Monday, February 22, 2010

Some Variations on Evoking Demons

“Evoking demons, let me count the ways.”

After much research and study I have found that there are at least several ways in which one may approach the evocation or conjuring of Goetic demons - the famous 72 spirits that are part of the Goetia of the Lemegeton (Lesser Key of Solomon). The basis of this variation has to do with one’s personal spiritual perspective and practices. Obviously, a Thelemic magician is going to perform this operation differently than a Christian magician, or a pagan witch, or even a demonolator. Each different type of magician will have a different methodology and belief system as to how this operation should be accomplished. I suspect that there are probably other variations as well, since the moment something is stated about ritual or ceremonial magick, someone comes along to propose either exceptions or additions. Nevertheless, here is my opinion on this topic. I have chosen seven different categories that I believe represent the majority but not all of the variations.

The list represents a gradation from the morally and ethically aligned Christian white-magician magus to other forms of spiritual alignment, such as that adopted by neopagans, down to the demonolator and Christian diabolist, who are powerfully aligned to the demonic hosts. The list is a study of a progression from what could be called white light to forms of dark magic. 

1. Christian magus who practices only lawful forms of magic. Commands and evokes demonic spirits as hostile entities, forcing and coercing them into performing marginally ethical deeds, through the power and authority of the Christian God, Jesus, saints and archangels. The magus spends a great deal of time in pious religious activities and must maintain a high degree of spiritual and moral rectitude. The ambiguity of even trafficking with demons makes the magus susceptible to potential infernal corruption and charges of heresy by the religious status quo. 

2. Christian who practices Afro-Brazilian/Cuban/Haitian religious and magical traditions. He has a double allegiance to both the Christian pantheon and the Loas or Orishas, and must maintain a balance between them. Normally, specialists perform evocations of demons for either themselves or clients, using the virtues of the Christian pantheon and African demigods to balance demonic workings. Demons are usually treated as emissaries of chthonic deities, and as such, require a more respectful handling and dealings. Use of demons represents an ethical ambiguity, and some practitioners consider it black magic or an illicit European practice, others have no problem with their use.

3. Neopagan who practices a form of either Thelema, Wicca, Hermeticism, Egyptian/Greek/Celtic reconstructionism or some other variation where the pantheon is not chthonic. Practitioner performs a godhead assumption and through that guise, performs the evocation of demons. Summoning demons is considered to be an unusual activity, therefore, of a variable risk; where some are deemed good and some are dangerous. They are typically treated with respect and carefully applied to for very specific kinds of workings.

4. Neopagan who practices a form of Chthonic paganism, establishing a specific cult of dark magical practices. Such an individual may be a follower of traditional witchcraft (non Gardnerian), Afro-Brazilian/Cuban/Haitian paganism or one of the reclaimed pagan traditions from antiquity. Demons are considered to be servitors of the chthonic godhead and are summoned/evoked through their power and authority.

5. Spiritually neutral - the practitioner can be of any spiritual tradition, but performs the evocation of demons through a matrix and hierarchy of angelic spirits. Demons are defined as part of a spiritual hierarchy that includes angels, with the corresponding belief that demons and angels are just two halves (light and dark, yin and yang) of one common spiritual source (unity of being). Demons are treated with respect because they represent possible stochastic forces, but are dealt with as individuals, just like the angels. This hierarchal system is based on astrology, since the demons are thought to be inverse powers/intelligences associated with the zodiacal decan and quinarian.

6. Demonolatry - the practitioner has completely reclaimed the entire system of demonic and infernal spirits and elevated it to the level of godhead and spiritual emissaries. The godhead may be occupied with chthonic pagan deities or variations on obvious satanic deities. All such spirits are treated with reverence and given offerings, oblations and orisons. This system can actually be more religious than magical. Demons are never evoked or ever coerced - they are bribed to do the bidding of the operator.

7. Christian diabolist who practices forms of black magic and may either worship Satan or has a binding pact (lawful agreement) with him. Commands and evokes demons through the infernal hierarchy, treats demons as servitors, who must do the will of magician because of the pact. The pact can be an elaborate agreement or it can be as simple as a blood bond. There is little need to maintain any degree of ethical conduct or sanctity, since the diabolist is free (and even encouraged) to indulge in all of his darker urges.

So these are the seven categories of demonic evocation that I have come across either talking to individuals or reading alternative materials. Like I said, there are probably other variations as well. For myself, I would fit into categories 3, 4 and 5, being a practitioner of Wicca, chthonic paganism and working through a neutral spiritual hierarchy.

Frater Barrabbas

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