This is a three part series that outlines the history and evolution of my ritual based system of performing invocation and evocation. While this might be a rather long winded narrative about my discoveries and how I deployed new techniques to accomplish this task, I thought that it should be told so that others might know that learning magick is an incremental process. What that means is that you don’t just come up with the definitive method the first time you attempt to develop something new. Often the first approach is the least fruitful, and that it takes numerous other attempts to find the best way to achieve the desired objective. This is really quite true in the area of ritual and ceremonial magick, since there is less of a documented or standardized methodologies in those traditions for invoking higher order spirits, such as angels and demons. Having to invent your own methodology to invoke these spirits is not an unreasonable objective, although it is much more difficult if you go far from what is considered a traditional methodology. Here is my story and these are the techniques that I developed over a period of thirty years.
In a previous article (Fool’s Journey vs Hero’s Journey), I had discussed that the archetypal underworld cycle of the hero is also the pattern of transformative initiation, and that one triggers the other. This is a very ancient theme, which might have its roots back in the eons before history, since it also characterizes the same initiatory and healing pattern that the quintessential Shaman undergoes.
Through this mechanism, the seeker is able to enter into a psychic domain of ancient and archetypal collective images, symbols and the very essence of how human beings define their world. (This is what Jim Morrison meant when he said, “he took a face from the ancient gallery and he walked on down the hall.”) We unwittingly enter this world when we dream or fanticize, but there are deliberative techniques to enter into this domain that have been used since the apparent beginning of our species, and these techniques involve deep trance states induced through ecstasy. Additionally, there are many ways of triggering ecstasy, whether they are achieved chemically or through various physical disciplines, or a combination of both. The end result is practically the same, although each technique has its benefits and hazzards. One could easily label this process a kind of theurgic ordeal, and indeed it is.
The domain that such seekers desire to gain entrance into is none other than the place of spirits; whether the spirits in question are gods, goddesses, demigods, ancestors, angels, demons or nature spirits isn’t relevant since they all reside contiguously in the same reality. It is a mutable world where seekers can perceive and communicate with spirits, and a place where thought becomes form and form becomes thought. Yet the themes and symbology of this compelling spirit world can and should be incorporated into a system of magick and liturgy that gives the practicing Pagan or Wiccan access to it.
Also, pagan practitioners of any kind of magick that seeks to summon spirits should approach them with the same reverence and worshipful respect regardless of their status within the spiritual hierarchy. This means that we should approach a Godhead with the same reverence as we would approach our ancestors, demigods, or even other spirits, such as angels, demons, or nature spirits. We are able to approach them through our own spiritual intermediary, which is our familiar spirit, genius, higher-self or holy guardian angel. Not to approach such spirits with this important attitude of religious veneration (especially if they are demons or neutral nature spirits) is to invite such spirits to respond to us in a hostile and inimical manner. This perspective demonstrates the pronounced difference between how Pagans and Wiccans would approach such an operation as the invocation of a spirit as compared to the typical adherent of the Abrahamic faiths. This is because Pagans and Wiccan don’t work through a dualistic world-view of good and evil.
Therefore as pagan religionists, we need to first fortify and empower our relationship to the God/dess Within in order to gain entrance into the world of spirit, since that higher-self attribute is the key to the world of the spirits. Without it we can neither perceive spirits or immerse ourselves in their domain, since it is the preeminent psycho-spiritual mediator. Once the spirit familiar is activated and absorbed (or drawn down) into our being as our own personal Godhead, then we can fully encounter the gateway of the spirit world through an application of ecstatic trance techniques and the symbolic tropes that set the mood and theme of the working.
In the practice of ritual magick, we can also build up prismatic energy structures that give substance and a kind of magical reality to the themes of entering the spirit world. Such themes use the symbolic structures of the consecrated circle, the spiral vortex, the cross-roads, the double tetrahedral gateway (aligned to both the West and the East) and the inner circle, which represents the hidden domain of the spirit itself. Through a combination of these prismatic energy structures, Godhead assumption, ecstatic trance and the activation of the matrix of symbolic correspondences associated with the target spirit, a successful and tangible encounter with that spirit within its spectral domain is achieved.
This is the methodology that I discovered and developed over a period of several years of experimentation, and it was forced on me because I couldn’t figure out how to activate either the Golden Dawn methodology or the old grimoire ceremonial methodology. I created a new path because I was too impatient to figure out how the old methodologies could be employed, and I didn’t have a teacher to assist or guide me. I did have some handicaps such as the time period (late 70's), my youthfulness, my lack of available books or teachers, and the fact that I was using traditional witchcraft as my foundation. The various traditional systems of ceremonial magick available to me were not inherently compatible to the practices of traditional witchcraft, so I invented a new system instead, using the scant available materials and my own imagination. You can find a rather nicely written detailed overview of this methodology in an article that I wrote in June of last year (Mystery Gateway - Realizing An Invocation), and if you are unfamiliar with my methodologies, then I would recommend that you review it before getting too much further into this article.
