Artificial Spirits

By Jason Miller

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Beloved friend, mentor, and initiator of mine, Cliff Pollick, once told me that each of us has our own Magick system that we develop over the years, and that the best thing that each of us can do is to become initiates into one another’s mysteries. Continuing in that vein I would like to talk a little about artificial spirits and their use in Magick.

The use of artificial spirits has become more popular of late due to the influence of Chaos Magick. Those familiar with the works of Pete Carroll and Phil Hine know these sorts of spirits by the name “servitors,” and they are written about extensively in their books. Hine indeed has devoted an entire book to the subject. Typically they are created by the magician using a variety of techniques to visualize a form for the spirit, which is fed energy and given sentience through sigil magick and gnosis-inducing strategms such as orgasm.

Servitors are created for both short and long term purposes. A short-term servitor might be fashioned to serve a single purpose and equipped with a built-in command to self-destruct upon completion of its task. Long-term servitors must be fed energy regularly and can be kept around as familiars. Pete Caroll wisely recommends only keeping four long-term servitors at one time.

While servitors are most often talked about in relation to Chaos Magick, they have been in use long before that. I myself first learned about artificial spirits under the term “Artificial Elementals,” a term that came in vogue during the heyday of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Franz Bardon has perhaps the most extensive treatment of them in his book Initiation into Hermetics. Here, a form is visualized as in the Chaos Magick but is filled with pure Elemental energy channeled from the magician or the environment. The Elemental is than given sentience and purpose by the Will of the magician. The element used is based on what you wish your Elemental to do. A Fire Elemental could liven up your sex life, attack a victim, cause discord, or motivate positive change. A Water Elemental would be able to smooth out tense relationships, relax someone, or bring a lover to you. You’d create an Air Elemental to haunt someone, help the memory, or increase intellect. An Earth Elemental could stabilize a shaky situation, bring in money, or defend your home.

A German Order known as the “Fraternitas Saturnai” used artificial spirits quite heavily in their work; they refer to them as “egregores.” In fact one of the heads of their order is understood to be both a pre-existing entity and an egregore known as “GOTOS” (an acronym for “Gradus Ordinis Templi Orientis Saturnai”) in one. Many of their sex magickal rites are devoted to creating egregores. In fact the Kaula Tantric “ganapuja” feast, known commonly in the west as “The Five M’s,” has been adapted specifically with this purpose in mind. The Five M’s stand for Mansa, Matsya, Mudra, Madya, and Maithuna, that is: meat, fish, grain, wine and women respectively. To see how this group customized the rite for creating egregores, I refer you to Steven Flower’s book Fire and Ice. To see how the rite was done in Tantric circles I recommend reading the Mahanirvana Tantra translated by “Arthur Avalon” (nee: Sir John Woodruff). The influence of Avalon’s translations of Tantric on everything from German Magick to the Gardenarian Witchcraft cannot be overstated.


Artificial spirits are also used in some Wiccan covens and Neo-pagan groups where they are commonly known as “Fetches,” or “Thought-forms.” In this case the manner of their creation is very simple and direct. The creature is visualized, fed energy directly, and given direction by means of a charge. Paul Huson deals with these spirits in his excellent book Mastering Witchcraft. Andrew Chumbley gives their use in the craft an even deeper treatment in his grimoire The Azoetia.

When I first began studying Buddhist Tantra, I ran across a book by the French explorer Alexandria David-Neel called Magicians and Mystics in Tibet. In it she describes her creation of an artificial spirit that she refers to as a “tulpa,” which roughly translates to “mind emanation” in Tibetan. In the story she seals herself up in a cave and concentrates on creating short good-natured monk. After a few weeks, she feels that her monk has become manifest and she leaves the cave. The tulpa follows her on her subsequent travels and is even seen by other members of her party. However he all too quickly takes on a sinister aspect and grows out of her control. She decides to dismantle the monk but accomplishes this only at great effort and risk over the course of several months.

I have been studying Tibetan Tantra and Magick for five years both in the states and in Nepal and have never heard the term “tulpa” used in this manner. In my studies it usually refers to beings in the retinue of Tantric deities that are visualized/invoked in “Generation Stage” Tantra. Whether this worthy woman understood the term correctly or not, we can learn a valuable lesson from her experience. When you leave an artificial spirit to run amok with no defined task, it can get away from you and turn nasty. What to do when this happens will be dealt with later in this article.

