Photograph of Isadora Duncan, Arnold Genthe (1915 -1918)
Some try to make the process of invoking a complicated, dangerous matter when in fact, it is as natural as breathing, as common as dirt. There is no ‘secret’; there is no ‘one-way’.
This essay is a reflection of what works for me and is a compilation of my years’ experiences. Your mileage may vary – feel free to take what works, and disregard what doesn’t.
As in all things, Seek Your Own Truth.
To invoke a Spirit/Deity/Power is nothing more than requesting (inviting) a discarnate entity to enter within you; to ‘possess’ you, to use your body as an earthly Temple for a time. You become a holy Vessel; a Cup, a human Container for the Unseen.
Invocation differs from evocation in that with evocation, you are requesting a Spirit/Deity/Power be ‘present’ at a Working or Ritual; that the Spirit come forth and witness your Working and perhaps offer aid and guidance or merely lend Their attendance for Power and Success.
In both instances, you are summoning a Spirit, but with invocation, the request is specific for an ‘indwelling’, whereas with an evocation, the Spirit is present in your ritual space only and does not enter within.
It is my opinion that many try to make both invocation/evocation complex and difficult when in fact,both are very simple acts: both practices are nothing more than communion with a Friend, with invocation taking that communion a step further, deepening the connection on a more personal level than with an evocation.
Invocation is rather like the sex act: intimate, secret and deep. There is a co-mingling of essences and energies with the resulting enlightenment long-lasting and unforgettable.
When a Spirit is invoked, I am literally ‘sharing’ my body. The essences are then forever split and mingled. We become ‘One’ and like sex with a fellow human, we will forever carry that ‘union’; the bond and tie between us cannot be broken. Both psychically and physically, we are united.
Invocation is the most intimate and highest form of spiritual communication. Due to this closeness and intimacy, it is important that you share your physical body with only known Spirits/Deities/Powers.
Just as it is unwise to invite total strangers into your home or to have illicit sex with myriads of unknowns, so you should only invoke Spirits with whom you have developed a close, trusting bond and relationship over time.
Invoke only Who you know and only those Spirits with whom you have worked with in the past.
Never invoke strange,unknown Spirits or invoke for fun, just to see ‘what will happen’. That is a fool’s game and it is my experience that the Great Ones do not tolerate fools easily.
Remember who you are and remember Who They are.
Be honourable, respectful and diligent.
You will be changed. I promise it.
1. What Preparations Are Necessary?
I was taught that before doing a Spirit working such as an act of communion or invocation, I need to be ‘clean’ physically, mentally and spiritually. It is like a ‘house-cleaning’ before company arrives.
I tidy up the Ritual space; I remove negativity from my heart and thoughts by prayer, meditation and journaling; I bathe to clean myself outwardly and fast to cleanse myself internally. I usually do this 3, 6, or 9 days before an invocation (depending on the purpose).
The reason for this purification is simple; you are becoming an Abode for the Ancient Ones. It is disrespectful to invoke the Great Ones into an unclean, filthy Space.
If you invited a friend over for lunch, and when she arrived she found you, unwashed, messy and smelling foul, surrounded by dirty dishes on the table, decaying food on the plates, and trash spilling over onto the floor, chances are she would not be impressed. The Old Ones, even more so.
Be thoughtful, be hospitable, show Them honour. Remember who They are.
Some people make offerings to the Powers before the invocation, some after. I do both.
If you were making snacks for a friend who you knew loved nachos and Pinot Grigio but hated Brussels sprouts and beer, you would naturally choose the food that appealed to your friend. Treat the Spirits the same.
I know what my Friends like and I lay out Their favourite foods/flowers/incense, etc. As previously stated, I have already developed a relationship with Them. They are known to me.
I start the invocation with incense, herb offerings, wine, spices, tobacco or fruit. I usually have a sigil or image of the Power/Deity I am invoking.
It’s very simple and minimal. This is just for Them. I do not partake of this offering.
After the invocation, I lay out some chocolates, brandy, cakes, etc., and of this offering, I partake. The ingestion of this food helps to ‘ground’ me as well, gently returning my senses back to the physical plane.
2. What Should I Say and What Can I Expect?
At the heart of any invocation, there lies a prayer; a supplication, a request for Divine aid, assistance and intimacy.
As with any prayer, what truly matters is your intent and your emotion. Yes, lovely prose and strongly worded requests are powerful, but what the Spirit wants is you – you in your human frailty, yearning for Their contact; you and your desire to honour Them.
All the majestic poetry in the world will not avail you if your heart and spirit are closed, filled with fear, or in any way shut off to Them.
Your own words, infused with your emotion, feeling and impression of the Power is what counts. Do not worry about rhyming or the placement of words – just speak what is in your heart. They know what is there anyway.
Write down your feelings; why are you invoking the Spirit? Why do you seek communion? What do you want to say to Them?
Again, think of the ‘friend’ scenario: If the Power with whom you seek communion took human form and sat across from you at your kitchen table, what would you like to say?
Write it down. It can be lengthy, short, rhyme or not. With practice, you will find the words come to you with ease and clarity.
