Friday, April 9, 2010

Shortcuts to Evocation? Yes and No.

On the various internet groups and forums of which I am a member, I often see people ask things similar to the following:

"I've been practicing magic for [insert a very small amount of time here], and I want to start doing evocations and summoning spirits and such. I don't like any of the traditional schools of magic, and I don't have any interest in using the long complicated rituals in the grimoires, so I am wondering how I can go about summoning spirits and daemons in a quick and easy manner that involves as little effort on my part as possible?"

In brief, my response to these kinds of questions usually goes something like this...

There are *MANY* different ways to summon a spirit. Once you are a proficient magician, you can certainly dispense with the long rituals and need for many tools. I don't use the big long rituals, or any of the ritual tools, and I am nearly always successful in my evocations.

The fact that you have to ask these questions, though, shows that you are not yet ready to undertake the kind of evocation that you are speaking about in your query and have a somewhat immature grasp of the magical arts. Summoning is not an art for the novice practitioner in any way, shape, or form. You need to have mastered a good amount of foundation skills in order to be able to attempt it with any hope for results, and while remaining safe.

Here are some things you need to have pretty much mastered before thinking about stepping into evocation work:

1) Some form of psychic seership - meaning you have developed the ability to sense, see, hear, or otherwise detect the presence of spirits in a reliable manner. This takes time, and everyone will have slightly different abilities in this area. Some use scrying, some use divination, some are simply able to do it through their 6 senses without any tools or other props. You need to learn what psychic gifts you have and develop them until they are at least 85% reliable.

2) Cultivate reliable skill at some form of self-observatory and present-moment consciousness meditation. Mindfulness meditation works wonders for this. These forms of meditation teach you how to observe yourself and your thoughts without judgement and without the compulsion to get caught up in the drama through mindless reactions. This will not only help develop your powers of concentration, which are invaluable to occult practice, but will also make sure you are intimately familiar with all the junk and thoughts that YOUR mind regularly produces. That way, when you begin working with spirits, you will be able to easily tell if the information is coming from a spirit, or from your imagination. Also, should a spirit start to work on you in a negative way, you will be extremely in-tune and used to observing yourself, and will notice right away if you start thinking or acting in a way that is out of character for you.

3) Work on your analytical skills, especially as it applies to determining the possible outcomes and consequences of certain actions. You need to be able to work out, ahead of time, very detailed plans for goals you wish to achieve with the help of the spirits, and you need to be able to think around corners. Spirits think in a VERY different way than humans, so you need to be able and *try* and make sure that what you are asking for will likely get you what you want in the way that you want it. You may even wish to look into basic contract law. I'm serious. Learn how the legal community writes out contracts in such as way that there is little to no wiggle room in how a certain thing is to go down. You will use those skills when making negotiations with spirits. It will also be helpful in any form of spellcraft that you may practice.

4). Get skilled at at least one form of divination. A pendulum is a very easy thing to learn to do well, though you can certainly use tarot, or I Ching, or anything else that appeals to you and to which you are drawn. You will need to be able to ask for guidance with whether it is wise to summon a particular spirit for your task. Sometimes you think that one spirit may be who you need, and it turns out that another one would be better suited, or that you don't need a spirit at all for a certain task. This helps you cut down on mistakes and failed operations, so you will increase your spellwork and evocation success rate right from the get-go.

5) MASTER SPIRITUAL CLEANSING, PSYCHIC PROTECTION, AND RITUAL BANISHING!!!! Seriously. This one is HUGE. I cannot stress how important this will be for your occult practice in general, and especially with spirit work. If you cannot perform these tasks with near 100% reliability, then you are NOT ready for spirit summoning. Learn how to maintain a spiritual pristine environment, and not just of your ritual space, but of your entire home, and of everywhere where you spend any amount of time.

Spiritual Cleansing: Learn about spiritual floor washes, learn about the spiritual cleansing effects of different herbs and resins you can burn, learn about spiritually cleansing baths. Try and develop a real playbook of these that you can go to for any number of situations. Begin implementing a *very regular spiritual cleansing routine*. This is not just a 'as-you-need-it' thing. If you are going to be doing occult work on a regular basis, and especially spirit summoning, then you need to have a regular routine that you keep up religiously. This means a little something daily, a bigger something weekly, and a very thorough something monthly.

