Thursday, November 5, 2009

Magick and Spirit - Thoughts About the Spirit Theory of Magick

We have already discussed in great detail the nature of pagan Deity and the nature of human spirituality, and how they are linked and inseparable. We’ve also briefly discussed the magickal use of angels and demons to a practicing pagan ritual magician. What we haven’t discussed in much detail are the rest of the spirits and their use in the practice of ritual magick.

We, of course, are discussing systems of magick that would be labeled invocation and evocation, theurgia and goetia, necromancy, planetary and elemental magick. All of these systems of magick use the Spirit theory of magick, which is to say that they promote a system of causing magickal effects and phenomena through the conjuration and manipulation of various spirits. There are many methods used to perform this type of magick, and the larger body of that lore has its roots in antiquity. If you include the invocation of various gods, goddesses, demigods, legendary heroes and aspects of the higher self, then the entire spectrum of Spirit would be included in these magickal considerations, producing a very powerful operational tool in the hands of the practicing ritual magician.

Spirit magick doesn’t just use and manipulate various spiritual entities as if they were inanimate objects, it also proposes that they are distinct intelligent disembodied beings who exist in a specific time and place. Therefore, spirits are living entities that truly exist, but who may not be perceived by most of humanity. They also have a place of origin, just as do we. This place, which I call the Domain of Spirit, has dramatically changed in the minds of men over the last five hundred years. In the previous epoch, whole continents, mysterious realms underneath the earth’s crust, the ocean’s vast depths or high up in the sky beyond the clouds were places that were essentially unknown to humanity, so they were the perfect places where savants and occultists believed spirits had their residence, a veritable undiscovered country. Spirits, strange and absurd people and fabulous mythological creatures conveniently existed in these little known places. They were believed to be actual physical locations and were capable of being visited by human beings either through extraordinary adventures or supernatural assistance, or so that is how people thought in those times. 

However, in the present post modern age, all of these areas have been thoroughly explored, mapped and placed within a modern scientific context that would seem to exclude spirits, mythical lands and mythical creatures. No one who has his wits about him is searching the world today for the entrance to the underworld, the stairway or ladder to heaven or the kingdom of Prestor John. Modern occultists have found a true geography for the domain of spirit and it is called the Inner Planes. This domain is part of what I call the super-symbolic plane of exalted consciousness, where symbol, myth, legend and language merge to form a cultural matrix of belief and inner experiences, all of which is highly subjective, culturally determined, but also common to all basic human experience. Ritual magicians have direct access to this domain through the magickal process of immersion and astral projection, but indirect access through scrying.

Ritual magicians use the structures of strategic tables of correspondences and the symbolic design of glyphs, lamen and models (such as the Tree of Life, Hieroglyphic Monad, etc.) to produce an operational mechanism to define and qualify spirits within a matrix of belief, symbol and spiritual meaning. Tables containing the names and qualities of various spirits are useful for one primary purpose, to invoke or evoke these entities into something that is consciously intelligible to the ritual magician. Thus, tables of correspondences and spirit lists are an important key to the practice of conjuring spirits.

The purpose for such a magickal operation, though, has changed from the previous epoch. Do we really need to invoke or evoke spirits to help us find buried treasure, quickly transport ourselves or others to distant locations, send messages instantaneously, cure diseases, restore potency or reverse aging when there are quite a number of devices, services and products that already perform that function? Certainly, earth spirits, elemental and talismanic magick can be used to assist one in obtaining material advantages and insights that would obviously help living in the material world. However, the functional use of angels, demons, demigods and other entities is less clear, since much of what these entities can traditionally provide is already pretty well covered by a science driven technology. If we omit the various unethical purposes, such as seducing our neighbor’s wife or daughter, influencing men or women of power (for good or ill) and generally posing as some kind of arcane underworld power broker, then what is left to the original functional uses of angels and demons are the obtaining of occult wisdom and insights unavailable from any other source. This, in my opinion, is the true use for performing magick using the Spirit theory of magick. We seek occult wisdom through the intercourse with spiritual entities, and if we include their symbolic domain and seek immersion within that place, then we can also discover a kind of transformative initiation as well.

