set “intuition”; and the gamma set “thinking”, broadly as those terms are defined by Jung. Each board represents that aspect of the individual associated with that sphere: thus, Sirius represents the “Moon” aspect (Night; Calcination; Aries; Nox and so on), and Mira the “Sun” aspect (Putrefaction; Lux; Vision). See the Septenary Correspondences.
In one very important way, the pieces and the boards represent the esoteric path to Wisdom: to self-understanding, and the creation of a new being.
The initial placing of the pieces is usually done to represent the individual in the present, as they are now, and this placing is an esoteric skill, learned through study and practice.
Note: The above is the general, or simple, form of The Star Game. A more advanced Game exists, with each board having six (minor) boards (three at each end), and there being additional pieces (more sets of nine for each player: often 81 pieces per player; sometimes more), with additional rules regarding movement. In this advanced form, each board is divided into three other levels so that there are four levels to each board:
——————— Level 3 ———————- Level 3
——– Level 2b ——– Level 2b
——– Level 2a ——– Level 2a
———————– Level 1 (White) ———————- Level 1 (Black)
Level three consists of six squares, three white and three black; level 2b is a single square; level 2a is the same as level three: three black and three white squares.
The Star Game Figures:
(Click on images to enlarge)
This document was compiled from Order of Nine Angles manuscripts including Naos: A Practical Guide to Modern Magick