Evocation without Sniffles
by Phil Hine
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The term evocation means 'to call forth' and it is used to
describe all magical techniques which serve to bring forth some
kind of entity into a defined space, such as a bottle, crystal,
triangle, or simply a visualised form which has shape and
character. The practice of evocation has generally come to be
associated with the so-called 'demons' of grimoires such as the
Keys of Solomon, and has, in some quarters, acquired a dubious
reputation. When you evoke a spirit, it is usually to get it to
perform some kind of 'task' for you. Such pragmatism is seen as
'unspiritual' and therefore an act of 'lesser magic.' In other
quarters, evocation is similarly frowned on, as it is felt that
magicians should not 'order' spirits about. Neither arguments are
convincing, and evocation is a very useful magical technique
which, once the basic elements of it has been grasped, has
One the consequences of this approach to working with Spirits is that it is easy to adopt the belief that 'spirits are everywhere.' There is a common tendency for magicians to fall into the trap of thinking that the various spirits Gods, Demons, Allies, Faeries etc can only be contacted in strict magical situations and not at other times, and also, that they are there solely for our convenience and have no existence other than in our own heads. So what other forms and circumstances might have spirits associated with them? Again, in response to situations developing, I have begun to view some behaviours, attitudes, and beliefs, as Spirits in the sense of memes - ideas that take on an independent existence of those who carry them, and in some senses, behave like viruses - propagating themselves through human hosts. I have, for example, considered 'Addiction' to be a Spirit, and have in one or two cases 'barred' the Spirit of heroin addiction from certain houses.
Another development of this approach has been to look at Tarot Cards as a structure for defining Spirits. I've often noted how two people can own the same deck of Tarot cards, yet each pack is subtly different from the other. When you get a new pack, it very much has a 'virgin' feel to it, and needs to be broken in. I've started to look recently at well-used Tarot Packs as a collection of Spirits that arise from the user interacting with the cards. If you can adopt the belief that a Tarot card has a spirit attached, then by extrapolation, it follows that all copies of that card in existence have some kind of spirit attached to them, and that you call 'summon' these spirits using your card.
Another point in relation to Spirits is that we are magically conditioned into thinking of Spirits in terms of the 4 classical elements - Fire, Water, Earth and Air. But what of the 'new' elements - petrol, electricity, nuclear power? What Spirits arise from these processes, and can we interact with them?
A Servitor is an entity consciously created or generated, using evocatory techniques, to perform a task or service. In the Western Esoteric Tradition, such entities are sometimes referred to as 'Thought-Forms', whilst in Tibetan magic, for example, they are known as 'Tulpas'. Servitors can be usefully deployed to perform a wide range of tasks or functions on your behalf.
Servitors can be created to work with one particular situation or event or, alternatively, Servitors can be created which have a general provenance in one area, such as healing.
There are a number of advantages to using more generalised Servitors. Firstly, they can be regarded as 'expert' systems which learn from being given a task to execute - as if the more healing tasks you give a servitor, the better it seems to become at healing. Secondly, continued use of the Servitor, with successful results, builds up "confidence" in it's activity on the part of those who use it. With a more generalised Servitor, anyone who knows its activation sequence (such as a mantra, sigil, or visualisation sequence) can employ it to work at a given task. One example of this form of Servitor is the entity ICANDOO. ICANDOO ("I-can-do") was created at an open group workshop in Servitor creation. The name of the Servitor was also its mantra for summoning it, and it's general brief was to assist those who used it for overcoming any obstacles that crossed them. ICANDOO was created by a group of 12 people, and all of them used the Servitor throughout the day, to assist them with problems of one sort or another. In the design sequence, the Servitor was given the ability to divide itself holographically, so that each segment contained the powers and abilities of the original entity.
On a still further level of generalisation, you can create Servitors who have no specific function or provenance, saving that they serve to increase the success of one's own magics. Such servitors can be used in both major and minor acts of magic, and are particularly useful in acts of enchantment, divination, or illumination. An example of such a Servitor is GoHu, which was given the appearance of a black, slightly concave, mirror. Activated by visualisation and mantra, GoHu was used as a receptacle into which were projected sigilised desires & other enchantments. By changing the angle of orientation to it's surface, it could be visualised as though it were a bowl, out of which ideas and images floated, and I often mentally activated it prior to using divinatory systems.
