The Practice of Magical Evocation
As I begin my comments upon Bardon's second book, "The Practice of Magical Evocation" (PME), I must reiterate that I will not be offering practical advice to the student in regard to the actual work of evocation. Instead, my comments will focus upon, hopefully, making the oftentimes obscure remarks made by Bardon, more understandable for the passive reader. For the student who is properly prepared for this work, no advice that I could give would be necessary for their own advancement in this art.
The comments I offer here come from my direct experience with the work of evocation and are not based upon theory or speculation.
As Bardon states in this book and elsewhere, only the student who has completed Step Eight of his first volume, "Initiation Into Hermetics" (IIH), or who has received an equivalent level of initiation by other means, is to be considered properly prepared for the work of evocation.
Even so, the magician who has completed only the eighth Step of IIH will face some difficulties with evocation. At the very outset of any operation of ceremonial magic, the magician must first be able to raise their consciousness sufficiently to act as a deity, but the actual communion with deity is not addressed until the tenth Step. So, for a magician to be capable of exploring the full potential of this art, they must have reached Step Ten. However, this does not preclude a Step Eight initiate from being capable of at least beginning work with evocation.
The reason for this is that the magician who has completed the eighth Step will be master of mental wandering and of the Elements, the Akasha and the Fluids. Having reached this stage, the magician will possess all the rudimentary abilities required to function at a level similar to deity. Thus the magician will know enough about what it means to be at one with deity so as to at least function at the level of mental and perhaps astral evocation. As the student progresses through Step Nine, and especially through Step Ten, their facility with evocation will steadily increase.
Many choose to ignore Bardon's warning in this regard and their results are indeed dubious. I hope, in the comments which follow, to make it plainly clear to you, dear reader, just why this is so.
To begin, I think it important that you understand the difference between the terms "evocation" and "invocation" as these two are often transposed incorrectly. Invocation means to draw a thing into one's own consciousness or into the magical circle itself. Evocation, on the other hand, means to draw forth a thing externally or into the magical triangle. An evoked thing is never drawn into either the magical circle or into the magician's own consciousness.
Many ceremonial rituals begin with an invocation of deity. In this way, the ritualist draws the presence of an external deity into their own consciousness and into their ritual circle. The reason for this act is that the ritualist supposes that this will afford a greater amount of power for enacting their ritual. In other words, an invoked thing is always an external thing which has been drawn into the practitioner's own self. Thus, for example, the exercises in IIH dealing with the accumulation of the Elements are a form of invocation.
PME does not concern invocation. Its only concern is evocation or the bringing of an external being into external manifestation. At no point are such beings drawn into the magician's own consciousness.
This point may seem minor at this stage, but I hope to clarify exactly how truly significant it is throughout the whole practice of evocation. At no point in magical evocation does the magician invoke -- not even deity -- but I will explain this more fully further on.
There have, of course, been many books written about evocation and many occult schools teach a version of this art. But never before have so many details of the true practice been revealed and never in so plain a manner. The main reason for this is a lack of understanding -- that of the authors and that of the audience to their books. For the passive reader, it is nearly impossible to understand evocation except at a very superficial, purely intellectual level. So, I warn you now, it will do little good to read PME or my commentary, if you have not at least read Bardon's first book, IIH -- no matter how many other books on the subject you've read.
One school of thought holds to the idea that evocation is nothing more than an ancient form of psychotherapy. Unfortunately, it is difficult to refute this premise given the fact that if one follows the standard approach to evocation this is all that it will be. The reason for this is that when an uninitiated person tries to practice evocation, all that they will possibly evoke is the contents of their own psyche. While this can be therapeutic, it most usually is not since the evoker is deluded into thinking that the evoked entities are actually external beings and not evoked from their own imagination.
The true magician however, is not fooled by their own psyche and is capable of recognizing self-delusion. Only such a one can truly evoke an external being.
Here Bardon tries to give the reader an understanding of what is meant by the term "magic". There are two points in this section that I'd like to explain a bit further.
The first is his differentiation between "black" and "white" magic, good and evil. As he points out, the concepts of good and evil will not hold sway over the magician since such a one understands that the universe is a unified whole, not a dualistic opposition of parts. From the Hermetic perspective, the defining of things into opposite camps of good and evil is secondary to the personal distinction between right and wrong. Both good and evil are subjective judgments we make in order to navigate through the twists and turns that life presents, but neither exist as objective, inherent qualities. Every thing that exists, exists because it is the will of Divine Providence that it exist.
It is important that the magician understand this before they begin the work of evocation as this knowledge will effect how they relate to the many beings that they will encounter. Some of those beings will be unpleasant and troublesome but it does no good in relating to such beings if the magician holds to the bias that the being is "evil" by nature. This only puts up a barrier that the being will likely rebel against and which the magician will be unable to penetrate.
The evoker must understand that every creature is equal in the eyes of Divine Providence.
The second point I'd like to speak to is Bardon's distinction between a "sorcerer" and a true magician. Many have adopted the word 'sorcerer' as an honorific and so this distinction is often difficult for the modern reader to understand. To Bardon, a sorcerer is less than a true magician for the simple reason that a sorcerer is not in command of the forces he or she wields. An example of what Bardon means by sorcery is when a novice learns a ritual or ritual words and employs them without having first learned either their significance or the way in which they effect their results. In other words, the sorcerer relies upon the knowledge and work of others for the effectiveness of their "magic".
The true magician on the other hand, knows the universal laws and works directly with the forces of nature to effect their own magic.
This distinction is very important when it comes to the art of evocation. Even among the circle of modern students of IIH, there arises instances of sorcery. For example, many students have been told to make for themselves a talisman corresponding to a spirit named Emrudue. This is nothing other than sorcery (especially considering “Stejnar's "discovery" about the encoding of names that Bardon employed) since the student has no genuine understanding of what they are doing or of its consequences.
[Historical Note: Several years ago someone suggested (erroneously) that Bardon had instructed that students of IIH should make, for themselves, an amulet of “Emrudue” to help further their progress. In point of fact, this is NOT what Bardon said. In PME, under the heading for “Emrudue”, Bardon states: “If a person not initiated into magic wears the seal of the seventh head of the Moon sphere, manufactured during the astrological period of the seventh moon station and engraved on silver plate, he or she will have good luck and success, and, above all, have any earthly desire fulfilled.” This is not a suggestion that the uninitiated attempt to make their own seal; instead, this is suggesting that the uninitiated wear a magically prepared seal, crafted by an initiate. An initiate would know that the name “Emrudue“ is useless in this regard and would have the trained ability to craft a truly magical seal of the “seventh head of the Moon sphere“.]
