Looking to chat up the
72 daemons of the Goetia? Want to summon your favorite egregore --
or better yet, invoke him? Occult author Michelle Belanger offers
insight into the often-marginalized art of spirit summoning. Learn
how to draw spirits out, how to aid in their manifestation, and
how to keep them happy to be working with you. Just be certain you
know who you're really dealing with, and don't forget to read the
Calling up spirits can be a controversial topic. This is largely
because the majority of people who dabble in such work are in no
ways ready to attempt such a thing, and half of the rest of them
have all the wrong reasons to try. The few folk who have had
honest and productive dealings with spirits usually avoid talking
about this because of the stigma established by all the idiots out
I've not often talked openly about my experience with summoning
spirits. But I've done both invocation and evocation. I've worked
with a number of the entities whose sigils appear in the Solomonic
work (Greater and Lesser Keys, etc.,), though I've certainly not
limited myself to them alone.
What I have found is that at the very least an offering must be
made and typically some bargain should be struck if you really
want to work productively with an entity. (I know this is going to
sound a little like dealing with the Devil, but it's probably
where the idea of pacts actually arose from -- and no, there's no
selling of your soul involved in this.)
In order for some of the entities to want to have anything to do
with you, it has to be worth their while. They're just like people
in that respect. Unless they know you really well, you don't get
favors for free. Typically you need to have something they want,
which they probably couldn't easily get elsewhere.
A hard and fast rule on making offerings: never offer anything
that's not yours to give. Now, if someone wishes to donate
something with the full knowledge of what it is being used for,
that's all right. But otherwise never promise anything that you do
not hold full and total personal rights to.
Fortunately, all spirits feed on energy. Most people have an
abundance of this, and it's not that big of a deal to give some of
it away. The highly refined energy of a magickal worker tends to
be particularly yummy to most of the entities you might find
yourself dealing with.
The key here is not to simply say, 'Hey, I'm free lunch!' That
opens the door to all manner of problems (having said, 'take what
you need to heal yourself' to a forest spirit once, let me say it
can be more than you expect). Much like dealings with demons or
djinn as outlined in popular literature, you have to be a real
rules lawyer about the agreement and make certain that every
loophole is observed. Spirits are very literal. They also like to
get what they want. If they can find a way around the limits that
you've set, they will do so -- happily.
Thus, if you're offering energy in exchange for a favor (be it a
chat or something that requires more involved activity on the part
of the spirit) be certain that you set a limit on how much energy
can be taken. Don't let the entity take directly from you, as that
encourages it to make a connection that might turn into a
parasitic attachment later (and those are pesky to get rid of).
Instead, try gathering energy into your hands. Make it a real
offering, something that you set down, apart from you, so it is
fixed and finite. Having a particular bowl or other object that
you've consecrated ahead of time for the purpose, where you
specifically leave the energy helps psychologically to make the
break between the energy and you.
And here is one of the few places that I have made use of blood,
because a blood offering is replete with energy. However, by its
very physical nature, it is a fixed amount and can be very visibly
placed in a vessel and made separate from you. Shedding two or
three drops of blood to help give a spirit the energy it needs to
manifest is not much of a sacrifice, and the blood, if handled
correctly, does not produce an immediate and unbroken connection
Furthermore, I have learned that blood provides a good deal of
power to a spirit -- it has that extra oomph that energy does not,
probably also because of its very physical nature. Given that a
physical manifestation is what a spirit lacks, this makes a good
deal of sense when you think about it.
Offering of yourself to a spirit is dangerous, however, and
something I do not recommend for any but the most advanced
workers. You really have to know the spirit and know that it will
abide by the rules if you want to go this route, and while most
otherworldly entities abide by some set of laws, sometimes the
fact that laws exist and actually knowing how they apply to all
given situations are two entirely different things.
Another offering I've found that Solomonic entities especially
appreciate is the opportunity to interact with the world of flesh.
You see something of this with related entities -- the Loas and
Orishas of Voodoo and Santeria. They are higher level entities, a
couple of steps up on the ladder from humanity, but typically they
cannot incarnate. At some point in time, it may be that they were
incarnated entities. Most of them remember the world of flesh, and
many of them miss it.
