Magical Evocation: Old vs New

Frater Barrabbas has an interesting article examining “traditional” as opposed to alternative or innovative means of magical evocation.

My rituals, if examined carefully, look like a fusion of Golden Dawn structures with a definite Wiccan perspective. (Some have even said that my magick stinks of witchcraft.) Eastern techniques, which are used for mind control and altered states of consciousness, employ methods that are obviously from the disciplines of Yoga. Of course, this makes me no different than a large population of other ceremonial and ritual magicians. I am, indeed, in good company! The fact that I also use techniques supposedly invented by Franz Bardon doesn’t get me off the hook either, because some folks could smear him with the same accusatory brush of being infected with an Eastern prejudice.

I guess you could say that I use these techniques because I have no desire to live like a monk in order to be able to perform invocation and evocation. Something else that the commentator forgot to consider is that I am not in any way, shape or form, a Christian occultist or Esoteric Christian practitioner. I am a pagan and a witch, nothing more or less, so that might exclude me from adhering to any of the Abrahamic practices associated with the old grimoires. I have the gall to think that any such rules or requirements don’t apply to me, and I suspect that they don’t apply to many others, either.

My critic goes on to state: “I’m not even going to waste my time to prove you [are] wrong, but this is hilarious. I hope that some day magical modernism will be defeated, before it corrupts Western Magic to death.” Of course, anyone who says that they won’t waste their time trying to prove me wrong is probably defending a position that is indefensible, but at least my conclusions were a source of mirth for him or her. If nothing else, my words were taken with humor and laughter by this reader.  (After all, I do try to be funny from time to time.) Still, he or she opined about the supposed evils of “modernism” corrupting the purity of Western Magic – to its utter demise.

I get what Frater Barrabbas is saying here. Times change, and magic changes as new techniques are developed. Who is to say that a newer, postmodern method of magical practice is less valid than a traditional method involving years or fasting and praying and whatnot?

However, I think Barrabbas is missing the opinions of one important participant of evocation: the spirits. I remember reading an anecdote (I don’t recall if it was Phile Hine or Pete Carroll, and I wish I did, but alas) involving using Chaos Magic techniques to invoke a Goetic spirit. The ritual failed, and everyone involved had some rather negative side-effects until a full ceremonial evocation was performed of the same entity and it was placated. In short, while the techniques you employ may not matter to you, there are other entities involved that do seem to care. The observation was made in this case that it appears the Goetic demons are quite particular in how they want to be interacted with, and this makes sense, as they are embedded in a particular system that has rules and correspondences that presumably they operated optimally in.

So while it is very true that for the most part magical systems can be adapted freely and without much ado, it must be remembered that traditional magical systems do have correspondence and correlations that have been build up and reinforced by hundreds of years of practice and use, and not just by humans. This creates a significant amount of magical inertia that must be overcome before taking elements of those systems and slapping them together with elements of another system.

And speaking of Barrabbas, he also has another interesting post on evocation, and how similar exorcism seems to be to it. Intriguing, but not too surprising, I suppose.

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