Likewise, the occult schools and books that teach the novice complex rituals that rely upon special words and movements are also nothing other than a form of sorcery. For any word that is not fully understood by the magician is not to be employed during a ritual act. Fortunately for the novice, these practices border upon theater more so than they do upon actual sorcery.
Another important distinction is that the sorcerer seeks only power and glory instead of spiritual advancement. Consequently, the way of sorcery results in little, if any, spiritual rise.
As a final note to this section, it is good for the reader to understand that when Bardon refers to "jugglery", he means the slight-of-hand tricks performed by stage magicians.
The Magical Aids
Here Bardon seeks to explain the rational basis of the various magical aids or tools. There are some very significant things for the reader to consider here.
First is that a magical tool has no power of its own, generally speaking. The power or effectiveness of a tool comes directly from the magician. Thus, a tool one inherits will have no special power until the inheritor instills it with their own power. Nor will another person be able to tap into and use the power that a magician instills within their tool.
The second important point is that a magically prepared tool must be treated in a respectful manner. For instance, many groups say that one can use a kitchen knife as a magical Athame and then return it to the kitchen drawer for regular use. While this may technically be so, it is of little practical application since the knife would have to be recharged each time it is used ritually.
A magical tool grows in power each time it is used. But this power can never exceed that of the person who wields it. All that a tool can do is save the ritualist time.
To the student of IIH, there is no particular mystery to the charging of a magical tool. It is simply a matter of filling the tool with the appropriate ideation, Fluid, energy or Element, following the techniques learned in IIH. The specific details of the construction of the tools will be dealt with further on, but the important consideration at this stage is that each tool must meet the specific understanding and abilities of the individual magician.
All the previous books that delineated exactly what the shape and color of the tool must be and which exact sigils and words must be inscribed thereon, are all full of misinformation. These things depend entirely upon the desire of the individual and will in no case infer special powers upon the tool if the magician does not fully understand the significance of each aspect.
In essence, the tool is an extension of what is already present within the magician and it must reflect this, with accuracy. Thus each magician's tools will, by nature, be different from those of another magician. The only necessary similarity will be in the nature of their specific functions.
It is always best if the magician constructs their own tools from scratch. While this may be an easy matter with some tools, it does present difficulties for others. For instance, the making of a magic sword may be beyond the ability of the magician and s/he will have to purchase one pre-made. But this is of little essential consequence since it is in the charging of a tool that it gains its real power. If a tool is purchased however, it must first be cleansed of the residue of thoughts and emotions that it has absorbed during its manufacture, prior to its actual charging.
The final point I wish to raise concerns the magician's attitude toward their ritual tools. The tool is used to quickly bring the magician's consciousness up to a certain level. The magician does not invoke the tool's power or ideation into their own consciousness. Instead, the tool acts as a key to the rapid raising of the magician's own consciousness to the required level.
For instance, when the magic wand is applied, the energy is not drawn from the wand itself; rather, the energy is drawn from the magician and projected through the wand once the wand has served to raise the magician's awareness of the specific energy to be used. The magician does not invoke the awareness of this energy from the wand, but instead raises their consciousness to the energy and manipulates it from there, through the wand. This may be a difficult concept to understand (it certainly is difficult to describe) but as you read further its significance will become more evident.
The Magic Circle
As I said earlier, the magician does not invoke anything during an evocation, not even deity. But here Bardon describes the magical circle in terms that sound similar to the invocation of deity that opens many popular ceremonial rituals.
Indeed, the magic circle is meant to be a representation of the magician's individual understanding of deity and of the universe, but this is not employed as an invocation of same. Instead, and here's where the training of IIH is important, the magic circle acts only as a key for the magician's own rise of consciousness. In short, the magician, instead of invoking deity, must raise their consciousness till it merges with deity. This is what is meant by the magician acting as deity while within the magic circle. This is not invoked from outside; rather, it is built up from within.
As Bardon points out, there are as many ways to draw a magical circle as there are magicians. The books and schools that tell the student exactly how the circle is to be constructed are useless to the Hermetic magician. The magician's circle must exactly match the magician's own understanding of the universe or deity. Thus, as the magician's understanding matures, so will their circle change.
A mundane circle, like you would draw on paper, has no intrinsic value. A Magical circle, on the other hand, does have intrinsic power. It has the specific power of affording protection or shielding for the magician who stands at its center. Essentially, it acts as a barrier to any unwelcome external force. I can think of no circumstance where the magician might want to invite another entity into their magic circle other than the fellow humans they may be working with during a specific ritual. In other words, a magic circle allows no entry once it has been cast.
This does not however, limit the magician. Effectively, the magician can travel within their magic circle to any realm whatsoever.
Bardon suggests constructing a physical circle, but while this may be wise for the beginner, it is not strictly necessary. A magic circle can just as readily be constructed entirely within the mind of the magician, but such a circle is less reliable for evocation.
A magic circle is, more properly speaking, a sphere. This shape is a perfect physical representation of infinity and thus deity. The magic circle is a multidimensional sort of thing and the physical circle is merely where the magical sphere intersects the present moment of space-time.
"Casting" a magic circle denotes two operations. First is the mental operation wherein the magician raises their consciousness to the level of deity. This is accomplished during the drawing of the components of the circle, such as a physical circle, appropriate names, canticles, and figures, etc. The second operation is the actual projection of a sphere of energy that intersects the physical outline of the circle. This is not, strictly speaking, a mental operation as it involves the actual projection of a specific (astra-mental) energy.
Bardon mentions this energy with a single, very interesting sentence: "The binding force of the circle is generally known in magnetic magic." In the neo-Wiccan tradition with which I am familiar, the energy used for casting a circle is described as the "blue fire". With eyes that can see such things, it is the same energy one sees surrounding the full moon at midnight.
There are, of course, many methods for creating a magic circle. If one is fortunate enough to have a spare room that can be devoted to a temple space then it is possible to create a permanent circle, so to speak.
