In my last blog I re-examined my old writings on the subject of sigils. This time I will be re-examining my old writings on the subject of servitors. This writing wasn’t bad, but my thinking shows traces of rigidity of thought. It looks like I was struggling with the fluidity of ‘what servitors are’ and what ‘types’ of servitors there ‘were’, rather than examining the different lenses through which we might understand them.
“In the wind of the mind arises the turbulence called ‘I'” ~ Aleister Crowley
A year or so after writing that introduction I arrived at the idea of fractal consciousness. This helped me in my understanding of servitors considerably. The following is my attempt to explain the concept, starting with the consciousness of a monotheistic society. The story actually goes further back than that, but I’ve decided to start from the middle to keep it short. I’ve also simplified it a lot for the point of creating narrative, so bare with me if you know a lot about theology, and don’t take this as an accurate historical account if not.
In the creation stories of the Abrahamic religions, a single creator God made humanity in its image. Where and when this view held sway as the dominant view of consciousness, our true self was considered an immortal soul, like the monotheistic God. A microcosm to the one true God’s macrocosm. Therefore we had a single consciousness, given free will by God to choose good or evil, but essentially good in its nature. All impulses, desires and voices in our heads telling us to do otherwise, were then by necessity seen as external. Demons tempting us towards evil. But not all voices were bad, some would advise us to stay on the path of God, and these were seen as angels, saints and in rare cases the voice of God himself.
Psychology broke this view of consciousness. Freud began by dividing our consciousness into distinct working parts like an ego, an id and an unconscious. Jung took it further, adding in a large collection of archetypes, a shadow, an anima/animus. It comes as little surprise that Jung turned to survivals of pre-monotheist mysticism, such as Greek mythology, alchemy and Gnosticism for inspiration.
This non-monolithic model of the mind found resonance in the revival of polytheistic beliefs such as neo-paganism and Wicca which often embraced Jung’s ideas, but also found its way into Chaos Magic, with the idea of multiple selves, interested in different areas of our lives, such love, career, charisma, self-assertion. I found the simplicity of the chaos magic explanation, and its acceptance of the arbitrary nature of the divisions appealing.
At the same time, being able to look at arbitrary sections of consciousness as having their own consciousness that we can talk to, opens up interesting implications. It implies that all the multiple personalities connect and entwine, and that they too contain yet more mini-consciousnesses on a smaller scale. Crowley couldn’t have known when he used the word, but turbulence would eventually be modelled as fractals. So if the ‘I’ manifests from turbulence has he suggested, then it would imply that it also contained mini-versions of itself that contained mini versions of themselves.
But the fractal also extends upwards. Ideas such as group minds, egregores, emergent consciousness, and modelling institutions such as nations and corporations as entities; all rely on the idea of a kind of consciousness, no matter how primitive, being transmitted through the transfer of information between many individuals, whether by conventional or occult means. The idea of angels becomes replaced by the idea of egregore entities on a larger scale of consciousness, whilst demons become the smaller scale parts of ourselves that we find within. The former want from us obedience to the needs of the group, the latter just want their desires satisfied. Neither is entirely good nor bad. We must choose which needs to manifest at any one time.
Types of servitor
Given this model, we might choose to view the ‘statement of desire’ Spare used to construct a sigil as the simplest and lowest scale of consciousness. A single desire with a wish only to manifest and fulfil itself. Of course, sigils can represent more permanent intents and even come to represent godforms, so in reality they span the entire scale of what we might consider a servitor to be. At other times the type is determined by how we choose to relate to it, and with which techniques.
If a magician finds they keep needing the same spell over and over, they might create a simple, but reusable form of servitor. In the fractal consciousness model, this means allocating and training a part of the mind to do this task well, and learning to activate it through the use of some technique, such as a gesture, saying a name, visualising a sigil or image. The longevity of the servitor will in some way affect its nature. The longer it persists, the more likely it will evolve and grow. This should be expected. Mostly this evolution will increase the efficiency and success rate of the task performed. If it isn’t, then it’s continued use must be providing the magician with fulfilment of some other desire, and they had best discover what.
Of course, a magician may deliberately create a fairly complex egregore from the start, but this will usually be when they expect the entity to have a longer lifespan.
A demon may communicate to us via a physical object, either one we constructed for the purpose, such as a sigil or poppet, one we purchased, such as a doll or figurine, or some naturally occurring form that enables us to make the sleight of mind necessary to believe we can communicate with the entity. Some magicians need more anthropomorphic or at least animal-like forms, whilst others can communicate directly to a plant, a stone or a car. I find it helps if I can see a face, even if I know its a pareidolia. But they may also communicate with us directly in our minds, sometimes with a vision, sometimes just a voice. Sometimes the entities communicate only feelings and emotions. Some have reported information being ‘downloaded’ into their minds.
A magician may choose in advance to create or use a physical form, they may just ‘happen’, and often do in the case of pareidolia, or the magician may contact the entity and ask them if they want a form. Some don’t seem to like them as much as others.