Prior to the late 19th century you don’t find much mention of artificial spirits. The old grimoires deal a lot with spirits, but these are all understood to be pre-existing entities. Whether they are or are simple mental manifestations that are evoked is a debate amongst modern magicians, but for the purposes of this article we will assume that when an angel is invoked in the Arbatel of Magick or other such tome, it is actually an angel that responds, not the magician’s psyche. I believe that the creation of artificial spirits has practiced for quite some time just not written about. If summoning and communing with spirits was considered an offence against God by the Christian Churches how much greater an offense would it be to presume to be able to create them!

The only reference I can think of regarding artificial spirits prior to the 19th century is the story of the Golem. In the year 1580, a Kabbalist named Rabbi Loeb is rumored to have created a Golem, an artificial being that worked much the same way as the various artificial spirits discussed above, except that the Golem was physical being. A Christian priest, Taddeush, was planning to accuse the Jews of Prague of ritual murder. Rabbi Loeb heard about this, and to avert disaster, directed a dream question to heaven to help him save his people. He received the following command that happens to be alphabetical (as per the Hebrew alphabet): “Ata Bra Golem Devuk Hakhomer Ve-Tigzar Zedim Chevel Torfe Yisroel.” The literal meaning was: “Make a Golem of clay and you will destroy the entire anti-Semitic community.” Through the Gematric interpretation of this phrase the Rabbi was able to decipher the formula for actual accomplishing that. The Golem was given life by writing one of the names of God, “EMETH” on its head. Stories vary about how the Golem did in its task: some say it went berserk and had to be destroyed;, some say that it killed the priest and was then put to rest. The Golem was de-activated by wiping off the “E” from the name of God, making the word “METH,” which means “dead” in Hebrew. Its body was sealed in a synagogue where it is said to remain to this day. This story became the basis for Mary Shelly’s classic work Frankenstein.

The books mentioned above all contain formulas for creating various types of Artificial Elementals and rather than regurgitate readily available information I refer you to those books. However there is one more type of artificial spirit that has not been discussed so far and that’s one that’s proved to be the most valuable to me over time. It is referred to briefly by Dion Fortune and is called a “Watcher.”

I first began using this type of servitor when I was a just a teenager and experimenting with Astral projection. Denning and Philips recommended the technique as a means of working with the astral body before actually doing astral projection. Rather than using an Elemental energy or other type of magickal fluid to create the basis for the servitor we use our own “astral essence.” The benefit of this is that the servitor can be sent to a specific location or to follow a specific person and record the events. When the servitor is re-absorbed, you receive images, sounds and other sensory input from the servitor’s expedition. In the beginning, I just sent it to random places and experimented with it in jest, for instance having it go to a friend’s house and watch him get ready for school; when it returned I compared the visions I received with what he really had done (drinking milk from the carton? Matt, shame on you!) I would send it home while I was away and see what was going on with what turned out to be surprising accuracy.

In this method, one starts by opening up a temple space via whatever means your tradition calls for, banish heavily. Once positioned in your preferred asana and sufficiently settled into an appropriate state of mind, focus on a point about four finger widths directly below your navel. Focus your attention there as if threading a needle; this will draw the energies of the body to that point. You should than eject a stream of your astral essence from that spot to a point three or four feet in front of you. I usually use place or draw a triangle, such as that used in Goetic workings, under the spot where the servitor is going to manifest. To accomplish the ejection, simply will it to be so. If you are a visually oriented this can be accompanied by visualizing a gray stream of astral matter leaving your body and gathering in the designated area. Contriving visualization however is not the goal here, it is to will it to be done and feel that it is so (when done successfully this should be accompanied by a feeling of lightness; you may also feel slightly drained).

You only eject a small amount of this astral essence and make the servitor small. After gathering the essence in front of you, see the stream or cord that has been feeding it disappear -- it is important not to see it being cut or severed, simply let it fade you’re your attention. Will the mass in front of you into a shape you find suitable. I often make an imp about two feet high with exaggerated sensory apparatus such as big ears, nose and eyes. Address the “Mini-Me” as if it were a separate being and give it a “charge” such as, “It is my will that you enter the girls’ locker room and sneak a peak at Linda. Return to this spot in four hours. So mote it be.”