My first approach to building a ritual system that would enable me to perform the invocation and evocation of various spirits employed an extension of the same methodology that I had earlier developed for talismanic planetary magick. I could have just used the ritual structure of a magnetic vortex as a spirit trap and then attempted to summon the spirit within it. This would have forced me to engage in a possible endless series of callings and potential dismissals, while subjecting the target spirit to a kind of Qabalistic interrogation to ensure that what answered the summoning was indeed the spirit that I desired to invoke. However, I declined to take this easier route and chose instead to focus on building up a regimen for invocation and evocation that actually generated the spirit, both its energy body and intelligence.
I also knew at that time that I could fashion an energy sphere of the appropriate kind of elemental energy using the power octagon, and within that energy field, define all seven of the planetary attributes of the spirit’s intelligence employing the artifice of the septagram. I would then fuse the elemental body with the seven-fold planetary intelligence through the artifice of a western aligned tetrahedral gateway, and unify the body and mind of the spirit as well as enter into the domain of that specific spirit. From previous experiments, I knew that an application of sacral host fragments and wine could also function as a method for quickening and fortifying the material form of the spirit (similar to an animal sacrifice). Yet the very core of this technique relied on a method for gaining an ecstatic trance state, which used a form of hyperventilation that I called the Lotus 7-breath. I experimented with the various aspects of this ritual based methodology for three years (from 1977 through 1980), and then was able to perfect it by experimenting for a few more years. By 1983, I had a fully matured ritual system for performing invocations, even though it was rather idiosyncratic and opaque to those not intimately schooled in my methodologies.
However, the one glaring weakness of this new system was that every spirit invoked would have its own custom ritual. I would have to research and determine the elemental and planetary attributes for every single spirit that I would attempt to invoke using this methodology. This may have been acceptable for some very important and strategic spiritual entities that I needed to invoke and who also functioned as my spiritual guides and emissaries, but such a flaw would have made a comprehensive system used against a full hierarchy of spirits completely untenable. Using this methodology would have forced me to have written a unique custom ritual for every single spirit in my hierarchy. If you consider that my spiritual hierarchy consists of a total of 255 spirits (not including the spirits of the Goetia-Theurgia) then writing a unique ritual for each of them would have been a monumental project. I would still be working on it today and I would hardly be anywhere near completing it, since I would constantly be discovering a new set of spirits to add to that collection. So using custom rituals for each and every spirit was definitely not the way to proceed with this new magical technology.
Thus, as I proceeded to develop this system I discovered, at strategic intervals, a simpler and more direct method for performing an invocation. I also learned to use a symbolic matrix to classify specific spirits within my spiritual and magical hierarchy. Using the thematic mixture of specific symbols of correspondences and employing them at certain points within a generalized and modular system of ritual magick allowed me to write and perform rituals that were much more concentrated and far less complex. It also allowed me to have fewer rituals within my repertoire, which I have found is a very important attribute for any aspiring ritual magician.
The evolution of this system of invocative magick had basically three levels, and each is still being used by me (and the Order) as part of an overall methodology. These three levels can be labeled by the rituals used or the techniques employed. My first methodology was to perform an invocation employing the Quintedecim Complex (elemental octagon and planetary septagram) and the Gate of Revealing. The second method was where I learned to invoke through a symbolic matrix, and the third and final method that I discovered was a technique that I call the archetypal gate mechanism.
All of these methods use the basic ritual structures of the magick circle, the spiral vortex (using the Rose Ankh device), the elemental octagon, the inner circle, the planetary septagram (for all seven planets or just the ruling planet), the lesser hexagram and superior pentagram devices (to define an astrological sign) and the tetrahedral gateway. The mass and benediction rites are used to charge and sacralize the temple as well as provide the sacraments. A few of them also employ the cross-roads pylon vortex, the trapezoid (as the prismatic structure of the trapezohedron), an eastern aligned tetrahedral gateway, or even an inverted tetrahedral gateway (for so-called infernal spirits).
Each of these different methods have their own select and targeted spiritual hierarchy that they invoke. The custom built Quintedecim Complex is used for important spiritual avatars and elected leaders of the spiritual hierarchy, and the others are invoked either through the symbolic matrix of correspondences or some variation of the archetypal gate. I think that it would be beneficial to examine each of these techniques and write an overview of each so as to fully expound on my methods for performing the invocation and evocation of spirits. We already covered the Quintedecim Complex in a previous article, so I will spend more time discussing the other two techniques.