What is the Above is from the Below and the Below is from the Above. The Work of Wonders is from One.
These words, in one translation or another, are among the best known of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes the Thrice Great, and form the established basis of Hermetic philosophy, mysticism, and magic. They also explain the basis of the arts of spirit evocation and invocation, which is commonly considered in the occult community to be both an advanced Art and the gateway to the greater powers of magic and the supernatural. Most of this blog thus far has focused on Theurgic Ascension, which is outlined in the Necronomicon through the process of the Gatewalking. This post presents information about Thaumaturgy (wonder-working) and the rites of summoning that are outlined in the Book of Calling and which can be utilized for any type of spirit grammer (including the Urilia Text).
Given the wonderful things that Gatewalking unlocks, its pertinent to ask – Is it really important for a Gatewalker to also be a Summoner? In my opinion, the answer is a definite and loud yes! Summoning and the related arts and processes it entails are essential things to master in our tradition because they provide opportunities to apply the powers and wisdom learned as one traverses the gates of the Holy Tree of Life and Death. Summoning and the arts taught by spirits provide direct applications that make a real and concrete impact on the lives of a gatewalker and those close to him.
What is necessary to be a good summoner? The first and foremost power that a summoner draws upon is Authority, in the deepest and most spiritual sense of the word. This is something that must be contemplated and often claimed within the life of a gatewalker if he or she is to exercise it fully. Authority is symbolized primarily by two things in the rituals of summoning – the Circle, which defines a summoner as the Center and Point of an operation, and the Commanding Wand, which is both an item, a word, and a stance of attitude that demands respect from the spiritual world. Almost all of the other supplies that compose a ritual depend upon these central forces for their effectiveness. The Authority of the Circle and the Will of the Wand are the bare bones of a summoning. The Circle is a lofty subject for meditation, but in brief it demonstrates and manifests the power of Divine Unity (whether understood as God or the Council of the Gods) in relationship to an outside Universe. The relationship may be further defined and circumscribed by a Triangle, which embodies and outlines Manifestation within Limitation. The Wand, symbolic of Primal Fire and Eternal Will, is the Gift of Anu and the extension of his Crown of Heaven. Held and exercised confidently and powerfully, its possibilities are limitless. The basis of authority and will may differ from person to person, but should always be excersied with both confidence and authenticity. Authority can be borrowed from other figures, such as the Gods, if confidence is lacking, but should become more and more personal with time and practice and growth.
What does a summoning entail? Its helpful to think about the analogous process through which human citizens are summoned to a courtroom, whether it is for jury duty or to testify during a deposition. The authority comes from the power that is vested in the governing body. The need comes from the particular expertise, skills, judgment, or experience of a particular individual, especially in relation to the “trials” which are currently being dealt with. The response may vary from enthusiastic and patriotic duty to active hostility with a contempt for the court itself. It is my opinion after years of study that one of the biggest mistakes a summoner can make is to treat all spirits in the same fashion and manner, because spirits vary tremendously based on demographics and history. One does not take the same attitude towards a polytheistic god as they would towards an angel, or behave towards a demon as they would towards an elemental. Although spirits change roles over time, it is very important to understand the context and situation in which you call them, in order to communicate in the most efficient way.
What kind of spirits can be called? “In all, 1001 spirits may be of use to you, and these you will discover in the course of your journey” (I paraphrase the Nec here). The Book of Calling reiterates the axiom I have mentioned before that the Necronomicon, however you understand it, is not meant to be read in isolation. Just as a Gatewalker must study up on the Gods and their history in relationship to humanity, a summoner must study up on both theory and techniques related to their practice of Calling. The registers of spirits are known as Grammers (Grimoires in French) because they present the bare bones of what often amounts to entire curriculums worth of studies. They are written more like notes from a college lecture than textbooks and are meant as jumping off points rather than authoritative final words. Each grammer is designed to work with a particular class of spirits chosen for specific reasons (or at least, a selection from amongst many classes that satisfies a particular need). The spirits that are listed in grammers have been chosen both for their historical efficacy as well as their practical applications; the grammers are far from being exhaustive lists, and even the spirits mentioned are only briefly outlined. The real learning comes during the calling and not from the study beforehand.