When the servitor returns, will its form back into an amorphous mass of astral stuff and suck it back into you through the connection under your navel, which was never severed. Then, clear your mind and allow impressions to arise. This is where the real trick is: the degree of success directly relates to the degree to which you can make your mind a blank slate for the servitor’s input to arise. If you normally do some kind of meditation like “shamatha,” where you actively focus the thought on breath or deliberately still the mind, this is NOT the time for it. Instead, just relax into a blank state of mind and passively let thoughts arise and dissolve on their own. Avoid lust of result and any emotional attachment to the idea of the experiment’s success; this will only cause contrived images of what you expect the servitor might have seen to appear.

I encourage testing the servitor’s accuracy by comparing its findings with hard evidence, but only after you have attained some proficiency in the technique; to immediately submit yourself to difficult tests may undermine the self-confidence needed to fully develop the practice. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt for a while and before testing your experiments.

I would like to warn you not to make a servitor in your own image, or for that matter experiment with astral projection techniques where you create simulacra to house your consciousness such as described in the aforementioned Denning and Phillips manual. I have gathered evidence that your consciousness can be trapped in such images or simulacra at the time of death, preventing you from reincarnating or going wherever you may have been going. I don’t really have the space here to discuss the phenomenon at length, but I felt that I should give the warning.

If you are creating artificial spirits I assume that you have the good sense to give them a date when they become inactive or self-destruct, or if they are long-term that you maintain them in such a manner that they don’t run amok as with Alexandria David-Neel's runaway tulpa! However, it may happen that one gets away from you or a colleague. Or a shared servitor begins to be corrupted and used maliciously by one of its creators. Or one is sent by an opponent to attack you. In case of such instances it’s essential to know how to combat and destroy artificial spirits. Much of the information given below can be found in Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self-Defense. But since older books like this seem to have fallen out of favor lately, replaced newer material – much of it largely inferior in my opinion, but easier to read – I’ll repeat some of her most important techniques and throw in some of my own.

* Simple thought-forms can be destroyed them by just thinking them away; imagine them being obliterated. From mind they came and by mind they go. It’s that simple. If you visualize them dissolving and banish, yet they persist, you have got another problem.

* You can fight an Artificial Elemental off or destroy it by trapping it in a triangle and attacking it with the opposing Element through the proper magickal tool. One can also begin to feed it the Element that it is made out of, thus making it stronger but infusing it with your will enabling you to usurp control from its creator. This is slightly more dangerous but has certain advantages such as forming a powerful Magickal Link to your unknown attacker. It’s somewhat difficult, but may prove to be easier than getting hair and fingernail clippings!

* Similarly if the Servitor isn’t composed of any one particular Element but instead is made up of pure energy, you can attack with your Elemental Weapons just the same. In both cases however such drastic measures are not normally called for, the simple exorcisms found any grimoire usually do the trick.

* If all the above fails, you may be dealing with a servitor that is being driven directly by the life-force of its creator. If this is the case you can absorb it into yourself and thereby the life-force of the being itself. To do this extreme type of operation you must have completely identified your own spirit and Will with that of the Universe itself; any trace of ego will disrupt the operation. Samekh is one form of this identification, Anutara Tantra is another, “calling down the moon is another” (if you are not already familiar with these techniques, you are not ready to use them!) Once in one of these states, summon the troublesome spirit before you and draw it into yourself, enveloping it and assimilating it into your own divine nature. Follow up by destroying any trace of it left with standard banishings.

Artificial spirits have been of great benefit to me in the past. One was created to find an apartment in Philadelphia and it brought me to one that fit my every specification within an hour! Another member of Thelesis Camp used servitors to haunt a noisy neighbors like ghosts to get them to move; they were out in less than two months. I once used a Water Elemental to bring me a mate that fit a particular description, and she turned up in amazingly short order. I bring up these examples not to brag but to inspire others to experiment and use this magick to improve themselves and their world.

 

 

 

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