Conjuring Spirits the Old Fashioned Way
Agrippa is a great resource for all things magical. Using the tables of the scales of numbers in his 2nd Book of Occult Philosophy, you will be able to put together whatever type of ritual you could possibly need. However, the details on how to conjure spirits aren’t in the Three Books. Instead, you find a basic outline in the spurious Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy. This ritual can be used to conjure any of the spirits listed in the Tables of Book 2.
What you need:
- Something with which to trace or form a large magic circle on the floor around your ritual area. This includes a finger, wand, rope, salt, or spray paint. Please note, spray paint fumes are nasty, and it’s hard to explain to your landlord later. Salt vacuums right up, and if you use your finger or wand, there’s no physical residue to clean up.
- Pen/pencil and paper
- A compass (the kind you draw circles with, not a north-pointing magnetic thingy), or something you can trace to make concentric circles. (e.g., different sized coins if you can write small enough, round lids, canned goods, bottles, etc.)
What you don’t need, but are nice to have:
- Scrying crystals or a bowl of water, a pendulum, or imagination
Some people would say that imagination is a necessary thing, and I agree. However, most people don’t know their imagination well enough to understand how to use it in magic; they think it’s just something used to make pretty mind pictures. Which it is, but there’s more to it. And the magic works regardless of your ability to see it in your mind’s pretty-picture-maker, so I’m counting it as optional.
Now what I’m about to tell you is the bare bones basics of how to conjure a spirit. It’s not complicated, and the main intention is to get people to realize how easy spirit conjuration really is. I have clients that want to know the details of how to consecrate their wands, daggers, cups, incense burners, and even the flames on burning candles. That’s great! Empower your tools! (I anoint mine with holy water once in a while, and say, “Be thou cleansed of all uncleanliness, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” while making crosses over it. Sort of a baptism. It works great.)
But it’s not necessary for spirit work.
All you need is love.
Oh wait, that’s a Beatles song. I get that confused with magic sometimes.
Here’s the real process:
Draw the Spirit’s Symbol
Most of the spirits in the Tables of Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy can be found with a little research on the internet. The Heptameron and the Magical Calendar are excellent resources for the seals of the spirits. If you can’t find the seal of the spirit, you can use its name. Writing it out in some script that you consider holy is good, but it also works in English. Somewhere, some time, someone got the notion that some languages are holy just by virtue of being themselves, and others aren’t. Whatever.
- You’ll need to draw the spirit’s symbol inside a hexagram, underneath its name. A hexagram is a Star of David, made of two triangles, one pointing up and one pointing down. Each little triangle formed by the points should be the same size.
- Around this hexagram, draw five pentagrams (five-pointed stars). Four of these stars represent the four Angels of the Corners of the Earth. The fifth represents the spirit you are conjuring.
- Next, write the spirit’s name above these stars. In the Fourth Book, it instructs you to write them in Hebrew.
- Next, draw an equilateral triangle around everything you’ve drawn so far.
- Next, draw a circle around the triangle. It should touch the three points of the triangle.
- Draw another circle around that circle, about a half-inch or so out from the first circle. In the border you have created, write the Names of God. These Names will vary depending on your source. If you’ve studied the Golden Dawn version of the Tree of Life, and have performed the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram a time or two, and the Middle Pillar on occasion, then you should probably use the Names of God that are assigned to the ten sephiroth.
In my opinion, you can write IAO, LOGOS, Chronos, Zeus, Apollo, Aries, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, and Hephaestus. You can throw in Hecate instead of Hephaestus, too, but I’d keep Hephaestus in there anyhow. Now, these are Greek manifestations of the faces of God revealed to a set of people that were not given the Law the way God gave it to the Jews. Instead, they were given the Logos in the form of philosophy and other weirdness.1
Either way (or any other way), you’re representing in the outermost circle the manifestations of God, which represent the different phases He went through in the emanation of the physical world. By listing these secret names, you, the magician, are pointing out to the servants of the Most High that you’re in on the secret, you understand the way things work, and that you’re an initiate. It’s like a badge that a sheriff wears. There’s no magic in the star of the cop; it’s what it represents that makes a criminal have to listen.2
- Cut out the circle. That’s your “lamen.” Wear it over your heart whilst you conjure Ye Olde Spirit.
Congratulations! You’re ready to conjure. Yes, it is that easy. You won’t get the really awesome mind-blowing results that you get with a fully detailed rite incorporating all the things that empower and attract and resonate with the spirit, creating a physical space that is so closely in tune with the spirit’s own sphere that manifesting is a simple matter of stepping through a Kleenex-veil. You will, however, get the spirit’s attention, and the more often you do it, the more you’ll be able to see him/her.
The Magic Circle
Now, first thing you’re going to do is draw out the big ol’ magical circle. Look at the Goetia for a nifty example of what a perfect magical circle should include. You’ll note that it’s basically everything that is a God or Angel or Sphere listed in Heinrich Agrippa’s Scale of the Number Ten. These fellows were really covering their bases.
