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So, to continue the software analogy… doing the LBRP [Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram] is kind of like going through a secure login procedure? You’re setting up your secure connection to a particular set of ethereal software, and getting it ready to accept your next command lines?
First, the simple answer: Yes, you can think of it that way. Particularly if you’re just trying to get the gist of my model, that’s close enough.
Now, for the thorough answer: This question pushes the limits of the analogy. Which I love, but it means this post is going to be a little advanced.
The ethereal software connects to you near the start of the ritual. So, I’d say that focusing on the symbols or starting the ritual is like entering the URL* for your web browser (or SSH software).
*URL = The web address at the top of the screen, like http://magickofthought/NameOfArticle.
The login — how the software knows to trust you — happens when the software connects to you and sees that your mind is capable of working with the software’s signature. That really seems to be how ethereal software authorizes users: If it can connect to you in its signature and your mind can accept those connections, you can use the software. Additionally, if you can package a message (like a spirit does when the spirit sends you a message), and send it in the software’s signature, then the software will accept you as a high-level user. I’ve done this to use many softwares without initiation, including software for Enochian, Thelema, Reiki, OTO’s public mass, and various softwares used by draining spirits and unfriendly mages (to shut down their attack).
I’d initially imagined that ethereal software would have a list of authorized users, and verify that your signature is on that list. I’ve never seen any software where this is the case, though. Read more about this in my series on hacking ethereal software (which I called “systems” at the time).
As far as a secure connection, there is a command to have the software shield its connection, so other people can’t connect to you through the software’s connection. That setting should make it more difficult for someone to listen in on your messages, too. But the shielding only comes on if you specifically request it; it’s off by default for most software. Personally, I’ve listened in on conversations with ethereal software while training people, but can’t see a reason to listen in secretly, so I wouldn’t worry too much about a secure vs insecure connection if you’re using it briefly, like for a ritual. (I use shielded connections when I’m having software connect to me permanently, like for psychic intuitions.)
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