For this introductory article, I will outline a number of different classes of spirits that summoners may find useful in the course of their growth. Keep in mind that several of these spirits may become long term friends and quite familiar if given the chance.
*Planetary spirits – I mention these spirits first because in the Nec system, they start to become very accessable right away as soon as one walks their gate. Planetary spirits have very broad powers that manifest with the astrological cycles of their respective bodies, which can take anywhere from hours to years depending on who you work with. They are extremely powerful when enhanced through particularly beneficial astrological timing – for example, the Nec relates that when the Moon and Venus are conjunct (Nanna and Ishtar), it is “as if an offering cup were spilt freely, and there is much rejoicing”. Planetary beings are an excellent place to start for beginning summoners because their results are strong while their timing is moderate. They neither overwhelm in the way goetic entities often do, nor do they confine themselves to lofty and aloof support in the way many angels are said to respond. Planetaries are divided up in numerous ways often related to the numerology and cycles of their planet, such as the 28 mansions of the Moon or the 15 handmaidens of Ishtar. Again, consult your natal chart to discover entities that are particular suited to work with you.
*Stellar spirits – Star spirits embody vast cycles and lengths of time and space, and can share with you glimpses of worlds from “a long time ago in a galaxy far away”. The knowledge they impart is very timeless and they sometimes lack patience with passing trends. This may be where the descriptor of the Igigi/Watchers as “cruel” originates. Science and alchemy are very important to many of these spirits, which include both the spirits of the ecliptic signs as well as of specific stars and star groupings, such as the “Olympic” spirits of the Mount of Heaven.
*Goetic spirits (classic demons) – Every time you call a goetic spirit you call upon a part of yourself that has been discounted and rejected. These spirits have an amazing and natural energy and power that hits very close to home and are easy to call because of their proximity, but are known to test those who summon them. I do not subscribe to the belief of some authors that all goetic work is bad or dangerous, or that you must use a ridiculous number of precautions when dealing with them. What I will say is that dealing with goetics is always concrete and forces you to confront your fears and limitations head on. This is among the hardest but also the most profitable of realtionships. The goetics challenge their summoners but once respect is won, they will lovingly serve their masters for lifetimes and possibly beyond.
*Angels – I define angels primarily as beings whose identity is wrapped around and caught up in a singular, unifying concept, such as “God”. An angels’ will is difficult to separate from what they serve because the will has been given over in love and trust. Angels are said to often delegate practical work to more earthly spirits, but can always uplift one from the dregs of sorrow due to their amazing ability to inspire, enlighten, uplift, and provide perspective. Angels are the ones to go to when you seek to know and perform something with grace and purity. They are literally the “messengers” of a Greater Power.
*Elementals - The elementals are very connected to the visceral experiences of animal and human life, traditionally grouped into the 4 or 5 elements. Their healing abilities are very strong and they almost always strengthen the connection of their summoners to life and the processes by which it occurs. Knowing which elementals to call is often just a matter of examining one’s state and situation in life – for example, a preponderance towards moodiness and melancholic feelings is the perfect situation for the help of a water spirit (undine). Elementals tend to be neutral in relationship to divine politics but there is a lot of diversity amongst their kind and they are not strictly limited to one definition or another. The Theurgia-Goetia outlines many different kind of spirits which could all fall under the headers of “aerial” but which nonetheless have very different attitudes and portfolios, even though “their office is all the same”.
