Frater Argent belongs to this last category focusing more upon the “traditional” point of view and what follows is actually the fruit of a recent discussion that I exchanged with him over at his excellent blog StreetMagick. My own position has until now been somewhere in between but leaning more towards the modern in this particular case, the psychological approach. This has been due to the fact that I have been trained in Ceremonial Magic by David Griffin, who seemingly represent the psychological school of magic started off by Israel Regardie, and transmitted from the latter to the former through Cris Monnastre. This was carried out through the traditional teacher and student relationship, a form of teaching that by nature has a tendency to attach itself onto the pupil and stick with him or her.
One fruit of this “guru-chela” relationship resulted in the article on the initiatory process of the Golden Dawn entitled Israel Regardie, Initiaton, and Psychotherapy, which has excerted a huge influence on me. When I wrote my own BA thesis it revolved around transpersonal psychology and in it I quoted pertinent parts from Israel Regardie’s My Rosicrucian Adventure, in which he proposes that the Qlippoth represents archetypal powers assaulting the initiate through the process of initiation. Another monumental work for me, in shaping this subjective world view, was David Griffin’s magnificent tome, The Ritual Magic Manual, which presents an entirely psychological perspective on magical evocation.
Quite recently I completed my training as a psychotherapist in a field that belongs to the psychoanalytic school, which of course has had a somewhat nostalgic effect, as it were, on my original belief system. But I have always, since I started with my occult studies, believed in a objective magical or spiritual reality as well. Thus I have never really believed in Carl Gustav Jung’s theory that our spiritual self is only part of our neurological brain structure. And I do not today, nor have I ever in the past, adhered to Lon Milo DuQuette’s really amusing and equally misleading axiom “It’s All in Your Head … You Just Have No Idea How Big Your Head Is”.
That said, I have always placed my focus on the internal workings of the Magician, of the Operator, of the Alchemist, etc., in the Great Work. Thus even if I in fact have believed, and still do believe, in real demons or Qlippoth, I have preferred to focus upon finding and rooting out my own equivalent personal demons in my unconscious or subconscious mind. In a likewise manner I have regarded Magic to be primarily a species of occult or esoteric psychology, quite prompted by the works of that great occult teacher Paul Foster Case, or rather how I have interpreted him in the past. I referred to and quoted from Case a lot in my BA thesis as well, more than I did Regardie as a matter of fact, or any one else for that matter (with one exception).
This, I believe, constitutes a natural phase in the life of an initiate, to investigate onself. Both Freud and the Hierophants of ancient Greek mysteries followed the adage of Gnothi Seauton or “Man, know thyself”. But over time, as the process proceeds the initiate slowly starts to reflect upon and observe nature outside of himself; “Man, knowing nature you will know yourself”. This has also happened to me, especially in the last years of my training, again prompted by my teacher David Griffin. Today I know for a fact that magic is definitely not only reduced to a species of psychology of an esoteric kind; it is also and more so a science of energetics and evolution of the physical self as well. When we become really conscious of our body and the energetic currents that flow through it, we also naturally become conscious or observant of their correspondences in the outer world as well.
Thus today I no longer lay any emphasis on the intrapersonal and subjective self, as it may have seemed that I did in my previously mentioned review of Mr. Shadrach’s book. Today I acknowledge the importance of the objective forces on an equal status with the subjective ones. Thus I very much agree that spirits and demons have a real and objective existence outside of us. But contrary to the purely traditionalist view I don’t regard the subjective and the objective perspective on this as necessarily mutually exclusive.
I don’t even agree that what is normally viewed as “traditional” in this respect is actually traditional in the truest sense, at least not according to the Hermetic tradition. In my humble opinion, to be truly traditionally Hermetic we must employ its original perspective of the relation between the macrocosm and the microcosm. Thus, while I agree with the normally perceived “traditional” view, on the existence of real and outside demons and spirits, we must on the other hand not forget that whatever is in the macrocosm also is reflected in the microcosm.
Thus we host a legion of demons (in) ourselves that constitutes part of ourselves. In a psychological perspective these demons feed (on) our complexes (aggregations of though-emotions), or constitutes parts or the whole of any of them, but they also constitute unbalanced energetic aggregations of the Sphere of Sensation itself. So I am myself still convinced that traditional evocation methods works fine in also projecting these repressed complexes and unbalanced energies of the Sphere of Sensation out into the Triangle of Art.