It is generally held that each usage of a Servitor serves to 'feed' it, and that each result which is rated as a success, serves to enhance it's power. It is also a good idea to get into the habit of attributing any occurrences within the sphere of activity of that Servitor, to it's work. This can lead to problems, though. In 1992 I created a Servitor called "Eureka." It's given sphere of activity was that of Illumination - inspiration, new ideas, the boosting of creativity and brainstorming in general. Initially, the Servitor exceeded all my expectations of it's performance. I used it to stimulate new ideas for writing, lecturing and facilitating seminars & workshops. With a colleague, it became a focus for brainstorming - acting as a Third Mind arising from conversation. Each time we made a creative leap, or an idea formed became something workable in practice, the power of the Servitor was boosted. In 1993, the activity of Eureka was linked with the Neptune-Uranus conjunction with the result that, on April 22nd, as Neptune & Uranus began to retrograde, Eureka went "off-line."
The immediate result of this was that I suddenly found it much
harder to get into a flow of creative thinking. It seemed that
Eureka had become such a dominant element in the dynamics of my
own creative process that, once it was removed, I found it much
harder to get into the appropriate frame of mind. I had become
dependent upon the Servitor. Eventually, the Servitor was recalled
and disassembled in such a way that a 'splinter' of it's original
power survived as a focus for illumination. Having been made wiser
by this experience, I only occasionally use this fragment of the
original servitor as a focus for creativity.
It is possible to instruct Servitors to replicate or reproduce themselves. Approaches to this include instructing the Servitor to replicate itself as a form of cell-division, replication which follows cybernetic or viral parameters, or to create a servitor which 'gives birth' according to particular parameters, such as time-units, astrological transits, or each time the target of the Servitor carries out a particular behaviour. An early test of this concept was that of a Servitor despatched to assist in the recovery of property being withheld from it's owner. Once a set deadline had been passed, the Servitor began to generate a field of 'confusion' - lost keys, electrical blowouts & other minor but annoying problems. After a second set deadline, the Servitor began to replicate itself, so that the confusion field generated was intensified. As soon as the recipient of the Servitor returned the property he had been withholding from it's owner, the Servitors ceased to function. Evidence of the Servitors' action - the intensification of minor problems escalating into strange poltergeist-type phenomenon, was gathered by talking to associates of the target.
Viral Servitors are particularly appropriate for long-term
enchantments, such as increasing the probability of one's magic
being successful, or being used in healing & general protection
SERVITOR DESIGN SEQUENCE
1. Define General Intent
The first step in designing a Servitor is to decide the general sphere of influence into which your intention falls, such as healing, protection, binding, harmony, luck, divination, mood enhancement, success in ...., and so forth.
Defining your general intent will assist you if you wish to use
symbols & magical correspondences in creating your servitor. For
example, if you were interested in creating a servitor to act
within the sphere of Healing, then you could assemble any
associations, symbols, emotions, memories, etc which you relate to
the concept of Healing. By consulting a book of magical
correspondences such as '777', you could build up chains of
correspondences - planetary figures, scents, colours, planetary
hours etc. How far you go in this direction is very much a matter
of personal choice.
2. Defining Specific Intent
Here, you are creating the core of the Servitor's purpose the Statement of Intent which is analogous to the Servitor's aetheric DNA. Formulating the Servitor's Statement of Intent may necessitate a good deal of self-analysis into your motivations, desires, realistic projections of goals, etc. As in all sorcery operations, it is appropriate to ask advice from your preferred form of divination. To continue the example of a Healing Servitor, an appropriate Statement of Intent might be:
"To promote rapid recovery and health in ...(name)..."
Once you have determined the appropriate Intent to form the
basis of your Servitor, then the Statement can be rendered into a
sigil, or glyph..