The essence of a magic circle is not the physical trappings. Its essence is the consciousness of the magician. Thus it is possible to create a magic circle without any paraphernalia at all. But this takes long practice to master. The magician's circle casting will evolve with practice and may eventually become a very simple operation.
When a properly trained magician casts a true magic circle, then the magician has indeed become at one with deity and therefore stands at the exact center of the universe. Without this ability, a circle casting is not magical.
The magic circle is the primary and most important tool of the ceremonial magician. Second, especially for the practitioner of evocation, is the magic triangle. All other tools it is possible for a trained magician to do without.
The Magic Triangle
As I have said, the magic triangle is the second most important tool for the evocationist. It is similar in nature to the magic circle in that it also forms the foundation of the evoker's working space. While the magic circle encompasses infinity and acts to keep all unwanted external influences from reaching the magician's person, the triangle, on the other hand, acts to both confine and to accommodate the evoked entity. This confinement is important during an evocation ritual since it is unwise to allow an evoked being free reign in our realm. Besides, it is nearly impossible to get an evoked entity to materialize without these confines.
Like the geometric form of a circle, the geometric form of a mundane triangle has no inherent power. But, as before, the magical triangle does possess its own specific power. Through the law of analogy, the magic triangle represents the cohesive power of manifestation or form. This does not just refer to forms composed of physical substance but also to forms composed of mental and astral substance.
Similar to the relationship between the magic circle and the sphere, a magic triangle is, more properly speaking, a tetrahedron. The physical magic triangle is merely where the tetrahedron intersects physical space-time.
As Bardon points out, the essence of the magic triangle's effectiveness is due to its relationship to the number three. An important aspect of the magic triangle that is not all that clearly stated in Bardon's description is that the triangle is drawn AFTER the magic circle has been erected. In other words, it must be drawn while the magician is at one with deity for it to be of any effect at all. These two factors (the magician's level of consciousness and the analogy of number three), plus the energy projected while drawing (or retracing) the triangle, are what make it magical.
One thing that Bardon neglects to mention here is that the magic triangle is never placed within the circle. It is to be placed within easy reach of the circle, but outside of it, and in whichever quarter is most appropriate. Bardon recommends placing the triangle in the East.
As Bardon points out, the magic triangle should be constructed of the same material as the magic circle. This may seem irrelevant, but I assure you that in practice it is not. Furthermore, the triangle can be constructed in whatever manner of detail the magician desires. The only rule is that it have three unbroken sides. An equilateral triangle is best for most uses and it is always situated so that it points away from the center of the magic circle.
Both the magic circle and the magic triangle serve to contain the two atmospheres relevant to the evocation. The magic circle holds the atmosphere suitable for the magician-as-deity, and the magic triangle contains the atmosphere relevant to the being evoked.
During a ritual of evocation, the magic triangle may be used to house the magic mirror, a Fluid condenser, the sigil of the being that is to be evoked, or any other such aid.
The Magic Censer
The magic censer is one of two tools that pertain to the atmospheric requirements of the magic triangle and to the being that is evoked therein. The other tool is the magic lamp, but as you will see in my discussion of the magic censer, the lamp is not strictly necessary. Actually, even the censer is not strictly necessary -- all that is essential is the atmosphere itself.
For the censing to be truly effective, the magician must still retain their unity of consciousness with deity. To begin the censing operation (i.e., the building of the appropriate atmosphere regarding the triangle) the magician must first charge the space accordingly. When evoking a being of the Elements, the room or space must be filled with the corresponding Element and/or Fluid. When evoking an extraterrestrial being from one of the planetary spheres, then the room must be filed with the appropriately colored Light, etc. Without an appropriate charge such as this, a true evocation would be impossible.
The second phase of the censing operation is less of a necessity. Here is where the censer itself comes into play through the burning of an appropriate incense. This is a great aid in the physical condensation of an evoked being if one wishes to achieve a visible physical appearance. In effect, the incense provides the necessary physical substance for the being to combine into a physical form. It also serves as an aid to the magician's consciousness.
Choosing the correct incense is entirely up to the student -- there are numerous books on the subject. The penultimate method for determining the correct incense for any occasion is to ask, through mental wandering, the being one wishes to evoke, which scent they prefer.
The specific form of the censer itself is irrelevant. It can be a simple dish if that satisfies the magician. Most prefer something more ornate, but here, practicality is the main determining factor. The censer's ability to strengthen the magician's concentration through its symbolism is secondary.
The Magic Mirror
If we consider the magic circle and triangle as the primary evocational tools, and the censer and other regalia concerned with the atmosphere as secondary, then the magic mirror is among the tertiary class. This class of tool primarily concerns the actual drawing of the evokee into the magic triangle. Also among this third class of tool are the sigils of the various beings.
A secondary use of the magic mirror is as a doorway for projecting one's mental body into the realm of the being that will be evoked. [This use of the magic mirror is discussed in Steps Eight and Nine of IIH.]
A magic mirror can also be employed as a supplement for the maintaining of the proper atmosphere. In fact, a practicing evocationist may want to employ more than one mirror, each of which will always serve the same single function. For example, the magician may choose to use one as a platform for the being to appear upon and a second mirror to maintain the atmospheric charge. However, a magic mirror is by no means a necessity since all of its functions can be carried out by the properly trained magician without the aid of any tool.
During an evocation, the evoked being may be asked to materialize through the magic mirror, but only if it is placed within the confines of the magic triangle. Bardon speaks about placing it at the apex of the triangle -- outside of the confines of the triangle -- but this is only done when its function concerns either the atmosphere or if it is providing an extra boost of energy for the evoked being. For most atmospheric uses, it can be placed anywhere within the ritual space.
The type of mirror used is up to the magician. A solid Fluid condenser-based mirror (such as Bardon describes in IIH) is, of course, best, but for most occasions, a simpler one suffices.
The Magic Lamp
The magic lamp belongs to the second class of tool as it pertains to the ritual atmosphere. Bardon explains well the use of such a lamp and speaks highly of its usefulness. I agree and have found it to be very helpful in maintaining the color of the atmosphere while freeing up my consciousness for other matters during the ritual.
One can employ numerous lamps during a single ritual if desired. For example, the magician could arrange seven green lamps around the triangle (or elsewhere) when evoking a being of Venus.