A magician may choose to relate to their magical tools as servitors. Last year I performed an eleven day evocation sequence, talking to two spirits a day for the period, starting and ending with talking to the pentacle itself as a spirit, in a magical operation I called a Summoning Storm. You can relate to other magical tools the same way, if you desire.
Divination systems, such as runes or tarot decks, may also be seen as having fractal consciousness. On the highest level you have the system in abstract, such as all tarot decks. Then a level down, the family of decks, such as the Thoth deck and its derivatives having a different spirit than ones based on the Smith-Waite deck. Then all decks with that particular art, and finally the magicians specific deck. The same can apply to specific cards, such as all Tower cards verses how the card manifests in particular deck, or in its relationship with a particular magician.
One area often neglected in magical texts concerns contact not initiated by the magician. Even when the subject is treated, an assumption of hostility is usually assumed, when this need not be the case. In our experience entities that made first contact can prove amongst the most rewarding, and most weird to build a magical relationship with.
Techniques and relationships
The simplest technique is the single purpose servitor that simply does its thing when activated through its sigil, as mentioned above. A slightly more complex technique involves telling the servitor the desire to manifest. Suppose you often feel awkward in various social settings, you could use the former to simply give you confidence when activated. But if your awkwardness comes from over-confidence at certain times, too relaxed when you need to be alert, too alert when its safe to relax, then a more general servitor might be used to help you adjust. You could activate the servitor and instruct it to help you calm down or increase your alertness, focus or whatever you feel you need.
One way to view these types of relationships involves command and control. But the fractal consciousness model allows a more healthy way of viewing them. Instead of commanding the servitors to do things, you give that part of you permission to manifest, or behave the way you need. The spirit already wants to do the task, it just needs the rest of you to get out of the way.
However the next level of complexity up involves two way communication with the entity. No longer do we see the servitor as a passive entity awaiting your instructions, but an individual that may offer valuable feedback and advice. We may trade with it. It will do something for us if we do something for it. Trade might be a metaphor. Giving it the thing it asks for may actually be not so much a price as a useful symbolic act that allows the desire to manifest more easily.
Once the magician accepts this metaphor, trade can give way to friendship. The magician treats the spirit well, giving it space (such as a dedicated altar), time (regular friendly contact without asking for anything) and gifts (votive candles, decorations that give the altar a certain style). In such a relationship the servitors will reward the magician in many unexpected and interesting ways. Of course, the term ‘servitor’ becomes less descriptive of the entities in such a relationship. The trade relationship was already stretching the term servitor in terms of an accurate label. In a friendship relationship the magician and entity serve each other.
The balance of apparent service can swing the other way. The magician may start to form a relationship that takes on the outward appearance of service to entity. At this point it starts to become more appropriate to refer to the entity with terms more like idol, godform or even a god or goddess. These might still be specially created by a magician or group of magicians, or chosen from one of the worlds many pantheons of deities, angels, saints, lwa, grimoiric demon princes, fictional characters or telepathic aliens and star beings.
The distinguishing factor between a magician serving a deity and religious worship, is that the magician engages in the relationship for the purpose of generating results, whilst the religious worshipper sees service to a deity as an end in and of itself. In practise the distinction may not prove obvious, for the sought after results may be a very slow and long term goal of transformation.
Evocation and Invocation
Two broad categories of spirit contact can be used in working with servitors and godforms. Evocation treats the entity as external, enabling the magician to talk to it as an ‘other’. You can practise this by imagining the conversation in your head. Don’t worry about whether the conversation is ‘real’, just record what comes, censoring as little as possible. You can evaluate it later. Don’t be concerned if it appears as non-sense, the more you practise the better the results.
Invocation differs in that you behave as the entity. Again, don’t worry if at first you feel clumsy with this. The more you practise the easier it becomes. Obviously invocation works better with more complex servitors that have developed a personality. I don’t know of many magicians that would bother to invoke a single use sigil, although maybe it has been tried by someone somewhere, maybe even with interesting results. In its more extreme forms invocation becomes possession, and may forget who they are for a time, or even have no accurate recollection of what they were doing. It can also resemble the kind of trances used by various mediums, and entities may wish to write down a lot of material through automatic writing, automatic speaking into a tape recorder, or various other methods. Invocations can also be long term, with the aim of permanent transformation of personality.
When your ritual is over, you may find that you ‘encounter’ the spirit in various ways over the subsequent days and weeks or even longer. This might be in dreams, pareidolia, people that remind you of the entity, the same or similar godforms appearing in films or books, or in advert posters in the street or on your most frequented websites. This is good. If you can treat all such additional contact experiences as a bonus, an extra chance to communicate with the entity, and record all such events in you diary, so much the better.
- Aleister Crowley The Book of Lies
- Anton Channing Summoning Storm
- Phil Hine Evocation without tears
- Ramsey Dukes The Little Book of Demons
- L. W. De Laurence The Lesser Key of Solomon: Goetia
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