*Deads - Necromancy is still a fairly taboo subject even among occultists, but the Nec provides support and basic tools for calling departed humans. One thing I have found is that in the modern world, most people (at least from my culture) are not dwelling in the traditional gloomy realms of Sheol and Ereshkigal, but brighter abodes with more inspiration and perspective. The “other side” for humans is based on their spiritual growth, and for most of the race lies no longer under the earth, but between it and the Moon (remember that the lunar landing, as Simon said, was a collective initiation). Among the deads, you can work with ancestors, as our author recommends, as well as friendlies and hostiles both from local graveyards and afar. I don’t have a lot of experience in this areas but from what I’ve been told, work with the dead is very much a matter of calling, and people will tend to either be atrracted or repelled from it based on their nature and whether their culture is “dead friendly” or “dead avoiding”.
*Ascended Masters – Christopher Penczak has outlined in his great book on Ascension magic how one can deal with all the channeled masters of the “New Age” through traditional magical paradigms. I have never contacted these beings directly but some people profit greatly from it; it seems to be very useful for those who are seeking teachers or gurus and feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. These beings help restore the balance but oftentimes carry specific agendas and politics which must be noticed.
*Folk Spirits – Under this classification falls races of beings which are not adequately understood with an elemental paradigm but nonetheless have had a strong impact on Earth’s history. This would include fairies, elves, goblins, sasquatch, and many other local spirits tied to particular cultures and places. These spirits are fickle sometimes and are often known to be mischievous and tricky. Whether they take a liking to you or not makes all the difference in working with them.
*Artificial Spirits – These spirits are a unique class in that they are created by human magicians and priests. People like to tell horror stories about egregores and golems gone insane, but I think this class is important in that it gives people a chance to learn the arts of creation and personality that help one to grow closer to the Divine. Oftentimes the process is not so much a creation as a definite role which is assumed by a little known but already existent entity. Donald Tyson’s works are very helpful on this subject. Metafictions such as Promethea and the Pop Culture characters that Taylor Ellwood teaches about are other important members of this group.
*Polytheistic gods – They’re much more approachable than most people give them credit for. Gods define themselves primarily in terms of Mysteres - the way they convey the universe and its lessons through particular themes, archetypes, and stories that are unique to their indiivdual history and experience. For example, Ishtar’s mysteries are taught through sexuality and rebirth because they are elements in her personal history and story within the greater scheme of things. Respect the Mystere (in the voodon sense), and you will learn how to relate to the god.
*Ancients/Abominations/Lloigor - What Warlock has said about the Urilia text is absolutely true – do NOT use it until you are ready for it! These beings are millions of years old and represent the earliest and most ancient biocircuitry in humankind, which is very primal and animalistic. Extremely powerful if you can deal with them properly, but terrifying and dangerous if you aren’t ready to handle it. Take this from a guy who summoned Pazuzu and was going to be issued a premature death sentence were it not for the intervention of the gods and some good friends.
*Compass Spirits – There are a lot of different beings it would seem that dwell just on the outskirts of Earth and are connected to the mysteries of various angles, degrees, influences, and times that distribute power throughout the world. This is a little understood area in modern magick but has a ton of potential goodies for those willing to investigate. Franz Bardon’s elaborate registers for the 360 spirits from Abramelin are included here, as well as the spirits of the four altars (altitudes) found in the Ars Almadel, the hourly and zodiacal spirits of the Pauline Art, and the banner spirits of both the Tetragrammaton and the 72-fold Shem HaMephorash. These are the spirits of “Theurgy” in the classical sense, and their books are found in the “Lesser Key” (Lemegeton) even though they were medieval classed as “good spirits’ (usually). What I have noticed with these spirits thus far is that they can attune you to natural cycles in such a way that what you desire to accomplish, know, or obtain comes about in a very natural, spontaneous, and timely fashion. I believe that these entities are those most commonly called “daemons” in the old Hermetic texts, and that these beings were worked with extensively by the syncretistic magicians of Hellenistic and later Roman Egypt. This would explain their transmission via Abramelin and the Valley of the Kings, which has always been a hotbed for these spirits.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE? Stay tuned for additional posts on summoning!
David S. -Optimystic