As with the censer, the shape of the magical lamp is determined more by its functionality than its aesthetic.
Even though they may seem to be the most convenient, Bardon warns against using electric lights. He raises a very valid point here for the modern magician. Electro-magnetic fields DO exert an interruptive force upon many delicate magical operations and evocation is no exception. For any magician who lives in a house that has electrical wiring within their walls, this must be taken into consideration.
The Magic Wand
The magic wand belongs to a fourth class of tool each of which expresses the magician's own power. Other tools in this class are the sword, knife (dagger or Athame), trident, bell, magical wardrobe, etc.
The wand is the most common tool associated with the magician in popular lore and it is indeed a handy tool. But, it is not strictly necessary as in most cases a finger will do for directing any energy the magician desires. The shape of the wand symbolizes the straight line; i.e., the extension of will.
This tool should be made by the magician's own hands and it must never be allowed to fall into another's possession. The magical wand(s) of a magician should, if at all possible, be destroyed before their death.
The shape and composition of the magical wand is dependent only upon the magician's needs and great creativity must be employed in its crafting. Here, function is just as important as esthete. The average evocationist is likely to have several wands, each devoted to a specific practice or need.
Bardon does an admirable job of describing a few of the possibilities, so I will not belabor the point further.
The Magic Sword, Dagger and Trident
These three tools are actually variations upon the same theme, namely, to act as a symbol of the magician's authority. These belong to the aforementioned fourth class of tools which extend or express the magician's will.
Primarily, these weapons are employed when evoking the lower, "demonic" beings which tend to be unruly. But it does no harm to always have the sword passively displayed as a symbol of one's authority whether it is wielded during the ritual or not.
It is generally more difficult to make a sword, dagger or trident with one's own hands. If this tool is purchased, then it must be thoroughly cleansed of any astra-mental residue remaining from its manufacture, before it is decorated and charged by the magician's own hand.
The charge for these implements is one of Light, sufficient to clearly represent the magician's own authority. If the magician is incapable of properly charging a sword in this manner or does not truly possess the authority the sword implies, then such an implement should not be made nor should it under any circumstances be used. Any being upon which the magician may find occasion to use their sword will be able to instantly see whether or not the magician actually possesses the authority they are representing. If this authority is not actually present, then the being will see this as a goad and will double their rebelliousness.
As Bardon mentions, these implements may also be used as defensive weapons. They, when properly charged, will be able to repel, and possibly destroy, any bothersome influences that may invade the sphere of ritual operation. Indeed, the knife or dagger, is the proper tool for all banishings.
The shape of the sword and dagger is similar to the wand in that it represents a straight line. With the wand, the emphasis is upon the ends of the line; but here, the symbolic emphasis is upon the edge of the line -- its sharpness and its ability to cut. In this regard, the wand is Solar and the sword/dagger is Martian. Both express power, just in different ways and to different degrees.
The Magical Crown, Cap or Magus-Band
This is the uppermost part of the magician's ritual wardrobe (i.e., that which is worn on the body of the magician throughout the ritual) and partakes of the fourth class of tool. The function of the crown is two-fold: one is as a statement of the magician's authority for all to see, and second, is as an aid to the magician's raising of their own consciousness.
In terms of the sequence of an evocation, the magician begins by first arranging the necessary accouterments and then puts on their magical wardrobe. The adornment of the body is the preparation for the actual ritual work of casting the circle, etc. It begins the process of putting the magician in the correct state of mind.
The crown or magus-band, represents the maturity of the magician and is most always associated with an oath on the part of the magician, swearing them to always follow the highest of ideals. A magician may have, if desired, more than one such head dress, but it is better if only one is made in such a manner that it serves all purposes.
This should be constructed by the magician's own hand and made with the finest materials within the magician's means. It should be an object of great beauty, filled with all the symbols pertinent to the magician's understanding of deity. The magician must be cognizant of every symbol that appears on their head dress, otherwise it should not be employed.
The magician's head dress should be treated the same as a holy relic for this increases its power considerably. Never should the magician wear it inappropriately. This, and all the other articles of the magical wardrobe, should also be destroyed before the magician's death.
The Magical Garment
This is perhaps the most intimate of all the magical regalia. It is the magician's second skin, as it were. Every effort should be taken to make this with one's own hands. For the beginning seamster, buttons are not necessary as a pull-over robe will do just as well.
If at all possible, the raw fabric, the thread and needle, should be cleansed of all astra-mental residue remaining from their manufacture, before the garment is constructed. During the construction itself, the magician's mind should be absolutely focused upon the task at hand and upon the magical significance of the robe. In this way, the root ideation will be sewn into each stitch.
As Bardon warns, this garment should not be touched nor seen by another individual other than those working directly with the magician during ritual. It should be worn only during magical operations. For practical purposes, the magician will want to fashion at least two robes: one for normal magical operations and one reserved solely for evocation. Violet silk (only silk should be used -- raw silk being the easiest to work with) will do admirably for almost all purposes.
The magic robe symbolizes the magician's purity, both to other beings and as an adjunct to the magician's own rise of consciousness. Similar to the magus-band, the robe should be treated like a holy relic, and should always be carefully stored when not in use.
The Magic Belt (or Cincture)
This completes the magic wardrobe proper. The symbolism of the magic belt is of the straight line that has, through the will of the magician, been bent into a circle with the ends joined by tying. This is the Ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail.
The magic belt represents the Elemental Equilibrium of the adept, won though hard labor. If this equilibrium has not been attained then the magic belt will be nothing other than a pretty adornment, suitable more for theater than ritual magic.
The magic belt cinches together all of the magician's own powers and abilities, thus it too is sworn to an oath when consecrated. In many ways, it corresponds to the Element Earth and its power to condense things and join one thing to another.
So long as the magic belt is made with one's own hands, it matters little what specific substance it is composed of. Of course it must be an aesthetic fit with the rest of the magic wardrobe, but the details of this are entirely up to the individual. It does not hurt to make the magic belt out of material that will also serve as a sort of Fluid Condenser, but this is not strictly necessary since its main significance will be to the magician's own mentation.