Psychic Protection: Learn where you are energetically weak, and fortify it. Work on developing strength and health in that area. Work on keeping your energy bodies in very good working order, because this will help form your first line of defense. Then master several forms of psychic shielding. SEVERAL that can work under different circumstances, and with varying strengths. Learn how to ward your home and property. Also learn about the various forms of protective amulets that there are out there. Obtain a few. Experiment with them and see which one feels most effective for your needs, and then wear it always.

Ritual Banishings: Before you EVER call anything up, you need to KNOW that you have the capability to banish it. You need to get really good at ritual banishings. It doesn't have to be any particular one, although working with the LBRP & BRH will help you develop this skill. I suggest working with learning banishings daily for *at least* a year before doing any evocation work. It takes that long to adjust and really tune into the energy and figure out what's going on energetically around you when you do this. Experiment with other banishings that you find, seeing how they differ in intent and style. Find one that works for you and then stick with it for a good long while. Study all the banishings that you can find to see what is at work in them. Get REEEAAALLLY good and VEEERRRY confident in your ability to banish before moving into evocation.

6) Develop a very close relationship with the Divine. What form of divinity is completely up to you, but you need to have a very good link with Divinity before you begin working with spirits. Again, this is very important. If you are an agnostic or atheist practitioner, then whatever is the Highest Ideal for you, such as Morality, or Compassion, or Unconditional Love. Whatever it is work diligently at developing a close connection to this Source. This is also strongly protective, and will help you in your work. It will also help you develop and earn spiritual authority, which you will need when summoning spirits (and I don't just mean in the context of ceremonial evocations where you are commanding the spirit and threatening it, etc - I don't work that kind of evocation, but it is still important to have *REAL* spiritual competence and authority; not arrogance or entitlement. That will get you smacked down hard by the spirits real quick).

7) Develop a relationship with a protective being. Archangel Michael is a very good one, but there are entities from every pantheon or religious system which fulfill a protective role. *Your ancestral spirits are also an extremely good place to start.* Work to get into the good graces with one of them. Make a little altar where you can offer incense, candles, and your prayers. Spend a little time there each day. Do this faithfully until you can really sense an energy dwelling there. This can take several weeks to several months. Once you feel their protective presence there strongly, you can start petitioning for their aid. This will be a powerful ally in your magical work and in your evocations.

8) Study the 'whys' and 'hows' of traditional summonings. Those rituals are there for a VERY GOOD reason. Do you understand why? Until you understand how they work, you will not be able to make intelligent abbreviations or shortcuts. Don't even try to make those shortcuts in evocation until you understand the metaphysics and theology and cosmology behind the traditional rituals. (You need to understand ritual in general before you can go deciding what to and what not to include in your rites. So, while you may be making your own system as you go along, it would well behoove you to master at least some form of traditional ritual structure, before trying to simplfy and make up your own.

Until you manage to do all of the above, I would stick to using more folk magic methods for getting what you need. Praying or otherwise communicating your needs while rubbing an oil into a candle and then lighting it is extremely powerful and effective. I enjoy the methods of conjure, and you can find nearly endless info on those ways on the various pages at

Books you should really read before you begin:

"Communing with the Spirits" by Martin Coleman
"Spiritual Cleansing" by Draja Mickaharic
"Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires" by Aaron Leitch
"Sorcerer's Secrets" by Jason Miller
"Summoning Spirits" by Konstantinos
"Psychic Shield" by Caitlan Matthews
"The Art of Psychic Protection" by Judy Hall
"The Mindful Way Through Depression" by John Kabat-Zinn (don't let the title fool you, this is an amazing crash course in cultivating serious skill at mindfulness meditation

9) When you honestly feel ready to begin attempting evocation, then do yourself a favor and *don't* start with the biggest, baddest spirit that you read about in the grimoires. Start with a spirit that is known for being easy to work with. The experiences that you gained through working with your ancestors &/or a protective being will help you navigate your first forays into evocation. Some practitioners suggest starting by working with the angelic sphere, since they tend not to have vengeful proclivities or be quite as easily annoyed as other classes of spirits. For your own sake, don't bite off more than you can chew.

