Why Evocation?   12 comments

Greetings Seekers of Magick!

I decided to check in on Brother Moloch’s Evocational Magics forum tonight, and I came across an interesting post that asked a very good question:  Why Evocation?  I think you folks might be interested in my response, so I’m posting it here as well.  🙂

First, here are the relevant parts of the original post:

I’ve never actually seen the need to evoke anything though. Simpler methods (sigils, natural magic, improvisations using familiar tools/symbols, etc) have always sufficed to solve the problems I’ve faced. I’m now looking at workings that will probably involve entities…

So, I guess I’m asking whether you’re working with these entities because:
– You’re called to do so

– It’s part of your basic toolkit, like rootwork might be in someone  else’s toolkit

– There are some things that require spiritwork, like RO talking about how his sphere resonates with the sphere of the entities he evokes, which leads to personal change and growth.

So why do you evoke? Or, perhaps a more interesting question: why should someone like me, who’s never performed an evocation, seriously consider it?

And here is my response:

Historically, “magick” was all about working with spiritual entities. (You had Astrology, Alchemy and Magick respectively.) Even simple spells, incantations, rootwork, etc all involed the participation of one’s familiars or  patron gods/spirits, etc. Going all the way back to tribal shamanism, the initiation into magick was focused upon introducing you to your familiars and patrons – then it was the spiritual entities who taught you the real magick. All  the spells and incantations you use today (or even the art of using them) were delivered originally to shamans by the spirits.

The idea that magick can work without the direct involvemnt of spirits is a modern one, and in my personal opinion it is a step down. 😉

The art of spirit work is the art of knowing how to interact with spiritual entities and get them to work wirh/for you. How to contact them, how to make proper offerings to them, how to secure their cooperation. Even the Keys of Solomon are focused primarily on teching one how to contact the spirits, then the real magick is left up to you and them.

Also don’t make the all-too-common mistake of thinking evocational magick is just “another option” of magickal practice. What I mean is that students often think that one can use spells, talismans, incantations, etc OR evoke spirits.  And, in that vein, the way one works magick with spirits is to simply call them up and request what you want. That’s not how it works.

Instead, one evokes a spirit to ask HOW to get what you need. In response, the entity may give you instructions for a talisman, a ritual, rootwork, an offering, an incantation etc, etc. Then you perform the given spell (or whatever you were instructed to do) with the assistance of the entity to achieve your results.

Why evocation? Because it is how magick really works. 😉


Posted March 15, 2013 by kheph777 in magick

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12 responses to “Why Evocation?

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  1. Thanks Aaron! I agree. In my experience, spirits can teach, or help one intuit the right way to go about things, or even somehow cause coincidences to happen so that one can find out what one was looking for. Could you perhaps expand on the difference between spirits, and the “thought forms”, “egregore”, form of magic(k).


  2. Hi Aaron! Awesome answer, I would like to put a link to this on one of my facebook pages if that is okay. Also, I would like to take a shot at answering a related question: Why would these spirits celestial, “demonic” or otherwise WANT to help? My answer is: have you ever called up a friend or acquaintance to ask them a question or for help with something for which they are an expert and very passionate about their subject? Ever have to reel them in a bit? That’s why.

    Chris Wildbore


    • Thanks, Chris. Feel free to share this post anywhere. 🙂 As for your answer, I agree. I have often seen, and used, the analogy of hiring a contractor. The spirits want to help us in return for the offerings – payments – we make to them.


  3. Hei my friend!
    Nice to see you posting again!


  4. A great discussion with excellent points brought up Sir.

    I have been reading a book titled JEWISH MAGIC AND SUPERSTITION: A STUDY IN FOLK RELIGION by Joshua Trachtenberg. The book is very well written and has an excellent study in the history of Jewish mysticism in the midst of oppressive, neighboring religions and cultures. Within this work is also a fantastic study on evocation and WHY EVOCATION was so predominant in Jewish magical tradition, which in turn GREATLY influenced Christian and other European magicians.
    To understand WHY Evocation was so widely used in Jewish traditions and WHY not other forms, we must look at Jewish religious law and culture to understand which forms of magic were considered taboo or punishable by death in some instances.
    Trachtenberg explains it beautifully in his work:
    It is characteristic of magic that with the advance of religious thought and the recognition of a spirit world, it tends to move closer to religion, and to depend increasingly upon the spirit forces of the religion for its effects. The rabbinic authorities set their face against all practices that smacked of Israel’s heathen origins, and prominent among these was “The performance of an act” (Sympathetic magic) without resort to supernatural aid, which was for them forbidden “magic” to be punished by death. Their opposition was not to magic generally, but to this particular “idolatrous” form; the use of angels, names, and even demons, involving an appeal to the supernatural and a recognition of the supremacy of God, was admitted past the barrier on sufferance, but the first type was rigorously excluded. It was this distinction which the medieval writers sensed and voiced negatively, without fully comprehending it, for the ancient bitter struggle against “idolatry” had long since been won, and the distinction had lost its force. Medieval Jewish magic depended almost entirely for its success upon the spirits and names; sympathetic devices persisted, as we shall see, but their role was regarded as secondary and incidental to that of their theologically more acceptable successors. Here we have a striking difference between Jewish and Christian magic in the Middle Ages. While the latter frankly recognized and employed the occult forces inherent in nature, recipes employing these forces slipped into Jewish practice by the back door, so to speak, disguised as bona fide invocations of the spirit world.
    As most of us would argue, the Kabbalistic practices of magic and mysticism had a profound influence on the development of western esoteric arts as a whole. The practice of spiritual evocation as the prominent magical undertaking would seem practically inevitable given the above Jewish history and outlook not to mention it being at the root of all Shamanism and early mysticism.
    “The Most frequently employed terms for magic were hashba’at malachim and hashba’at shedim, invocation and conjuration of angels and demons.

    Despite current arguments on the preference of practice and technique, historically, evocation was the main vehicle of magical endeavor in the west. Prophecy, Astrology, medicine, blessings and cursing were all in the power and influence of the “spirits”. Dealing with them directly was the surest way of achieving whatever affects you desired to impose in the world. Many of the grimoires contain a few spatterings of sympathetic spells and folk tradition methods for achieving this or that, but the majority of the text deals exclusively for contacting spirits (typically angels or demons)


  5. I think it’s not only historically that those magical actions were spirit-led, but that the best way to think of them today is as a way of communicating and interacting with spirits. Yes, you can get all pomo-khaotic and talk about how information and energy are equivalent ways of saying the same thing, but as far as I have been able to tell, they aren’t better ways. Even if you think it’s “all in your mind,” you’ve just agreed with me that the mind is a vast and poorly-understood space {or insert Lon Milo DuQuette version of the same saying here}..


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