Whether it is to be buckled, buttoned or tied is of little consequence. I prefer to tie it since this is more fitting with the symbolism I wish it to express. With a tied belt, you can even use where you place the dangling ends to further strengthen its symbolism (i.e., in front, in back, or to either side).
Further Magical Aids
Here Bardon lists several other opportunities for the construction of magical tools. Some of these are supplemental and have nothing to do with the ritual of evocation itself and others are of great value.
These tools are:
1) Pen, ink, engraving pencil, needles, thread, fabric, paper, colors, and consecration oil. This category concerns the implements necessary for construction of the other tools, sigils, etc. Each of these items is consecrated and empowered, and reserved solely for ritual use.
2) Salt, incense, chalice (cup), paten, whip, and bell. These are actual ritual tools. Although they are not strictly necessary for an evocational operation, they are of great value in other ceremonial (especially in the consecration of the major magic tools). While the first four a fairly well known, the last two deserve some explanation.
The whip need not be too large and it is best, of course, if you can fashion it with your own hands. Its function is similar to a magic sword or dagger, but it does not threaten death in order to manifest authority.
The magic bell is a very fascination tool. I use several in conjunction with my ritual pursuits and find them to be extremely effective. The sound of a bell is penetrating and can completely transform the tenor of a ritual space. A bell of the proper note and resonance can easily be used as a quick method of summoning a specific entity once such an agreement has been made between the magician and the being in question.
Bardon states that the bell must be made of electro-magicum but in my experience this is not necessary. I employ bells made of either brass or silver and these have always served me to my satisfaction.
3) The magic chain. This belongs to the category of the ritual wardrobe. Also in this specific sub-category, belongs ritual jewelry such as finger-rings, bracelets, pendants, brooches and ear-rings. Each of these is meant to symbolize the magician's accomplishments such as with the magic chain and its symbolism of membership in the brotherhood of magicians.
There comes a point of overkill with the ritual adornment. Unfortunately, many modern magicians fall into the delusion of thinking that wearing all kinds of fancy jewelry will somehow increase their power. In reality, all this does is inform the spirits evoked by the magician that the magician is not as truly powerful as they would like to pretend. In my opinion, the simpler the better. Any being that is evoked will be able to immediately perceive the magician's true status, and excessive (especially unwarranted) adornment will not positively influence the being's perception of the magician. This form of adornment is strictly for the maintenance of the magician's own state of mind.
One tool not mentioned by Bardon, is the magic staff. This tool is similar to the magic lamp in that it symbolizes the magician's wisdom. The lamp expresses this through its power of illumination, but the staff expresses wisdom as a solid, practical force. The magic staff also represents the long labor of the adept and implies a degree of maturity. It is the wisdom-based grounding strength of the adept.
As with the bell, the magic staff can be employed as an instrument of rhythm during a ritual. It can also be used as a guide for the consciousness as it rises through the planes. For example, a series of tamps with the magic staff can correspond to the numerical kabbalistic sphere to be traveled to.
There are of course, an nearly endless number of possibilities when it comes to the construction of magical aids. How many and for what purpose is entirely up to the needs of the individual.
The Pentacle, Lamen or Seal (Sigil, Talisman, etc.)
While these things have been grouped together by Bardon, they are really separate things that serve separate functions.
The magic pentacle serves to represent a universal power, and is usually displayed during ritual when the magician feels the need for greater power or influence over the evoked being. The pentacle is kept handy within the magic circle.
The lamen is another symbol of the magician's authority, belonging to the category of the magic wardrobe. It is similar to the sword/dagger and the whip, but on a more spiritual, mental level and with less actual threat. The lamen is worn by the magician and is thus kept within the magic circle during the actual ritual.
The talisman, however, is displayed when the magician feels the need for protection. It evokes the protective power of a specific entity, deity or ideation. It too is kept within the magic circle and within convenient reach (in a pocket is good).
The sigil, which Bardon does not actually list here, is used as one means of calling forth the evoked entity into the magic triangle. The sigil is, so to speak, the signature of the being and it may act as a gateway through which said being may be called forth into our realm. During such an operation, it is drawn magically upon paper or some other medium and placed in the center of the magic triangle.
The Book of Magic Formulae
This is a misnomer. A better title would be "The Magical Diary", for this is truly no more than a journal of the magician's experiences. Some call it their "Book of Shadows". I cannot stress sufficiently how important it is to keep such a journal. This is where the magician writes down an exact telling of the construction and consecration of each tool, of the plans and preparation for each ritual, plus a detailed outline of the ritual, and a retelling of the experience of each ritual enacted.
The value of this sort of note taking is that the magician can then easily go back and examine what's been done. It's also like an address book should the magician ever want to go back and reestablish contact with an entity worked with before.
As Bardon notes, the magical diary is a very personal thing and great care should be taken to assure that it does not fall into the wrong hands. This is another thing that should be destroyed prior to the magician's death.
In the midst of speaking about how past authors of grimoires, etc., have resorted to obfuscation in their writings, Bardon states: "In order that the real truth, true ideas and spiritual facts might never be known by the public, many code-words and secret formulae have been introduced, the deciphering of which has been reserved to the mature." This is very important in regard to Bardon's own writing of PME. Since the cat has already been let out of the bag, so to speak, I feel free to alert you to the fact that Bardon also used a code when he named the beings of the spheres.
I suspect the reason Bardon did this was because he wanted to afford some protection to the uninitiated dabbler. This reinforced his warning that the magician must have first reached the end of Step Eight of IIH, before pursuing PME. For truly, any person who has reached such a level will, on their own, very quickly realize that a code was used and that the names as published are useless.
Whether or not the magician chooses to encode the writings in their magic diary is totally up to the discretion of the individual. Encoding has many advantages, not the least of which is that a code can act as a sort of short-hand and make the taking of notes an easier process.
Near the end of this section, Bardon provides an outline of an evocation ritual. I have only one disagreement with his outline and that has to do with the order of things. Once I have all the necessary accouterments in place, I prefer to put on the ritual wardrobe (robe, belt and cap) before I cast the magic circle. In other words, I would put items 13 through 16, after item 5.
In the Domain of the Spirit Beings
Here Bardon provides a well written expose upon the various planes or spheres that the evocationist will be working with.
The first zone to be contended with is our normal sphere of every day existence. This physical realm is explored during the IIH Step Eight work of mental wandering and is thus considered preparatory to PME.