In the circle, you’ve got candles in each of the four corners of the world for the Angels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael. I base that interpretation on the Adonai written around the hexagrams (“Adonai” is “Lord”) and the Greek Tau cross in the center (representing the Earth, according to Crowley). Put those together and you’ve got the “Lord of the Earth” in each quarter, and that, according to the Scale of the Number Four, refers to the Four Angels of the Corners of the Earth. It could be the Four Princes too, Oriens, Paimon, Egyn, Amaymon, but I’m more inclined to use angels because, well, I know the angels, and I never really got into the elemental kings as much.
You’ve got the Alpha and the Omega listed, referencing the Logos. Then there’s a square in the center, in which the magician stands or sits. Around the square is written El (God name of Chesed/Jupiter) and Jah (God name of Chokmah/Sphere of the Zodiak). You’ve got Vav (Nail) and Hod (Sphere of Mercury), too. If you were into making sentences out of the symbols you find in magical images, you could phrase this as, “The Powers of the Sphere of the Zodiac brought down by God’s Grace to his Messenger, the magician, who Nails it to the physical realm.” Inside the circle is the Tetragrammaton, IHVH, with the letters drawn and the names of the letters written below for good measure.
In the center of it all stands the magician.
Can you see all the things represented in the magical circle? You’re standing in the center, the Divine Darkness from which emanates the infinite Light of the Ain Soph Aur. As you utter the Words (Logos), you’re directing the powers of the spheres of the Zodiac outward to the Four Lords of the Corners of the Earth. Standing beside you are the Ten Manifest Names of God and the Ten Archangels of each Sphere. You are reclaiming your divine heritage, accepting that you are truly the Image of God, and you and your Court of Angels are calling on yet another Spirit, who is compelled by Michael and the additional names of God to appear within the Triangle of Art.
Potent stuff there, eh?
Well, there’s a reason. Here’s a Mystery about working with Spirits. It applies to all of them, even the spirits of the Goetia. The Circle that is all drawn out and detailed is not something that has to be physically represented. It is the image of what you already are as a human being. You were created in the Image of God. You took on flesh to manifest in this world out of love of this world. The Archangels of the Spheres surround you and empower you, because they took one look at you when God made you and fell in love with you. You’re the Image of their creator. They respect you, and honor God by honoring you. They compel the spirits you conjure to come when you call, but even those Spirits love you.
Love is all you need.
But the spirits you’re conjuring have jobs to do, and if you don’t know what the circle represents — that is to say, if you’re not fully, consciously aware of being the Image of God — then no amount of paint, ink, or imagination arranged in appropriate lines and circles and letters will save you from the performance of their duty: to drive you mad with desire for things of the world, until in desperation you return to your Source for salvation. Until you know Who you Are, their only role in your life is to drive you back to the knowledge and understanding of who that is.
Now, I know for a fact that I am made in the Image of God. I’ve had visions and experiences and transformations that have made the Circle of the Goetia become ingrained into my own sphere. I’m aware that I walk in the loving Grace of God and all that he has made.
I try not to take it for granted.
When I trace a Circle, I say, “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I consecrate this ground for our defense.” You can say, IAO, LOGOS, and Spiritus Mundi/Spiritus Sancti if you’re not feeling particularly comfortable with the names of God from the Christian tradition. I strongly urge you to stick with the neoplatonic system though. Spirit conjure books like the Goetia are firmly founded in the neoplatonic tradition. You’ll need a representative of the Monad, the Intercessor, and the Spirit that maintains everything in your world, like the name of your Nativity Angel, Genius, Agathadaimon, or HGA. By touching on these three things, you’re retracing your path up through the spheres, and acknowledging who you are and what your status is. You’re affirming that you are indeed the magician in the center square of the Circle of the Goetia with these simple words.
Well, I am anyway. If you’re not aware of Who you are, What you are, and Why you are, you’d better go back and meditate on the Circle for a while, until you realize that everything I’ve said here is as true for you as it is for me. Or don’t. If you don’t, you’ll sooner or later learn the same thing, because all things work together for the good of those who serve God. And everyone serves God. Because everyone is, in a way, God.
Ok, so you’ve got the Lamen, and you’ve got the Circle; you’re ready to Conjure the Spirit.
A Bit About Spirits in General
(You probably know this already but…)
Most Spirits have a Sphere that they’re related to. Messenger spirits, spirits of knowledge, spirits of intellect, wit, and healing are related to Mercury. Spirits of Love, beauty, hearth and home are related to Venus. Spirits of visions of past and future, of gain and loss, of ebbings and flows are of the Moon. Spirits of boundaries and time are of Saturn. Spirits of enlightenment are of the Sun. Spirits of mercy, grace, abundance are of Jupiter. And spirits of war, wrath, and justice are of Mars. You can find associations of spirits to elements as well, if you’re looking for things to happen on a mundane level without a lot of spiritual gnosis involved. Identify the traits of the Spirit, and you’ll have access to the Name of God that manifests the highest form of that particular class of Spirit.