There are, then, five basic categories for the operation of spirit magick. While there could be more, I have grouped them into functional categories based upon the kind of magick that their conjuration would produce. Each functional group has a different mechanism and protocol for performing conjurations, so I have decided to group them as aspects of Godhead, Higher Self, Aligned Spirits, Unaligned Spirits and Planetary and Elemental Spirits. Each of these groups represents a completely different kind of magick and discipline to harness them. I have also ordered these entities into groups that have a higher to lower order of power and intelligence, with the bottom two tiers being roughly at about the same level. Let us examine these five groups, discussing the ritual mechanisms for conjuring them and the effect of that conjuration, keeping in mind that this is an organization that I have created as a heuristic device.

Godhead Spirits - These are the gods and goddesses of one’s pantheon or local area. There are also the elder gods of nature (sun, moon, seas, oceans, rivers, earth, etc.) as well as the gods of place and geographic location. Pantheons represent gods and goddesses that are determined by culture, language and also place of origin. Godhead Spirits may be categorized by the Qabbalistic Godhead, or not. One conjures godhead spirits in the most reverential and respectful manner, using liturgical rites and magickal rites of alignment, and these are called godhead invocations (to differentiate them from other kinds of invocations). Included in this group would be exalted demi-gods and honored ancestors. The mechanism of invocation would include paens, orisons, offerings and oblations (sacrifices). Godhead invocation causes a powerful alignment to a specific aspect or characteristic of Deity, even though that aspect of deity may or may not actually manifest.

Higher Self or Personal Godhead - An aspect of Deity that one is personally identified with, and is part of one’s religious and magickal practice. This is the God/dess Within, our own personal Atman through which all manifestations of Deity are experienced. One conjures the higher self godhead through rituals of personal alignment and godhead assumption. Performing such rites assumes that the magician is maintaining a specific personal cult of that godhead, making offerings, orisons and oblations to it, as one would do to one of the godhead spirits. The Bornless One Invocation rite and the Ordeal of Summoning the Holy Guardian Angel are variations on the personal godhead spirit. Godhead assumption, and its various analogous magickal practices, causes one to become consciously aware of the plane of Deity within oneself, producing states of divine ecstasy and the ascension and exaltation of the godhead self over the mundane self.

Aligned Spirits - These are spirits that are aligned to aspects of Deity, such as Super-Archangels (Seraphim/Cherubim), Archangels, Angels (Rulers/Choirs), and Goetic Demons and their servitors. Omitted from my workings (but not the working of others) would be the infernal hierarchy of demon princes. The mechanism for conjuring these entities would be forms of invocation and evocation, or theurgy and goetic evocation. Theurgy would use the methods of empowered incantation (different than godhead invocation) through the associated spiritual matrix, beginning with the Qabbalistic Godhead and proceeding down the hierarchy. The technique that I use for this kind of invocation is to define and express the symbolic matrix that defines the aligned spirit and its specific inner planes domain, and then to use the offerings of sacramental bread and wine as a replacement for the bloody sacrifice, to quicken the spirit into manifestation. For the Goetic Demon, I would use the power of the godhead and angelic hierarchy (along with the HGA or Bornless One, if available), and would include the added ritual actions of constraining (constrictio) and binding (ligatio). The conjuration of Aligned Spirits would be performed principally for the purpose of acquiring occult knowledge, wisdom or illumination through transformative initiation and inter-spiritual dialogue (intercourse).