It is important to note here that one can neither evoke a being from a sphere higher than one's own level of maturity, nor travel to such a sphere. In other words, someone who is mature enough to reach the Mercury sphere cannot genuinely reach the Venus sphere until they have thoroughly explored the Mercury sphere. The exploration and the interaction with the beings of the sphere are what raise the magician's level of maturity.
The first zone concerning the evocationist is the "zone girdling the Earth". In the kabbalistic cosmology, this zone equates with Malkuth -- "Kingdom". [Malkuth comprehends the physical realm but only at its lowest point.] Many kabbalists state that all ten spheres (Sephirot) are reflected within each sphere. Thus in Malkuth there would be a Malkuth-of-Malkuth, a Yesod-of-Malkuth, a Hod-of-Malkuth, etc. These are the levels of density that Bardon refers to.
Bardon states that for the beings of this realm, as well as for the adept who explores this realm, the "ideas of time and space do not exist." This is not altogether accurate in an absolute sense. Time -- sequence and duration -- and space -- specific location -- do still exist, but one is not bound by these factors in the same way we are in the normal day-to-day world. In other words, the magician can travel to any time or place within this realm but cannot encompass the whole of either time or space from within this realm. The magician may travel to any specific moment/location of time/space but cannot be in more than a single moment/location of time/space at once. Eternity belongs to the realm of Saturn and beyond.
In several pagan traditions, it is believed that when a person dies, their soul becomes a part of the natural surroundings and spreads itself evenly throughout the material realm. From an Hermetic point of view this is an accurate analysis and can be easily related to what Bardon describes of the eventual place of residence of a departed soul.
All the beings within the zone girdling the Earth are tied, in a direct way, with the physical universe. Thus we find departed spirits awaiting their next incarnation. This is the realm in which the astral body slowly decomposes. Furthermore, we find the Elemental beings and the zodiacal spirits that rule over the natural functions, etc.
This is the closest and easiest astral realm for the magician to reach.
Since this is the realm where the soul resides after physical death, it behooves the magician to explore it fully and especially to seek out the place they will end up after death. A well trained magician will be able to transfer many of their ritual regalia, etc., to their place of final residence and can, if they so choose, continue to influence the physical realm from there after they have passed over. Some have been know to maintain an astral presence such as this for an extended period of time, enacting their own special mission. But eventually, even this form must be abandoned and the adept will either reincarnate or will free themselves, with the grace of Divine Providence, from the wheel of rebirth and merge totally with the Divine.
At the end of his discussion of the zone girdling the Earth, Bardon states: "The earth-zone is by no means bordered in any way; it stretches out over the cosmos, not only over the ball of the earth." This may be a difficult idea to comprehend, especially since it's called the "earth" zone. But this title, along with the other planetary titles for the spheres, have nothing to do with the physical planets themselves. These are merely analogies.
We say "earth-zone" in order to signify the manifest universe. As Bardon states, the zone girdling the earth, pertains to the whole manifest cosmos. The other, higher zones are connected to this earth-zone through the spheres-within-spheres I mentioned earlier. Thus, as the evocationist calls forth a being from the Venus zone, for example, this being will have to descend through the Venus level of the earth-zone, in order to appear in the physical realm. Conversely, a magician must have reached the level of maturity signified by the Venus-of-Malkuth level of density, in order to be able to travel to the Venus zone or to evoke a being from that zone.
Bardon goes on to name the remaining seven zones. Their kabbalistic equivalents are:
Moon = Yesod (Foundation) = #9
Mercury = Hod (Splendor) = #8
Venus = Netzach (Victory) = #7
Sol = Tiphareth (Beauty) = #6
Mars = Geburah (Severity) = #5
Jupiter = Gedulah/Chesed (Mercy) = #4
Saturn = Binah (Understanding) = #3
There are however, two kabbalistic spheres beyond Binah (Chokmah/Wisdom and Kether/Crown), but these are not of concern to the evocationist since the "beings" of these spheres do not have forms in the common sense and thus cannot be evoked. There are, of course, "realms" beyond even Kether, referred to in the kabbalistic cosmology by the name "Ayin" (translated into English as "naught" or "no thing"), but these "realms" are so far beyond the ken of our realm of Being that they are truly incomprehensible to us as human beings. Only The Unity is capable of comprehending these "realms".
Advantages and Disadvantages of Evocational Magic
This entire section really has nothing to do with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of evocation. A better title might have been "WARNING". Here Bardon speaks about necromancy, sorcery, contracts, and all the reasons why he warns against dabbling in this art if you're not truly prepared. To my mind this shows how concerned Bardon was for the safety of the average reader.
The Spiritus Familiaris or Serving Spirits:
This is an interesting discussion since most past books on the subject hold that the having of a hoard of serving spirit (familiars) is to be the goal of the evocationist. Many grimoires even go to the length of listing how many servants such and such a demon has under their command, etc.
But as Bardon points out, this is not a necessary part of evocation. It is good for the evocationist to experience the service of a familiar at least once, but it is not a practice that must be taken to extremes. A familiar can be quite handy at times for the accomplishment of simple tasks and may save the magician a great deal of time, however it also comes with its own responsibilities and the magician may instead decide to handle things for themselves. If you consider the time and effort an evocation ritual takes, the net savings in time must be carefully evaluated.
I would like to note that some of the higher beings will place serving spirits into the magician's sphere on their own as a blessing to the magician. This takes none of the magician's own attention and is never an intrusive thing.
Here is where Bardon actually talks about the advantages and disadvantages of magical evocation, with an emphasis on what the true prerequisites are. I'll go through these prerequisites one at a time:
1) Well honed astral (and mental) senses. Without these senses, the magician would be unable to gauge the truthfulness of any being evoked, let alone perceive them in their astral form within the triangle.
2) The magical implements or regalia. These are necessary for the beginner. They may, however be dispensed with once the magician has mastered a certain realm, and then the evocation of the beings of said realm can be achieved very easily and without ceremony. But each time the magician advances to a new realm, the magical tools must once again be employed. Evocation is a cyclic process of graduation from novice-to-master-to-novice-to-master, etc.
3) The ability to create the appropriate atmosphere suitable to the entity evoked. This refers to the abilities learned through the first eight Steps of IIH. Specifically, the ability to condense the Elements, Fluids and Lights.
