As often happens, a discussion from Facebook has hit the blog-o-sphere. This time it is a debate about Spirit Manifestation and the role that following Grimoire instructions to the letter has to play in it.
If you havent been following along already, here is the run down. First Fra.AshenF.:N.:F posted his thoughts. As you can tell from his amazing temple pictures, he is an advocate for a very conservative and by the letter approach to Grimoire work. Followed up by M.C. with two posts on manifestation and the good Rufus Opus presenting a counter argument to Fra Ashen. From there it spreads out. Even Donald Michael Kraig has chimed in.
Before speaking about Evocation specifically, I think its helpful to think about the manner that spirits manifest in magic and mysticism generally
In Strategic Sorcery we talk about five main levels of contact:
1. The first being akin to filling a jar with substance, and is the kind of thing that happens in the LBRP where you visualize the archangels and than invoke them to inhabit those visualizations. You control the appearance and function based on your visualization.
2. Next would be invocation and mental contact. This is very colored by the mind of the mystic and often the spirits will only speak using terms and ideas that are already in your awareness – just arranging them is more useful ways. LOTS of nature spirits like this – see my article Twin Peaks and the Twisted Language of Spirits.
3. Next level is evocation into external appearance. Evocation proper. I will talk more about this in a sec, but unlike level 1, they are controling the appearance and conversation – within the parameters of the rite and ability of the magician. This last bit is key.
4. This is followed by “the full monty” which usually only happens when they want to contact YOU. It involves you probably standing in front of a 50′ high pillar of flame covered in 100,000 eyes and with wings of mercury or something like that. .
5. Finally there is the full appearance as they are, in their natural state which is said to be extremely dangerous, the twelve tone voice that kills of drives men mad and all that…
Of course each of these has levels within it and can blend together.
Keeping this in mind helps keep conversations on target about tech and not drifting into “what I do is the real thing, and what you do is new age crap” territory, which is unfortunately where it often drifts.
Now, with this in mind, lets take a look at the whole physical manifestation issue.
I completely agree with Fra Ashen that it is not an evocation unless there is contact and conversation. I disagree that there needs to be a visual, but hey if you want to define it that way, than I am ok with that, but you need to have a name for what happens when the spirit talks and manifests lots of strange phenomena, but does not appear to the visible eye because that can happen. Not everyone is gifted with site, and some people may experience their primary contact through voice.
I was on the phone with R.O. last night and we were joking around that it wasn’t a real conversation because I couldn’t see him. I guess I should have used skype.
Now, I have done evocation pretty much by the book (well not with Lions belts and virgin spin thread, but with more of the whole show than most people muster) and I tend to agree that it provides more poltregeist phenomena than say using Kraigs Watchtower as the circle and forgoing the traditional tools in favor of your stock ritual tools. I disagree whether the initiations bestowed by the angels or the practical work performed by the spirits (or their legions) is any more effective because of that phenomena.
Certainly, I have experiences things like Garner talks about. Screams, winds indoors, lights that are visible to several people (one of whom was in my living room while I was in another room performing the rite). But I have not only experienced them within the context of evocation.
At a seance I experienced airborn lights and indoor winds circling around us. The work was done at my house, so it was not set up ahead of time.
At a Sodality ritual working the 30th path at the Church of Mystic Light in North Jersey we had the electric blow out, the candles go out, and light descend over us. This was Sandalphon who spoke in a voice that all four of us could hear. I should note that there is nothing more to this kind of rite than some simple prayers and a meditation – it is not even supposed to produce this kind of phenomina.
An evocation of Asteroth outdoors using mullein stalks as candle/incense and an evocation that consisted of nothing but a simple invitation to come and chanting her name over and over again produced a cloud soi thick that it obscured my house that was just 20 feet away/
Simply practicing an Enochian call in my living room in Philly produced nightmarish visions for my wife.
Simple offerings to Takshaka and Varuna (two Naga Kings) on hunter mountain produced rains which stopped on command when we commanded it.
I could go on, but suffice to say that the reality straining phenomina that Fra Ashen is speaking of, gets produced by a lot more than just by the book evocations and I am hesitant to attribute success to an operation because of them. Yes they are a sign that SOMETHING is happening, but not necessarily that something good or useful is happening.
Now, Fra Ashen and some other very conservatives Evokers have equated hacking the grimoire rituals, or departing from the books instructions, as something that produces a less “real” experience and something that people do out of laziness.
It is important to realize that not everyone who performs evocations off script does so because they want it to be easier.
I for instance have serious issues with some of the theology behind many of the Evocations and would rather approach a being classified as a demon from a place of respect than starting off with bindings and harsh words. Don’tr get me wrong – I believe in having the ability to exorcise and making it known – which is why I like the Tibetan method of wearing a wrathful Yidam form when invoking dregs-pa, wrathful or unruly beings. Even benevolent spirits may have such beings in their retinue (or legion if you like).
Also, there is the matter of symbols and such that we don’t really know. Not knowing the origin of some of the tool symbols bugs me. When waving a wand that is marked with the sigils from the Key of Solomon I feel like the symbols probably mean something like “make out of almond wood”. In the past I have discussed my feelings on the word TETRAGRAMMATON on the ebony wand. I think that it would work, because lets face it, magic works to some degree no matter what elements get replaced, but I feel like it was a message to put YHVH on the wand, a word that would traditionally not be written or pronounced in simple instructions. .
There is also the era. Renaissance Mages were not doing things according to the way they were written in the Papyri or old material that they had access too. They were constructing rites (with the help of the angels and divine guidance – these things only work when beings on both sides of the veil are working in harmony) for their time and understanding. I think that we can be doing the same and I would be hesitant to label modifying mages as practicing something less. The proof is in the pudding.
Often magical currents split over time and develop wings that are, for lack of better terms, conservative and liberal. There is a function to each of these, and the only error is when one thinks that the other has no role to play in the ongoing saga of the magic. I think that the work that Grimoire purists are doing is immensely important both in terms of preservation of tradition, and in terms of recovering babies lost in the bathwater tossed during experimentation. But it is not the only work to be done.
In short, if the object is just to make weird crap happen so that you know that the magic is real, than OK. My advice is to do it and get past it. If it is that important to you, than you should start incorporating some paranormal investigating tools into your work and maybe present some hard data.
If however the object is to transform your life – something that certainly Fra Ashen, M.C. and others ARE doing – than recognize that the screams and the light show are not necessarily correlated to that. The feelings of transcendence that he describes at the end of his original post are the REAL indicator of the success of his conjuration and that it is thee actual angel, or at least a very high level “Mall Santa” (spirit in a retinue that can stand in for the archangel or spirit). The thing is that this level of intense and certain transcendence and bliss is produced by other techniques than evocation, and is not dependent upon the light show or poltergeist phenomena.
All parties that have written thus far agree on one thing though: these are not causal experiences that are no big deal. Indeed a true mystical experience, from evocation or other methods, doesn’t leave you wondering whether IT is real. It leaves you wondering whether your normal waking state and perceptions are real. It is a world shaking experience that alters perception forever. Not something to be taken lightly.