Evocation is a magical practice that involves summoning or calling forth spiritual entities, such as angels, demons, deities, or spirits, with the intention of communicating with them or enlisting their assistance. Evocation is often used to gain knowledge, guidance, protection, or other benefits from the spiritual realm. The practice is distinct from invocation, which involves inviting spiritual energies or beings into one’s own being or consciousness.
The history of evocation spans various cultures, belief systems, and historical periods. In ancient Mesopotamia, Babylonian and Assyrian magicians summoned spirits or deities for various purposes, including healing and divination. The ancient Egyptians also practiced evocation, invoking their gods to seek their guidance and protection.
In the Western magical tradition, evocation has been an important aspect of ceremonial magic, which traces its roots to the Jewish Kabbalah, Greek Neoplatonism, and various mystical and esoteric philosophies. Key figures in the history of evocation include figures such as Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, who wrote extensively on occult philosophy and magical practices in the 16th century, and John Dee, an Elizabethan mathematician, and astrologer who claimed to have communicated with angels.
In more recent times, authors and practitioners such as Israel Regardie, Aleister Crowley, and Dion Fortune have contributed to the modern understanding and practice of evocation. Regardie was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a prominent organization that practiced ceremonial magic, and he authored influential works on the topic, such as “The Tree of Life” and “The Middle Pillar.” Crowley, a controversial figure in the world of occultism, founded the religion of Thelema and wrote extensively on evocation, including in his book “Magick in Theory and Practice.” Dion Fortune was a British occultist and member of the Golden Dawn who wrote about practical aspects of Qabalah and its relation to evocation in her book “The Mystical Qabalah.”
The practice of evocation continues to be a significant aspect of modern magical traditions, such as Wicca, Thelema, and various forms of ceremonial magic, reflecting a diverse array of beliefs, techniques, and approaches to working with spiritual entities and energies.
As with any lesson in this academy, it will up to you to apply what you learn here in this lesson on evocation. The information provided below is enough to get you started. Take what you learn here, do further research, and apply it in routine practice.
Determine your intention: Before you begin, it’s essential to have a clear intention or purpose for your evocation. This could be to seek guidance, knowledge, protection, or to connect with a specific entity or energy.
Choose an appropriate time and location: The best time for evocation can vary depending on the tradition and the specific purpose of the ritual. Some practitioners prefer to work during specific lunar phases, such as the full moon or new moon, while others may choose a particular day of the week or astrological timing. The location should be quiet, private, and free from distractions.
Cleanse and consecrate your space: Before beginning, cleanse your ritual space using a method appropriate to your tradition, such as smudging with sage or sprinkling saltwater. Consecrate the area by invoking the powers of the elements or the divine, depending on your personal beliefs.
Gather your tools: Common tools used in evocation rituals include a ritual dagger or sword, a chalice, a wand, a pentacle, incense, candles, and anointing oils. You may also need a representation of the entity you are evoking, such as a sigil, statue, or image.
Creating a sacred space: Start by creating a sacred space to perform your evocation. This often involves casting a circle or establishing a boundary around your ritual area to protect and contain the energy raised during the ritual. You can use a ritual dagger, wand, or even your finger to trace the circle while envisioning it as a sphere of protective energy.
Invoking the elemental powers or divine forces: Call upon the elemental powers (earth, air, fire, and water) or the divine forces relevant to your tradition to witness and protect your evocation. This may involve reciting specific invocations or prayers, lighting candles, and using symbols or gestures associated with each element or deity.
Evoking the desired entity or energy: With your intention clearly in mind, evoke the desired entity or energy using words, gestures, sounds, or symbols that are significant to your tradition or personal practice. For example, you may recite a specific invocation, chant, or mantra, or trace the sigil or symbol of the entity in the air or on a piece of paper. You can also use sensory elements such as incense, oils, or music to enhance the evocation.
Communicating with the entity or energy: Once you have successfully evoked the desired entity or energy, you may engage in a dialogue or ask for guidance, assistance, or information relevant to your intention. Be respectful and open to the messages you receive, which may come in the form of words, images, or sensations.
Dismissing the entity or energy: When your communication is complete, thank the entity or energy for its presence and assistance, and respectfully dismiss it by saying a phrase such as “Go in peace and return to your realm” or “Depart with my gratitude and blessings.” Visualize the entity or energy departing and the connection being severed.
Closing the ritual: Thank the elemental powers or divine forces for their presence and protection, and release them from the ritual space. Extinguish any candles or incense, and envision the protective circle dissipating. Ground yourself by connecting with the earth, and take a few moments to reflect on your experience.
Remember that evocation is a highly personal and individualized practice.
Tools are employed to represent an energy, symbolically, but they are also brought in as a utility for a specific use. Here is a short list to give you some ideas.