4) Facility with mental wandering. Without the ability to mentally travel to the sphere of the relevant being, a true evocation would be impossible. This is the first step (after the casting of the circle, etc.) of an evocation proper. This is how the magician 'invites' the being to appear in the magic triangle. Also, any mystery as to the being's correct name, shape, powers and sigil will be clarified at this point.
5) The magical authority. This is the most essential ingredient of a true magical evocation. By authority Bardon does not mean mundane power-over. The true magical authority comes from the inner maturity of the magician and is made manifest through the magician's unity with deity. The communion and merging with deity is, as I've said before, more properly a part of Step Ten of IIH, but by the end of Step Eight, the student will know enough to effect this sort of contact with deity -- at least enough to work with the evocation of the beings of the Elements.
6) The three-part action. This is not mentioned here specifically by Bardon, but I think it's worth listing. By three-part action I mean the ability to work with full consciousness of one's mental, astral and physical body, simultaneously. Bardon speaks of this in the Step Six, mental exercises when he instructs the student to become cognizant of their spirit working within the glove of the astral body and the physical body. This is a heightened state of awareness wherein each movement is supremely intentional. Without this ability, ritual movements are mere theater.
Following this discussion of prerequisite abilities, Bardon mentions a few things about the evocation ritual itself. The first issue concerns the need to have the entire ritual planned out, everything from what sort of incense, to exactly what sort of oration (if any ) is planned. This must all be committed to memory BEFORE beginning the ritual. Especially if the magician plans any sort of pre-written oratory -- such things should not be read, they should be spoken from the heart or they will have no appreciable effect.
As Bardon points out, there should be no unfilled pause in a ritual. No stumbling for lack of remembering what comes next. An evocation is like a maestro's concerto: there may be pauses designed into the flow, but they are PREGNANT pauses, filled with meaning and intent. It should be the same with the evocation -- it too is an art.
Next, Bardon mentions that the conversation with an evoked being occurs in the language most deeply known by the evocationist. If the evocationist speaks several languages, then the conversation will occur in the language that the initiate uses internally. This does not mean that an evoked being speaks or understands the specific language of the evocationist. On the astral and mental planes all communication occurs at the level of un-worded meaning. There really is no "angelic language" in the common sense -- no language filled with words that are strange and difficult to pronounce as some would have you believe.
As I said, the universal language is that of pure meaning. It is in the perception of this meaning that human language comes into play. Essentially, the translation from root meaning, into the evocationist's own language, transpires within the subconsciousness of the initiate. Conversely, the spoken words of the evocationist are translated by the initiate's subconsciousness into pure meaning. This two-way translation occurs spontaneously and without the will of either the initiate or the evoked being.
One can, with long practice, set aside spoken words and communicate directly by means of pure meaning. Another method is to converse with visual and audible symbols, but this is less efficacious than either words or pure meaning.
So much of the reality of the art of evocation has been shrouded in superstition and fear. As an example, Bardon mentions that for the true magician there will be no poltergeist-like phenomena -- no elevating table, shattering mirrors, nor howls in the night. There must also be no surges of emotion during an evocation, nor any extreme physical sensations. Such things are the mark of an unprepared dabbler, not of a true magician.
A truly prepared magician is in total control of an evocation or any other ritual operation. Both the evoked spirits and the magician him or her self, are under the vigilant control of the evocationist. Here again, the absolute necessity of a proper training makes itself clear.
Next, Bardon raises the issue of how effective an evoked being might be when directed by the magician to carry out a specific task. At first, all that the magician will be able to carry out through the agency of an evoked being, will pertain strictly to the mental realm. In other words, the being will be able to effect only the mentation of either the evoker or others. With time, the mentation thus affected will, of its own accord, manifest upon astral and, eventually upon physical levels, but this occurs in the due course of nature and is not a direct, immediate effect. The energy that the evoked being uses in the fulfillment of such a task generally comes from the magician's own self. It may also come from the universal storehouse of energy, but access to this storehouse must first be commissioned by the magician. In some cases, an evoked being may be persuaded to employ their own energy for the accomplishment of the magician's appointed task, but this should never be a complex task. It is far friendlier to provide the fuel for the evoked being than to demand it of the being itself. It's like paying for the gasoline when someone offers you a ride. :)
With continued practice and as the magician's abilities mature, one will be able to by-pass the natural mental-to-astral-to-physical descent into manifestation and cause an effect directly upon the astral sphere. This requires a greater condensation of energy for the evoked being to work with. Simultaneous with the projection of an effect upon the astral sphere, a coherent cause is created in the mental sphere. But here again, it will take some time for the effect to naturally descend into a physical manifestation.
Eventually, the magician may be able to cause a physical effect through the agency of an evoked being. Similar to an astral effect, there will be a simultaneous creation of a fully formed mental and an astral causation. This requires a great facility with the condensation of the Elements.
Generally, it is easier for the magician to cause physical effects directly, for themselves. Remember, no evoked being is able to do anything for the magician that the magician cannot already do through their own hands-on labor. The only exception to this is when the dabbler meets up with a negative being who is trying to get the person involved in some sort of parasitic "contract". But such an encounter will never transpire for the truly prepared magician. In the hands of a properly trained magician, the art of evocation poses no threat whatsoever.
Near the end of this section, Bardon repeats the old injunction about how the stars influence but do not compel. This is absolutely true. For the magician, astrological considerations will be a valuable adjunct but not a necessity. If convenient, a ritual may be timed so that it coincides with favorable astrological aspects, etc., but never does the absence of this sort of synchronization preclude an evocation.
Astrological influences effect only those things that have corporeal existence. It is geo-centric. It does not matter one wit in the astral or mental realms, what position a certain planet is in on the physical realm. The only effect the magician might experience in regard to ritual timing is that the physical circumstances surrounding the ritual will be eased if the astrological influences are deemed favorable, or made more difficult if they are unfavorable. This (whether positive or negative) will be seen in the preparation of the ritual space and in the ease with which any physical effect, or any effect pertaining to the astral or mental body of a corporeal entity, will be accomplished. But to the well trained magician, these effects can be easily overridden.