10) Be an intelligent evocationist. Don't forget to do your divinations first to figure out if this is the right spirit for you at that time. Learn all you can about a spirit, the type of work it does, the way it goes about doing its work, along with its likes and dislikes. This will help you know how to prepare for the spirit, and how to work with it in the most effective manner.

11) Be respectful when you call and when you communicate with it. Remember that you can always terminate a contact if you don't feel right about it, and you can always say "no" to any demands a spirit may make. And certainly keep up your end of the bargain!

Since other practitioners have written whole books in this subject, I won't reinvent the wheel here. What I'm mostly concerned with is how so many people seem completely willing to summon up daemons, without having any real foundation skills under their belts. Preparation is key, and having the right skills will make everything go much smoother and safer. Yes, it means that you'll actually have to do quite a bit of work before you get into what seems to you to be the meat and potatoes. *Gasp!* But taking shortcuts with your prepatory training is simply not all that bright. So...if you jump into the deep end before you can swim, just don't be surprised if magical natural selection takes a swipe at you!


  1. Devi: this is a brilliant post! You've done a fantastic job of summing up the skill-set which one should acquire before moving on to Evocation, and provided clear instructions on where and how an interested sorcerer-to-be can acquire those skills.

  2. Thanks K! I always appreciate your input on all things magical. :)

    I'm hoping to grab a copy of your Vodou Money Magic book within a week or so! I wanted it anyway, but then Jason's review really put me over the top. :D

  3. Brilliant. I posted a link to this on my blog so more people would read it. This is absolutely brilliant.

  4. Awesome Devi. This is great stuff. i especially like what you say about spiritual cleansing and floor-washes. This is a vital skill set that many ceremonialists never get taught even if they do learn LBRP & BRH. In my opinion, nothing beats thorough hands-on spiritual cleansing when things go wrong.

  5. I absolutely agree. I've been on both sides of the fence on that matter - having a background in ceremonialism prior to coming to hoodoo and folk ways. Once I began using the good ol' fashion cleansings it was like night and day. You can do a nice clearing with ceremonial rituals, but I never felt that "squeaky" spiritual clean sensation until I started using the washes and such.

  6. thank you devi for this post =) what do you mean by "Don't forget to do your divinations first"? is this using a pendulum to ask questions about the spirit you wish to evoke? if so, who do i ask the questions to?

  7. You can use a pendulum, or any other form of divination at which you are skilled. You would be asking if the spirit is the appropriate one for your petition, and if not, you can divine to find out if there is another spirit that is better, or if you can simply work it alone.

    If you are doing the divination with a pendulum, then you are asking the pendulum. If you are using the tarot, then you are asking your deck. Different people have different opinions as to "who" is operating through pendulums and tarot decks. Some feel it is your own Higher Self, some feel it is a spirit guide of some sort, others have a spirit of divination that they work with. But you don't need to have a specific source of the info in mind when you use a divination method.

    See the post I just made on the Pendulum for a link to a great resource for learning to use the pendulum well. Most of your questions are answered in that material.

  8. This is really helpful. Do you believe that all spirits have both a good and bad side or are capable of both? I have been sapped by an energy that does not seem to have a good side. After reading this, what comes to mind is what I'm constantly working on...

    To know how to banish with understanding. I've read a book on uncrossing, though, because when you feel overly violated by a spirit how do you know what's giving it this power? Is it a lesson on adversary? This is what I've often wondered. Any thoughts would be great and thanks for this article.

  9. So.. for example you see strange things during your evocation - so you are a beginner but you still experience strange phenomana related to psychic sensory etc. And you didn't spend a year practicing or honing on any particular aspect that you recommended. What do you think? Should one just stop evocation completely, focus on your tips and start again? Or can one keep going with evocation but focus on your tips in between practice to bring about further growth?