Yes, that’s right. I said it. There is a serious disease of self delusion in what is termed the spirit art, namely in the realm of evocation. It’s sad when I visit various occult related forums, blogs and websites and see so many people deluding themselves into believing something is happening when it most definitely is not. It is even more saddening when one of my favorite occult authors promotes this self delusion. The formal name for this delusion is called mental masturbation. For those unfamiliar with mental masturbation, according to Wiki.c2:
In layman’s terms; delusion. I hate it say it. Well, actually I don’t, because it’s the truth. What’s more, is that this delusion comes from the New Age scene. Now, I won’t bash the entire New Age movement, even though the vast majority of the information that comes out of it is severely watered down. But not everyone is meant to study and practice the occult so I can understand why. I will, however, speak out against those who promote self delusion when working with spirits. What exactly am I talking about though? Visit any occult forum that has threads about spirit work. What do you see? I can almost guarantee that you’ll find at least half a dozen recent threads with people claiming they can evoke spirits simply by focusing on the spirit’s sigil and chanting it’s “demonic enn” a few times in their heads. Or you’ll see people saying that they did some made up evocation ritual and even though they couldn’t see or hear the spirit, they proceed anyway as if the spirit was there. Shame! I shake my head as I write this.
Magic is more logical than not. What sense does it make to call out to a spirit but if you get no observable response to proceed as normal? If you called your friend and the phone picked up but no one was on the other end would you continue on with a normal conversation? Most likely not. Why would calling a spirit be any different? This is why I advocate Grimoire Tradition above all other systems of spirit contact. GT leaves no room for error or mistake. All bases are covered. If you call the spirit and it does not respond in a perceptible way, you pack up and try again later. And if spirit evocation was as simple as picturing the sigil of a spirit and chanting it’s “enn” (which is easily found with a Google search) a few times, I can promise you that I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this article. I’d have used Bune to get me in on some huge business deal or Vassago to give me the winning lotto numbers and I’d have fled to Monaco to live out the rest of my life like a king. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying no other methods of spirit evocation or contact is valid. On the contrary. Shamanism has amazing methods of spirit contact, in the fact that Shamans don’t evoke spirits, they go directly to them by descending to the Underworld. Druids have particularly interesting rites of evocation. Ian Corrigan gave us a piece of the Druid evocation cake when he published The Book of Summoning, which I highly recommend to any and all Pagans who wish to evoke spirits in a systematic way that resembles the grimoires of old. Paul Huson presented a very workable system of evocation in Mastering Witchcraft. However, these New Age influenced methods of spirit contact just won’t work. Sitting there pretending like you’re talking to a spirit that isn’t there isn’t magic, it’s psychotic. In Grimoire Tradition we protect ourselves from such delusion by not proceeding with the ritual if we can’t perceive the spirit. You may not always need to see the spirit, but you need veritable proof that something is there. “Feeling” that the spirit is there usually isn’t always enough. An exo-GT example; in the Green Tradition of Witchcraft, we use feelings only with the spirits one has developed a long term relationship with (this is usually one’s Matron and Patron and their pantheon).
I sincerely advocate that one use some sort of verification method to ensure that a spirit is indeed present to avoid the effects of mental masturbation. Ask for a sign. Again, feelings aren’t usually enough, especially for the novice. The sign could be unusual noises (I say “unusual” because most houses/buildings make noises anyway), audible voice, apparition, visuals (lights, flashes, etc). If you’re using some sort of communication device, such as an ouija board (I am against the use of ouija boards in nearly every other case save veritable spirit contact) then you can request the spirit use the board to prove it is present. Something is better than absolutely nothing. I understand that not everyone wants to waste their time by preparing for a spirit evocation only to not have the spirit appear, so the desire to proceed may be strong. But mental masturbation helps no one.
The New Age community places a lot of emphasis on one’s mental power and their ability to visualize and imagine things. This is extremely useful in magical workings when it comes to things like spellcasting or ritual work. But when it comes to evocation and other such spirit work, imagining things can be more harmful than helpful. Now, I realize that this article may ruffle some feathers, especially among New Agers. That is fine. I challenge all who are offended by this to test me. Don’t blindly accept what I say. Test me. See if what I say stands up or falls flat on it’s face. Compare the results of just sitting there focusing on a sigil and chanting an enn to the results of a veritable evocation method, again not talking about just GT here. I’m quite sure your findings will mirror my own.