Non-Aligned Spirits - These are spirits that have no specific alignment to any Deity, and would include various earth spirits, fetches, lesser ancestors, ghosts or shades of the dead, unnamed entities associated with a specific place or geographic features. We could also include other such spirits, like the Angelic Watchers or the Nephilim (watchers who fell to earth and mated with women).  Some of these spirits are manufactured by the magician (certain types of fetches) while others are natural to place and location (or time and place, such as lesser ancestors or ghosts), or simply non-aligned to the powers of light and darkness.  These entities, if they are not generated, respond to a combination of flattery, offerings and coercion. One would use these mechanisms in the conjuring of such spirits, such as using incantations and descriptive invocations to flatter and charm, offerings to powerfully attract and then constraining and binding spells to force them into a position of servitude and cooperation. Non-Aligned Spirits are used for various lesser types of magick, such as divination, necromancy, cursing, magickally coercing commoners or mundane folk, or the finding of things lost or stolen. Angelic watchers would probably not be constrained or bound, but could be summoned, charmed and bribed with offerings. Entities like fetches, some of which are created, have other mechanisms used to formulate, engender and empower them, and then given simple objectives to fulfill. Such entities need to be cared for as if they were human children, requiring frequent periodic feeding and direction. Fetches such as these usually reside in some kind of container (bottle or wine skin) or in magick doll or manikin. They can also assume the form of a small pet (dog, bird, pig or cat, etc.).

Planetary and Elemental Spirits - These are specific entities associated with the seven planets, twelve signs of the zodiac or the four elements. Included within this group would be the Olympian Spirits, non-angelic Planetary Intelligences, non-angelic Zodiacal Intelligences, Elementals, Binary-Planetary Intelligences (Bonarum), and the Talismanic Elementals (Enochian Seniors). Elementals are not be confused with the earth spirits of the same name, since they are actually the Enochian Elementals, consisting of a matrix of the four elements (analogous to the 16 court cards of the Tarot). These entities are much more archetypal than the other spirits, and more rudimentary in their expressive intelligence. These spirits are perfect for performing elemental and talismanic magick, which are magickal processes that directly impact the physical plane and affect one’s greater and lesser personal fortune. The phases of the sun and moon must be carefully considered when working magick with these entities, and locking in auspicious aspects of the lunar cycle (moon sign/house, lunation type, lunar mansion) as well as the sun (zodiacal sun sign and solar season) have a powerful bearing on this kind of magick.

Techniques of invocation common to all of the five spirit groupings use the energy structures of the magnetic vortex and the western underworld gateway, as well as incantations (words of power), symbolic qualifiers (invoking through a matrix) and the assumption of higher states of consciousness (psychic, subtle or causal). The magnetic vortex and western gateway establish the internal temple mystery domain of the spirit, and the symbolic qualifiers define the qualities of that specific domain of Spirit. In addition, one can also use sigils, characters, amulets, incense, various tools and offerings (wine, bread, milk, honey, barley and oil). Techniques of invocation would also include immersion, sacramental quickening, astral projection and scrying, as well as involving arduous periods beforehand for atonement, fasting and purification.

Frater Barrabbas

1 comment:

  1. Greetings Frater Barrabbas,

    I consider you to be a pioneer, a man who blazes his own trail, rather than following others.

    I am, however, a little concerned at the possibility of misinterpretation of part of your blog.

    In the section on Aligned Spirits you wrote that the “infernal hierarchy of demon princes” should be conjured with “invocation and evocation, or theurgy and goetic evocation.”

    Let’s consider a few cases:

    In a classic goetic working, the magickian stands safely within a magick circle, while a demonic entity is evoked into a triangle of manifestation outside the circle.

    In Mather’s version of the Abramelin Operation, at the end of the six months, the magickian stands within the oratory (which has been sanctified through six months of devotions and is thus impregnable to demonic entities), and conjures demons to appear on the terrace or balcony (which is covered with a layer of river sand).

    In the Testament of Solomon, a text dating to between the first and fifth centuries CE, Solomon constrains demons using a magick ring.

    In each case, demonic entities are always kept at arms length. Magickians go to great lengths to ensure their own safety prior to evoking demonic entities. This pervasive constant theme should be carefully noted.

    The only case I am aware of a magickian invoking a demonic entity is that of Crowley invoking Chrononzon, the Demon of Dispersion. But even this case is disputed by some.

    It may be a difference in definitions of terms used, but my understanding is that unless your magickal abilities rival those of Crowley, you should only ever evoke infernal spirits, and never invoke them. Further, the infernal spirits have no place in a theurgical working, as theurgy is a path to union with deity.

    Invocation should be limited to higher entities – deities and angels, as this can lead to positive transformations within the magickian.


    Tony Mierzwicki