“I want you to be nice until its time not to be nice”.
- Dalton, from the movie Roadhouse.
Someone recently wrote me asking some questions about evocation and prefaced it with “I know you don’t approve of working with the spirits of the Goetia…”.
I think perhaps because I listed the Goetia as one of the five things that modern occultism needs to escape the gravity of (Bune is the Katy Perry of wealth magic) or that I have suggested that trusting them blindly is a mistake, that I may have come off as against the practice totally. This is of course not the case, and in fact I myself have contributed to Bune’s pop star status by including a spell invoking him in The Sorcerer’s Secrets.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
I have worked successfully and unsuccessfully with the spirits in the Goetia. The first time I ever evoked a spirit from the Goetia was by using the method given for summoning Vassago in Paul Huson’s Mastering Witchcraft. I was 18 years old. It totally blew me away. Previous to that I had done astral traveling and spoke to spirits on their own turf. I had also communicated via devices and mental communication during invocation. Evocation gave me the experience that was literally like fusing two worlds together. Transvocation is almost a better term. I could see Vassago in the crystal quite clearly, but the room around the circle was also awash with activity. So much so that my sister woke up screaming about the spirits in her mirror in the next room.
In later years I performed Goetia according to the instructions in Modern Magic and had similar effects, but a more argumentative and classical experience of dealing with the spirit.
A few years after that I performed a series of evocations in Philadelphia sticking as close to the grimoire as I could. I had the proper floor circle. I had the triangle on the floor and moved it according to the correct direction. I had the proper seals and such. I did not go as far as Mr Garner does, but it was certainly as far as anyone was going at the time (1997) in sticking to the Grimoire proper. I got more potent manifestations, including some physical movement of objects and blown out lights (every bulb in the room and hallway at the same time), but funny enough the results of what I asked for were sub-par.
It was during these experiments that I realized three important things.
1. The spirits in the Goetia do not all have similar natures (the book itself says as much and is correct). In fact, I shut down my Asmodeus evocation as soon as he manifested because the smell and feeling of just pure nefariousness was so terrible. While many of the Goets may be old pagan gods that have been demonized by Christianity, a couple of those were considered explicitly evil the Pagans also.
2. The results I was getting were spectacular in terms of presence during evocation, but the results of things asked for were manifesting in the worst possible way, as if even the calm spirits were kind of bugged by being evoked.
LEARNING TO BE NICE
Eventually I came to the conclusion that no matter how I felt about the demons – viewing them as just spirits, or Pagan Gods, or whatever – as long as I was using a ritual that treated them like they were the enemy and was designed to coerce them into service, I would get results similar to coercing someone into service.
On the other hand, I wanted to avoid the other extreme: people that think the spirits and gods are all OK, are infinitely wise, and have our best interests at heart. Experience has taught me that spirits can indeed be harmful – some react to unintended offences, some are naughty by nature, and occasionally it’s not really anyones fault – shit just happens.
I started approaching spirits of western magic in the way that I was learning to approach spirits in Tibetan Buddhism. Sort of like meeting new people in a town that you move to. You make some offerings, invite them over for lunch, learn what they are all about. If you want to see them again then you do. If not then you politely keep your distance. In the rare case that someone gets violent or starts acting mischievous in an unwanted fashion – you maintain the right to kick their ass.
In short: Be Nice, until it’s time not to be nice.
These days I don’t work with the spirits of the Goetia all that often, but when I do I follow a few simple rules.
1. I avoid the ones that have given me crap, haven’t performed, or just seem to have overly wrathful natures.
2. I give them short term, well defined tasks. If they cannot perform these tasks within the time allotted then that is OK. I just don’t use them again, unless I look back and see how my request was actually unmanageable or unreasonable.
3. I don’t go for the full monty every time. I have a scale of manifestation that I teach in the SS COURSE and I only shoot for as much manifestation as necessary. The level of presence needed to make a request during a spell is relatively small vs. the level of manifestation needed to have a Q and A session. Supernatural phenomena just is not the goal for me anymore. If anything, since the kids came along, I try to limit it as much as possible.
4. While I use the names and sigils from the Goetia, I do not use the evocations and avoid the entire style of pushy “get in here or else” type of evocation. I approach them with evocations that are tailor made for each spirit. I am nice. Unless it is time not to be nice…