Bardon concludes by saying that at the end of the evocation ritual, the magician must lead the evoked entity back to its own, native realm. This is rarely mentioned in detail in other books on evocation, other than to provide the practitioner with all sorts of exorcisms and fairly abusive orations which threaten dire consequences if the entity does not immediately return to its realm. This is like rudely shoving a visitor out the door immediately after coffee and without a warm farewell. What is the motivation then to return or even to remain friends?
Kindness is the solvent used by the evocationist and it dissolves all resistance. Evocation is similar to courtship -- it never hurts to walk your date home. ;-) Thus the magician will always escort the evoked entity back to its appointed realm. This not only cultivates a good relationship with the spirits of the realm being explored, but also assures the magician that the entity has indeed found their way home.
It is vital for the evocationist to ascertain that the entity has truly departed at the end of any ritual working. This is a big part of the final conclusion of a ritual during which the magician must completely sever their thoughts from the past magical work. Bardon raises this issue in IIH when he speaks about the creation of an Elemental. Once the Elemental has been sent off to perform its appointed task, the magician consciously stops thinking about the Elemental and in this way frees the Elemental from the magician's own sphere. This same rule holds true for most works of ritual magic -- the ritual must be ended completely before the magician leaves the ritual area. This is done by severing one's thoughts of the ritual; cutting them off entirely for a period of time so that the ritual and its work may gain some degree of independence. This is yet another instance where a good training is essential.
Of course after the ritual, the evocationist will spend some time taking detailed notes of the experience, and will thus have to engage in thinking about the ritual. It is best if there can be a period of several minutes (completely bereft of thoughts about the ritual) between the end of the ritual and the note taking, allowing for the immediacy of the connection to weaken. When note taking, and later, when merely remembering the ritual, the magician will have to take care that they do not become so involved with their memory of the ritual that they, in effect, reenact it magically in their mind. At first, this may be difficult, but for a well trained magician it will be quickly mastered.
The Practice of Magical Evocation
Here Bardon describes the itinerary of an actual evocation ritual. He does not go into minute detail and describes only a very easy, uncomplicated evocation. He does however, do an admirable job of informing the passive reader of what the bare-bones of an actual evocation ritual would be like.
As he points out, the practicing evocationist will adapt this basic model to fit their own individual preferences. Since anything I could add by way of description would be useless to the passive reader and unnecessary for the trained practitioner, I will refrain from elaborating upon what Bardon says in this section.
In this section, Bardon describes the various planes of the planetary hierarchy and lists a sizable number of the entities one may encounter there. There is nothing of value that I can think of to add to this section other than to say that Bardon's descriptions are accurate and truthful. The only difficulty is that he encoded the names for many of the spirits of the hierarchy, as I've discussed earlier.
Intercourse with Beings, Genii and Intelligences of all Spheres by Mental Traveling
In the course of IIH, mental travel comes before astral travel. This may seem odd considering the popularity of supposedly astral "out of body experiences". The reason for Bardon's sequencing is that astral travel is more difficult, more limited and more dangerous. As Bardon points out, one cannot travel beyond the earth-zone while wearing one's astral body -- the astral body is simply too dense to exist within the purely mental realm.
In essence, a body must be either an exact match, or lighter than, the medium of the plane to which it travels. For example, you cannot pass with your physical form into the zone girdling the earth. Likewise, you cannot enter the moon-zone wearing your earth-zone body. Conversely, you can venture into the earth-zone wearing your moon-zone body, but in order to cause a direct effect in a lower zone, you must condense it to the specific vibration of that lower zone.
Mental wandering is a primary tool for the magician and is essential to the evocationist. Here, Bardon describes its application in exploring the planes of the planetary hierarchy.
This section covers items of practice that have already been addressed.
This is a lovely epilogue to PME. I would like to close with the following excerpt:
"Even if only a few human beings are able to go through this course, my second work will have fulfilled its intended purpose. For my books do not belong to the literature which is only read and which afterwards is left to get covered with dust in libraries and corners of bookcases; quite the contrary, my works are destined to serve as a guide and aid to those who have grown up to hermetics and high Adeptship through the coming centuries. In the course of time, millions of human beings will keep to the indicated methods of teaching, putting them into practice to promote their own development and strive steadily after perfection."
Here Bardon displays the sigils (seals) for each of the entities of the hierarchy that he has described previously. This may aid the evocationist at the initiation into a new sphere, but soon after, the magician will find these things out through their own mental travel. In any case, it is wise, when using another's sigil, to verify whether or not it is the one most preferred by the entity to be evoked.
The sigils that Bardon gives are quite different from those given by other grimoires. Many of the older sigils were derived by connecting the various elements of planetary squares or other ciphers, but Bardon's sigils were not derived in this way. His sigils come directly from the beings involved and are, in this way, the being's own signature. They are thus ultimately more effective for evocation. This is not to say that sigils derived by other means are ineffective; it's just that they are less direct and rely more upon the ideation of the evocationist. The ability of these other sigils is a "built up" thing, fed by repeated, traditional use.
For the most part, Bardon's sigils are composed of expressive lines, curves, squiggles, etc. Some of the more complex sigils however, also contain recognizable figures and letters. These too are expressive marks. It should be noted that, especially with the sigils of higher beings, these sigils should not be relied upon since their expressiveness has been translated through the psyche of Franz Bardon -- the evocationist will want to make a sigil that translates this expressiveness through symbols more relevant to their own psyche.
The majority of Bardon's sigils are delivered as black lines, while some of the more complex ones are delivered in color. These colors signify certain planetary, Elemental or Fluidic influences. The ones given in color are reproduced as shown, on a white background, with the planetary color surrounding or outlining the sigilic form (decagon/earth-zone, octagon/Mercury-zone or square/Jupiter-zone). The sigils given in black are actually drawn in the color appropriate to the being's realm or Element. Alternately, they may be drawn in black upon an appropriately colored paper.
Bardon has listed only a small few of the entities one can meet. The ones he chose to list here are ones that he contacted personally and who consented to having their sigils printed for all to see. These beings have also committed to looking favorably upon the sincere students of Franz Bardon's works. Essentially, when one first uses one of these sigils, one works under the personal aegis of Bardon. In this way, Bardon has given a benefit or advantage to the beginning evocationist.
I hope that, through my comments, I have in some small way helped you to better understand the significance of PME and of the true nature of the art of magical evocation.