- Ritual Dagger or Sword (Athame): Often used to direct and manipulate energy, cast a circle, or trace sigils and symbols. Represents the element of air and the power of intellect and communication.
- Wand: Similar to the ritual dagger, the wand is used to direct and manipulate energy. It represents the element of fire and the power of will and transformation.
- Chalice: Represents the element of water and is used to hold ritual beverages, often wine or water. Symbolizes the power of intuition, emotion, and receptivity.
- Pentacle: A flat, round object or plate inscribed with a pentagram (a five-pointed star). Represents the element of earth and the power of grounding, stability, and manifestation. Can be used to consecrate other ritual tools or as a focal point for evocation.
- Incense: Used to purify and consecrate the ritual space, and to create a specific atmosphere for evocation. Different types of incense can be chosen based on their associations with specific energies or entities. For example, frankincense is often used for purification and protection, while sandalwood is associated with spiritual growth and meditation.
- Candles: Serve as a source of light and energy, and can be chosen in specific colors to represent particular intentions, energies, or entities. For example, a white candle may be used for purification and protection, while a red candle might be used for passion or courage.
- Anointing Oils: Used to consecrate ritual tools, anoint the practitioner, or dress candles. Different oils have various associations and can be chosen based on the intention of the evocation. For example, lavender oil is associated with calming and healing, while rosemary oil is used for protection and purification.
- Sigils or Symbols: Visual representations of specific entities, energies, or intentions. They can be drawn or inscribed on parchment, paper, or other surfaces, and are used as focal points for evocation or to enhance the connection with the desired entity or energy.
- Robes or Ritual Clothing: Worn by the practitioner to symbolize the transition from the mundane world to the sacred space of the ritual. May be chosen in specific colors or adorned with symbols to represent the practitioner’s intention or connection with a particular tradition.
- Altar: A dedicated space to hold ritual tools, offerings, and other objects associated with the evocation. May be adorned with symbols, images, or representations of the entity or energy being evoked.
- Offerings: Items or substances offered to the entity or energy being evoked as a sign of respect and gratitude. Offerings may include food, drink, incense, flowers, or other items that are significant to the practitioner or the entity being evoked.
- Dagger: A dagger, also known as an athame in some traditions, is a double-edged knife used to direct and manipulate energy. It can be employed for casting circles, inscribing symbols, or cutting through barriers, both physical and energetic. It often represents the element of air.
- Sword: Similar to the dagger, a sword is used to direct energy, cast circles, and assert authority within the ritual space. It can symbolize protection, strength, and clarity. In some traditions, a sword is used in place of a dagger, while in others, it has a distinct role.
- Bell: A bell is used to mark the beginning and end of a ritual or to invoke specific energies, spirits, or deities. The sound of a bell is believed to clear negative energies, create sacred space, and establish harmony. In some traditions, bells are also used for banishing unwanted energies or entities.
- Censer: A censer is a container for burning incense, which is used to purify and consecrate the ritual space or to create a specific atmosphere. The smoke from the incense is believed to carry prayers and intentions to the higher realms or to facilitate communication with spiritual beings.
- Cauldron: A cauldron is a large pot or vessel, often made of cast iron, used for mixing ingredients, burning incense or herbs, or holding water or other liquids. It represents the element of water and is associated with transformation, rebirth, and the divine feminine.
- Besom (Witch’s Broom): A besom is a ritual broom used to cleanse and purify a space, both physically and energetically. It is often employed to sweep away negative energies and create a clear, sacred environment for ritual work.
- Scrying Mirror or Crystal Ball: A scrying mirror or crystal ball is used for divination and to facilitate communication with spiritual beings. These tools help the practitioner focus their mind and tap into their intuition, allowing them to perceive messages, images, or insights related to their intentions or questions.
- Book of Shadows or Grimoire: A Book of Shadows or Grimoire is a personal journal or record of a practitioner’s magical experiences, rituals, spells, and other spiritual knowledge. It serves as a reference and a means of preserving and sharing wisdom gained through one’s practice.
- Tarot or Oracle Cards: Tarot or oracle cards are tools for divination, self-discovery, and spiritual guidance. They can be used within rituals to gain insight into a specific situation, explore potential outcomes, or connect with spiritual beings for guidance and support.
- Talismans or Amulets: Talismans and amulets are objects that are believed to carry specific energies or protective qualities. They can be created or charged during a ritual, then worn or carried by the practitioner to enhance their connection with specific energies, intentions, or spiritual beings.
These items can be incorporated into your magical practice as needed, depending on your personal preferences, beliefs, and intentions. Remember that the power and significance of these tools come from your connection with them and your ability to work with their symbolic and energetic properties.