All that truly matters is that you are respectful, honourable, and open to hear and experience what They communicate to you. That is the whole purpose of an invocation.
After the incense, candles, wine and initial greeting is completed; after you have spoken your prayer and requested Their presence, wait and listen. Listen deep. Close your eyes and feel the Power.
Your feelings and experiences may vary; you may feel ecstatic, or melancholic. You may sing, chant, sway, dance, walk or just sit on the floor in silent contemplation. You may experience tingling or numbness; visions, unusual sounds or smells may come to you. You may speak in a language or voice you do not recognize.
Sometimes you may be overcome with emotion and the intensity of the experience may leave you weak, tired and sleepy. Other times, the communion is gentle and soft as a summer’s breeze and you may feel energized after.
Your feelings and the experience will differ according to the Power invoked, the purpose of the invocation and your mood and mindset at the time. It varies. Be open to this variation.
Listen. Listen. Listen, and feel the energy.
FEEL, SEE, HEAR, EXPERIENCE. Go deep within.
You, in your humanity, in your weakness and in your mortal glory, have become a Vessel of the Ancients; a Cup of the Gods. Your life will not be the same.
Do ask the Spirit that It allow you to remember the experience. Sometimes, with a deep intercourse, you may not remember portions of it. Again, with practice, this becomes easier to do. The Gods will help you.
3. What If the Spirit Won’t Leave?
I have worked with Spirits for decades, both Deific and those considered Daemonic and never once have I ever been possessed against my will.
Media that portray possession as an instance where a Spirit must have a human body to operate or to manifest Their will may make for exciting viewing or reading, but it has been my personal experience that the Gods/Powers/Deities do not view us a ‘necessary’ for the fulfillment of Their aims.
Monotheistic faiths have perpetuated a climate of fear regarding ‘possession.’
This is an interesting perspective from them considering that I personally have witnessed Christians being ‘taken over by the Holy Spirit’ resulting in them writhing on the ground, speaking in ‘tongues’, falling prostrate on the floor, and behaving most unusually. The reasoning for this dichotomy in their belief system (or so I’ve been told), lies in the fact that they are invoking the ‘holy’ spirit and so, their behaviour is acceptable.
But if an occultist, polytheist or daemonolator does the same, the act suddenly becomes dangerous, evil and sinister.
Please understand that a Spirit truly has no need of you. They really don’t care about inhabiting your physical body or lingering for days in this realm.
In the truest sense, They are ‘lowering’ Themselves to enter you – Their vibrational levels far exceed our own and They truly have no need for a frail, flawed human to assist Them in any endeavor.
Think of it as you wanting to stay in the body of a snail for days on end. What would be the purpose?
If the snail asked you to enter it and to have communion with it so that it could feel your power and presence, perhaps you would choose to do so, but, why would you stay?
The life of a snail may be exciting to the snail, but to you (a god, in this instance), it would probably seem quite boring.
If Spirits can just ‘jump inside’ at our slightest weakness and overtake us, then we are all in deep trouble. Why don’t they do it all the time? Why don’t all the Daemons in existence just take over humans now and be done with it?
I am not stating that such situations cannot or do not occur, but I am emphasizing that if they do, they are rare and in my opinion would most probably be initiated, enhanced or influenced by an unhealthy mental/physical condition of the practitioner.
I do not claim to know the complete workings or motivations of the Spirit Realm or for that matter, the human psyche (to claim such mastery over so vast a domain is, in my opinion, arrogant). I can only vouch for my own experiences and those of other occultists who have shared theirs.
If you are suffering from any chronic mental or physical ailment or currently undergoing treatment for a mental or physical disorder, I would not attempt an invocation. I say this not because the Spirits will harm you, but because your mind and body does need to be in a place of health and stability to be able to process and utilize the communication.
I also would not advise invoking while under the influence of any drugs or entheogens unless you are experienced and have been trained in such an endeavor.
4. Wrapping Things Up
After a time, you will feel the Spirit is ‘ready to go’. Sometimes, They leave abruptly, other times, They may linger. Again, respect is key. When you feel the Working is coming to an end, thank Them for Their presence and willingness to spend time with you.
End the Working as you would any meeting with an honoured Guest. Ask Them to bring to your remembrance things that occurred in the invocation (if forgotten).
Thank Them, make an offering to Them of some food or drink, incense, or flowers you know They enjoy (as previously mentioned) and wait for Them to leave. You will feel it. You feel Them vacate. The air in the room will feel more ‘mundane’ or stuffy.
I usually journal after an invocation so that I am able to retain what was shared, what insights were gained and what I learned. I enjoy reading back in my journal and seeing the growth I experienced and how the relationships forged have matured over time.
It reinforces my faith and confidence in Them and in myself.
In parting, let me say that an invocation can be one of the most illuminating, uplifting, life-changing experiences you may ever have. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from this most startling and transformative of spiritual exercises.
May the Powers bless our desire for Their presence and may They fill us with Their essence.
May we, as true Vessels, be worthy of such an Honour.
Image: Photograph of Isadora Duncan, Arnold Genthe (1915 -1918)
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