Chaos magic Invocation. One of the scariest things to do. We worry about possession — “… and when I woke up I was bollock naked in the brambles with a rabbit in my mouth. And apparently there was something about a passing dog-walker and I’ll never be able to show my face at Pagan Ramblers again.”
There’s that “there IS something out there and it’s in here!” moment when somebody you know well, invoking, starts speaking and acting entirely out of character for themselves but totally in character for whatever it was they were invoking. This is a gold standard of chaos magic Invocation. And it gives us the creeps.
It feels riskier still when we reflect that we tend to Invoke gods, which by definition have greater scope than ourselves. That is, they have powers or resources far beyond our own and they have their own agenda and it’s not remotely about you. We work around them, they don’t work around us. We cannot control them. Anything could happen.
As for deities, so also for, say, beast-forms. The beasts we tend to Invoke are wild, untamed, unpredictable. They’re not domesticated, much less house-trained. Don’t ask. Let’s just thank those Invocants who can hang on to enough of themselves to avoid marking their territory or ending up naked in the brambles with a rabbit in their mouths.
Invocation is a bit like letting a gorilla wear you as a tee-shirt — you’ll never fit quite the same afterwards. Invoke a deity and something of that deity will remain with you. Even after washing, you’ll still be a bit deity-shaped forever.
And yet for that reason alone Invocation is one of our most powerful tools and we shouldn’t shy away from it. We’re magicians, right? From the Old Testament prophets bargaining God down to the magi of the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri threatening the gods with penalties for non-compliance, we magicians have been facing down The Big Others for thousands of years. So let’s strap on some hubris and Invoke.
Having said all this, let’s remind ourselves that not all Invocation is possession-grade and that behaviour, not depth of Invocation, provides gold standard feedback. There’s a spectrum of Invocation going from possession to being the witness while someone else is working the levers, to light overshadowing, to ‘being inspired,’ even — bless — down to the lame-ass self-initiated new-ager spouting platitudes while ’embodying Goddess’ or whatever. There’s increasing control over the experience, leading eventually to dissociation: having the other Presence ‘over there’ and increasingly manipulable. From there the spectrum turns to Evocation but that’s another story.
Pete Carroll used to describe as the ultimate Invocation that of the Holy Guardian Angel. My colleague Alan Chapman considered his future magical self as his Holy Guardian Angel, someone way advanced yet intimately connected to him. Now before I ever heard of Alan I’d done invocations of my future magical self and found them erm … illuminating. So let’s do an Invocation of this sort of Presence.
In deference to those of us who lack experience in Invocation, let’s keep the intensity down to a fairly light overshadowing (although if you’re feeling confident and have a handler and/or someone to record what occurs …)
On this occasion, we shall invoke our Magnificent Future Magical Self. It fits our practical description of a god, yet we can expect it to sympathise with our aims and give assistance. Who’s gonna have your back like yourself? Moreover, by invoking it we have a foretaste of our possible Magnificent Magical Future.
- First, generate some sort of idea of your Magnificent Future Magical Self. Don’t make it too detailed, but at least have a picture in your mind, some core attributes, and of course the expectation that your Magnificent Future Magical Self will indeed seem Magnificently Magical. Leave plenty of room for your Magnificent Future Magical Self to confound and exceed your wildest dreams. Take time, research this phase, preferably before coming to the ritual.
- Announce your intention: “I now invoke my Magnificent Future Magical Self (for whatever purpose).”
- Begin by evoking your Magnificent Future Magical Self, by which we mean visualising its presence in front of you (unless you have a binding reason to proceed differently). Address it as you would any other person: ‘you from the future’ has come to visit, yeah? Give your Magnificent Future Magical Self opportunity to reply. Explain the plan, which will involve the following, provided your Magnificent Future Magical Self agrees:
- Come together so that you both share the same space. Either it enters you or you step into it. Gently, allowing the two to assimilate and surrendering to the change of consciousness that usually follows. Let your Magnificent Future Magical Self do its thing. Forget about ‘getting the invocation right’ or ‘being in the right state.’ Relax and go with whatever actually happens and whatever the visiting presence suggests to do, allowing the state to deepen. Typically, initiatory allies have stuff to teach you, but remember your intention.
- Before long your Magnificent Future Magical Self may spontaneously disappear or disengage from your body space. If it doesn’t and you feel that you’ve finished whatever you had to do, finish with it as naturally as you might finish a conversation with a friend. “Time to go now, thanks for coming, see you soon,” sort of thing. Polite, friendly, but increasingly firm. Your Magnificent Future Magical Self hopefully manifests as such also. Then disengage either by stepping away and leaving it aside or by allowing it to leave you.
- Now say your goodbyes and let the visualisation dissolve.
- Banish, preferably with laughter.
Some notes. Firstly, you may find that your initial idea of your Magnificent Future Magical Self is a bit vague. Of course it is. From where you are now you have absolutely no idea of what you will become. That’s the point.
Secondly, the knack to the Evocation phase is Intention. Your goal is to Evoke your Magnificent Future Magical Self, not merely to visualise it. Visualisation is merely the means whereby. Gold standard for Evocation is when the presence in front of you does or says something that you didn’t.
Thirdly, although the visual aspect of this working may a bit fuzzy, the kinaesthetic moment of fusion of your two selves may feel quite trippy and giddying. That’s fine: think of it as two virtual nervous systems intertwining and getting used to each other.
Fourthly, if you’re newish to Invocation, the experience may be a short one. Visiting presences lose interest quickly: it is as though they get bored with just being there and want to work the levers but can’t. Experience, especially with the same presence, will fix this. So if your Magnificent Future Magical Self is a bit curt with you first time out, don’t worry. Next time will be easier.
May your Magnificent Future Magical Self be with you always.