So this is where invocation comes in. Invocation is when an entity
is called into a person, as opposed to being asked to manifest
outside, on its own, through evocation.
I typically evoke an entity first and, if I have a particularly
demanding task for it to carry out, I sweeten the deal by offering
it a chance for invocation, so it can ride along with someone.
Sitri, one of the 72 Goetics, and Marbas, one of the same,
especially like this arrangement. Marbas likes playing games and
indulging in other amusements, is fascinated by modern technology,
and has this strange penchant for taking off his shoes and walking
barefoot so he can feel his flesh against the earth. Sitri is more
of a hedonist and just likes to dance and eat sweets. She also has
a tendency to run around half-clothed, which is why it's always
been a good idea to invoke her into a boy.
Now the trick here is to lay out the rules of engagement ahead of
time. The 'ride' will not be a possession. The person being ridden
will be aware at all times and in control of their own actions.
The entity is allowed to suggest activities, but cannot force the
ridden to do anything he or she does not want to. A specific time
limit is set out -- an hour, until sundown, a full day. And the
entity must leave at the end of its free ride in the physical
world. No hooks are to be left in the ridden, no work done to make
them more prone to possession by that or other entities in future.
For invocation I have always used a technique which
(unsurprisingly) has a correspondent technique in ancient Egyptian
magic (if curious, see the Leyden Papyrus). As the one doing the
invoking, I am not the one ridden (there's too much of me in me
anyway to share space with another higher frequency entity). The
old Egyptian technique summons the entity into a virgin boy or
girl (generally just getting into puberty and usually for the
purpose of divining something). I've always used one of our
Counselors, drawn from a certain set of them that was trained in
this work a long time ago.
At this point, it should be noted that in all cases, the person
into whom the entity is invoked should be a willing participant in
the procedure, aware of what the procedure entails, consulted on
the terms of the agreement and trained in such interactions with
spirits. Randomly invoking spirits into the unsuspecting is a
no-no. (I will admit to having done this in the past, when I
wasn't quite so considerate, which is how I know it's a bad idea).
When I've done workings like this, the typical arrangement has
been, 'Go do this for me, and you get to come dance at the club
with us later.' And let me tell you that it's interesting when
otherworldly entities start offering their opinions on Goth music.
Most of the vessels I've employed for this work have been more
than happy to participate and have even enjoyed the experience.
They learned a good deal from the being they hosted, and often
developed an amicable relationship with that entity after the
terms of the agreement were up.
Again, I don't suggest that anyone but an advanced practitioner
attempt such invocations.
Furthermore, the person who is offering their services as a host
should have a good deal of training as well. They especially need
to have a solid sense of self and be able to discern between their
emotions / desires and those of something not them. This is also
why Counselors make good invokers, as due to their natural
empathy, they have had to learn how to draw these lines and block
the feelings of others all their lives.
If you are going to play with spirits you absolutely need to know
how to protect against them, how to remove them from someone if
they get out of hand, and how to banish them from your presence if
they refuse to go away. Additionally, it helps to be able to
communicate clearly with spirits and to have a well-developed
ability to perceive them. This is crucial in such dealings because
you need to know who and what you are dealing with. You need to be
able to tell the difference between one spirit and another,
especially because it is a favorite game of spirits to pass
themselves off as someone you've called strictly for the attention
and energy that working with you will gain them.
If you can reliably distinguish a spirit you know from one that's
trying to pull something over on you, and you can kick ass and
take names if things do happen to go awry, then you can consider
engaging in such advanced activities. But also, make sure you have
a good reason to call up a Goetic or some other being.
Having a spirit's sigil is like having the phone number of someone
you don't really know all that well. You can pick up the phone and
call them and chances are, they will answer. But then you'd best
start explaining why you just got them out of bed and how you're
going to compensate them for their trouble if they go out of their
way for you.
And, to continue the phonebook analogy, be aware that some spirits
have moved and left no forwarding address. So having a sigil does
not guarantee flawless contact. Sometimes there's no connection.
Sometimes you get a busy signal. And sometimes, just sometimes,
you wind up calling someone you had no business to disturb.