3. What Symbols Are Appropriate to the Servitor's Task?
There is a wealth of magical & mythic symbols which you can
draw upon when creating a servitor, which can be used to represent
different qualities, abilities and attributes. There is also the
symbolism of colour, smell, sound & other sensory media to draw
upon. In order to refine the 'program' which forms the basis for
your servitor further, you could embellish the sigil by adding
The above illustration shows the 'program' of a Healing Servitor. Its core sigil has been placed within a hexagram, and the number 7 has been added to it. Here, the hexagram represents balance, health, life enhancement and Solar qualities, also forming the elemental symbols of Fire (representing healing fire, the burning up of fever) and the elemental symbol for Water (representing expulsion of toxins through sweat, calming influences). The number 7 represents the idea of harmony, and also represents the duration of the Servitor's operation.
The entire figure forms the 'instructions' for the Servitor
which will be visualised as forming a part of it, during it's
4. Is there a Time Factor to Consider?
Here, you should consider the duration of the Servitor's operation. In other words, do you want the Servitor to be 'working' continuously, or only at specific periods? Here, you may wish to take into account phases of the moon, astrological conjunctions or planetary hours, for example, which could be added into the Servitor's symbolic instructions. The Healing Servitor above for example, was instructed to be active for a period of seven days, affecting it's target recipient for seven minutes, at seven hour intervals. This instruction serves to reinforce the number symbolism & association with harmony.
It is also at this point that you should consider what happens after the Servitor has performed its task. It is generally held to be preferable that when a Servitor has completed its task, the Servitor should be disassembled by its creator. There are two approaches to doing this. Firstly, one can encode a "self-destruct" instruction into the Servitor at the time of it's creation, where the duration of its existence is defined in terms of the duration of its task, or the fulfilment of a specific condition.
For example, the Healing Servitor could be defined so that it's sigilised Statement of Intent is:
"To promote rapid recovery and health in ...(name)...working
at 7/7/7 intervals, the sum of which is the spell of your life."
The other approach to disassembly is to perform a ritual
'reabsorption' of the Servitor, mentally drawing it back from it's
task, taking it apart by visualization, taking back the original
desire which sparked it's creation, and taking apart or destroying
any material base which you have created for it. Whilst classical
occult theory has it that if you do not look after your
thought-forms, they will wander around the astral plane annoying
people, there is good psychological sense for terminating the
'life' of Servitors which have completed their assigned task -
that you are reclaiming responsibility for that desire-complex
which you used to create the Servitor.
5. Is A Name Required?
The Servitor can be given a name which can be used, in addition
to its sigil, for creating, powering, or controlling it. A name
also acts to further create a Servitor's persona. A name can
reflect the Servitor's task, or be formed from a mantric sigil of
it's Statement of Intent. The example Healing Servitor was given
the name TUMMYHUM, a rather whimsical reference to its function.
6. Is a Material Base Required?
The Material base is some physical focus for the Servitor's existence. This can help to define the Servitor as an individual entity, and can be used if you need to recall the Servitor for any reason. Examples of a material base include bottles, rings, crystals, small figurines as used in fantasy role-playing or figures crafted from modelling compounds. Bodily fluids can be applied to the material base to increase the perceived link between creator and entity. This is very much a matter of personal taste. Alternatively, the Servitor can remain freely mobile as an aetheric entity. I tend to find that one-shot, task-specific servitors can be left as aetheric entities, whilst for entities which have more of along-term use, a material base is often helpful. For others, it might be possible to link their use to a specific, identifiable, state of consciousness, which forms part of the core associations which one builds up for a Servitor.
It is also possible to link a Servitor to a specific smell,
such as a perfume or essential oil, so that each time the oil is
applied, the Servitor is activated. This can be particularly
useful when creating Servitors for general Healing, Protection, or
enhancement of a particular mood. A dab of the perfume can be put
onto the Servitor's material base, and the perfume should be
inhaled during the launch of the entity.