In the Scales of the Numbers 10 and 12 (Book 1 of Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy), Agrippa lists the three things you need to conjure any Planetary Spirit:
- The Names of God for each Planet
- The Archangels of each Planet
- The Choir (or Rank) of the angels associated with each Planet
In the Scale of the Number Four, Agrippa lists the names of the four Princes of the Earth, and in their names you can conjure the elemental spirits. Armed with this simple resource, you’ve got all the information you need in those tables to come up with a decent ritual.
Conjuring the Spirits
To conjure the Spirit, the basic formula is a statement: “Oh [Spirit Name], I conjure you in the name of [God Name of the Sphere that rules the spirit] and in the name of [Archangel that rules the sphere] and by the powers of the [Rank of the Angels of the sphere] I conjure you; appear now before me.” You can say it a couple of times until you feel the Spirit’s presence.
Getting the Point Across
Next, you simply state the purpose that you called the spirit for. Remember, it’s a person of sorts. It’s smarter than you, older than you, and much more aware of its place in the universe than you are, no matter how much we think we know. But also remember that it loves you, to the fullest extent of its abilities. So don’t just tell it, “I want to win the lotto this Friday at 11:20,” and then say goodbye. There may be some reason it can’t or won’t do so, and if you don’t listen for an answer and actually have a conversation — you know, bi-directional communication with the spirit — you’re not going to get anywhere.
A Note on Offerings
Some modern magicians believe that there should always be an exchange of “energy” when you Work with a Spirit. The way I see it, they’re talking about something similar to what I mean by a conversation. I don’t make a habit of offering things to spirits. Most of my Work is done for knowledge, wisdom, and peace of mind over something that is troubling me.
But when I want a thing to happen or to manifest, I usually provide some form of offering for the spirit, not in an idolatrous way, but as a means of getting what I want done. When I want a spirit to show up and do something in my “real” world, I’ll pour a libation, or run some current through their seal using a box I wired for that purpose.3 I think it helps.
If you’re making an offering of some kind, this would be the time to do it.
Getting on With It
Once you’ve talked with the spirit and made any offerings, you’re almost done. Before the traditional “License to Depart,” I usually ask if there’s anything I need to know from the spirit. I “hear” the voices of the spirits in visions, the pretty-mind-pictures that move by themselves, or as thoughts that originate from outside my head. Sometimes I use a pendulum, and as I hold it, I feel my heart open up, and I just know the answer to my question, without hearing anything. The same thing happens as I scry into a crystal. Sometimes I see a face or a swirl in the occlusions within the crystal, other times I don’t, but I always feel like something inside me has “opened” when the spirits are near. However you learn to communicate with the spirits will likely be different than I describe it. I’m stuck with the words I have to represent what I do. You will have your own words that you’re stuck with.
Wrapping it Up
Finally, thank the Spirit for coming. If it’s the first time I’ve worked with the spirit, I say something like, “In the [Names I conjured in], come again when I call your name, returning in peace and in power. Go now as you came.” When I’m finished, I sometimes ground out by picturing myself sinking into the earth and then returning back to myself (I’m an Earth Sign; I like that), or I just let the mood dissipate on its own.
That’s it. That’s how you conjure a spirit. It’s not hard. As you put it into practice, you’ll find that there are things I’ve missed, things that I probably take for granted, or things I can’t even think of because you’re simply not me. That’s beautiful. However, if you have questions about things I should have mentioned, please feel free to contact me.
1 — As a Christian, I’m fine with this because Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd,” and “I have sheep in other pens who recognize my Voice.” In John, it says, “No man comes to the Father but by me.” A friend pointed that out and asked me how I reconcile my belief that God is in the Greek Gods, and I had to explain that to understand John 14, you have to understand John 1: Jesus is the Word, the Logos. The First Father spoke, and that speech is Christ. Jesus was the Word made flesh. His Father is “the Good” of the neoplatonists. One cannot get to the Father unless you go by way of the Logos. That doesn’t mean that you’ve got to be a Christian. It means Jesus is going to call you as the Logos in whatever way he sees fit, and if you’re a sheep in another pen, or a believer of religions other than Christianity, then you’ll still be getting to the Father through the Logos when you hear his voice and respond to it, however that manifests to you.
2 — You know, like in that movie with Sandra Bullock, Practical Magic. With the witches. And the dude with one green eye that flipped pancakes. And the Romanian cowboy. From Hell. Come on, you totally watched it.
3 — I call it The Box. Because I’m just overflowing with creative juices. It’s a wooden cigar box and an LED lamp that I set up so that you can place a metal talisman across two electrodes to complete a circuit and light up an LED. The LED is under a crystal ball I use for scrying.
©2009 Rufus Opus
Edited by Sheta Kaey