That being said, what should optimally occur in evocation is also the summoning of the macrocosmic equivalent. There is a perfectly good reason why people in the middle ages believed (and still in some catholic countries believes) that real and external demons instigated or tempted them to commit sin. Real and objective demons are attracted to and feed on the unbalanced emotions and behaviour of humans as they love these energies being radiated from our Sphere (it’s like they spot our heat signature with thermal sights); there is a rapport between the corresponding macrocosmic and microcosmic Qlippoth.
One could argue that natural man stands in greater union with the “devil” (meaning the realm of the Qlippoth), or with nature’s baseness, than he does with God (the realm of the divine) or nature’s finer forces. The most efficient magical technique to detach ourselves from these Qlippothic powers in ourselves and in nature is to evoke them. Thus both our own subjective demon as well as the objective demon should optimally merge in the Triangle. In this way we both gain consciousness of and integrate the demon of our own personality, placing it under the Will of our Genius, and at the same time raise the spark of that macrocosmic Qlippah back to its divine origin.
In my opinion, this also occurs in ordinary invocations as well. When we invoke a Force, say an Element or Planet, we both activate that archetypal part of ourselves internally in(to) our Sphere of Sensation, and at the same time invoke the macrocosmic equivalent externally into our Sphere as well; the circumference of our Sphere forms the point of interconnection between the “cosms” through symbol. In this way we in stages merge our own microcosmic Sphere with the macrocosmic Sphere. Theurgy is about union, not only between the “spiritual” side of ourself with our “material”, or mind and body, but also between the microcosm (inner) and the macrocosm (outer).
That’s why we shouldn’t loose sight of the fact that there also exists microcosmic equivalents of these objective forces, angelic as well as demonic. This is especially the case when working with the archetypal forces of the Elements, Planets, Zodiac (the 72 Quinants) and Sephiroth; there are both angelic and qlippotic (demonic) entities attached to these.
I have the same view on evocation as I have with invocation, the theurgic perspective. If we are to unite ourselves with the macrocosm we also must prepare ourselves to merge with the ugly aspects as well; in this last respect may I refer the reader to my recent essay on the subject of the Divine Evil. Through evocation we place these unbalanced forces under divine dominion, being part of the Tikkun ha-Olam (the restoration of the world). Restoring the world we also restore ourselves, and vice versa.
Now, “traditionalist” grimoire magicians argue against the relative recency of the psychological perspective on magic, that it doesn’t reflect the living traditions. I cannot argue with that; yes, sure, the psychological perspective is very recent. But this doesn’t disqualify it. Being trained in the psychodynamic / psychoanalytic school myself, I of course find it particularly interesting and through my own research I have found Sigmund Freud’s theories to be quite Lurianic as to their nature. While Jung’s Analytical Psychology more reflects the Christian Gnostic and Hermetic worldview, as seen through the lens of the modern academic psychiatrist or psychologist, Freud’s Psychoanalysis on the other hand more expresses that of the Jewish Qabalah.
But if someone would dare to state that this is all that there is to evocation or the nature of the Qlippoth, I would say that this surely is a sign of ignorance and lack of real experience, in the same way that C.G. Jung interpreted Alchemical symbolism as the projections of the archetypes, which is extremely reductionary at the same time as it is interesting.
So, my own position in all of this is somewhere in the middle between traditionalist grimoire magic and the school as represented by Mr. Griffin’s book The Ritual Magic Manual; I’m sitting on the fence and saying that both are correct. If one believes in only one of these perspectives, I would dare to say that it represents a half truth, although I would also say that the subjective position is the most delusional of them. I know however that Mr. Griffin believes in the objective existence of the demons as well.
In our discussion Frater Argent emphasised the importance of evoking the macrocosm as much as possible and projecting as little of oneself as one can into the Triangle of Art, meaning that one should let the macrocosmic entity taking precedence. In fact I agree with him, if it actually means that in this way one’s subjective (microcosmic) self aligns more to the objective (macrocosmic), resulting in a greater rapport or connection to the whole.
In the final analysis however, if one wants to merge one’s microcosm with the macrocosm one have to open up oneself to it. In invocation this is easily done as one simply opens up one’s Sphere of Sensation and let these forces in. But in evocation, binding the demon to the Triangle of Art (which is outside of one’s Sphere by the very definition) one have to meet the objective force half way, as it were, sending one’s own demon into the triangle as well.