7. Is a Specific Shape Required?
Servitors can be created to have any desired shape, from tiny
homunculi to morphic spheres capable of extruding any required
appendage. The shape you choose to identify with this particular
thought-form can add another level of representational identity to
the entity. A common practice though, is to visualize the Servitor
as a featureless sphere, pulsing with energy, glowing with
appropriately chosen colours, into which has been impressed, it's
WHAT'S GOING ON?
Leaving aside sub-quantum speculations, mathematics and dribble
about cosmic archetypes, it does seem to me that one of the 'keys'
to evocation is the process of identifying a desire-complex and
giving it shape, form, a seperate identity and a job to perform.
This is not to suggest that such Spirits are entirely subjective
events or externalised obsessions. Some of the contributing
factors in Human/Spirit interactions are:
1. An Altered State of Consciousness
This can range from anything between a momentary suspension of
thinking, to extreme stress, to the action of psychotropics.
2. Contextual Coherence
I use this term to examine the broad context within which the
Human/Spirit interaction occurs. There does seem to be a link
between the historical 'life' of a Spirit and the degree of
seeming independence it manifests as possessing. We can, for
example, identify short-life Spirits (such as Servitors) which are
assembled from the identification of desire/purpose with a set of
references such as a sigil, name, mantra and material base.
Longer-life Spirits would be any entity identified within the
context of a mythological belief-system, or any entity associated
with (either directly or tangentially) a particular locality or
geographical feature. Deities who have been around for thousands
of years often come across as 'old' compared with their operators,
whilst the spirits of rock strata are truly ancient!
3. A Referential Framework for Interpretation
This relates to point 2, but focuses on the human ability to
interpret an experience as one thing or another. The magician
generally has a great advantage over other people in that we have,
through experience, evolved referential frameworks for
interpreting Spirit interactions. Thus, when we deal with a
Servitor for example, we 'know' what we are working with, and
therefore contain the experience within a particular set of
limitations. Expectations do play an important role in what we
actually experience. A colleague of mine, when a UFO researcher,
had several encounters with 'alien' phenomena. After shifting his
frame of reference to encompass the "Earth-lights" hypothesis, he
reported that his experiences began to conform to that belief - he
no longer saw 'aliens,' but instead, manifestations of Earth
What should also be considered in this regard is the anthropomorphic tendency - an important factor in human/Spirit contacts is the degree of 'Personality' that spirits are allowed, or perceived, to have. Whilst some classes of Spirits are associated with a high degree of human personality traits - their own desire/will complex, for instance - others, like Servitors, may be construed to be no more than Artificial Intelligence systems - sentient, but not particularly intelligent. All Spirits can be said to have some degree of sentience, which at a basic level, may be no more than the 'desire' to maintain system coherence. Steven Hawkings has recently stated that self-propagating computer viruses may be considered as 'living' systems.
Where does this Spirit persona arise from? In an earlier
examination of this subject, I posited "the Neuromancer Effect,"
noting that an AI in William Gibson's "Neuromancer" needed to
create human personalities for itself in order to 'talk' to
humans. This, I feel, is apposite to Spirit-human interactions.
The degree of interaction does seem to relate to our ability to
regard the Spirit as a separate personality. This factor may go
some way towards accounting for the communications which Spirits
make to us - particularly as there does seem to be an overlap, in
many cases, between the human ego and the nature of the
Magicians generally work with Spirits under will, as it were.
However, it would be narrow thinking indeed to construct theories
of Spirit interaction which do not cover unintentional encounters,
which the vast majority of human-spirit interactions seem to be.
This could range from encounters with Ghosts, UFOnauts, wandering
The degree of affinity that one has with a Spirit is also important. One area where this can easily be discerned is in our relationship with Deities - which tends to be highly personal and often, difficult to explain to outsiders. Alternatively, we might only regard a Servitor as little more than a mobile AI or TSR-type computer program, and thus have little emotional investment in it. Affinity relates not only to Ego-attachment but also the unique experiences which we have in relation to a particular spirit. Whilst the desire to launch a demon may well stem from an ego-attachment, we do not usually feel an affinity for demons in the same way that we might regard a Spirit Guide or Familiar.
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