Today, I would like to discuss invocation as a mood altering substance.
Now, if you have done much with the Western Mystery Tradition, you will note that people call lots of powers. Elements. Planets. Angels (and beings not deserving to be called angels, after what they did to Dee and Kelly). Gods. All kinds of good stuff like that.
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, when I was a baby-magus, I read about gods. I became curious. My friends had tried them, and had all kinds of visions, dreams, and omens. That sounded right awesome to me, so I decided to look one up.
I examined myself, and realized that I sucked at keeping secrets, keeping track of objects, earning money, driving cars, riding bikes, getting away with my numerous errors committed daily, communicating basic information without confusing people and seducing dudes. Consulting the oracle of the inter-webs for "god of not sucking at life" I simply got a lot of links about Jesus.
When I searched the individual symptoms, the most likely bet seemed to be Mercury or Hermes.
I set up an altar, and made offerings. More importantly, or perhaps more significantly I began to ascribe the same events that had always been happening to his involvement.
To make a long story short, really incredible things began to happen. The most impressive and difficult to explain of these things was an incident involving some fuzzy orange flip-flops.
Now first let me tell you about these flip flops.
Firstly, they were far less attractive than those pictured above. They were god-forsaken, clementine orange. They were fuzzy everywhere. My mother got them on clearance for less than a dollar because no one in their right mind would wear such a thing.
I assure you, therefore, that I owned only one pair, and to this day, I have never seen their like. I did not, of course, wear them. I kept them stored in a huge, clear plastic bag in the closet.
One day, I was rummaging through that plastic bag to find something unrelated. I pulled out the horrid orange sandals of ugliness (+5 to deflection). I put them right back in, wondering what had possessed my mother ever to buy them.
I went to a closet on the other side of the house to continue looking for whatever it was (I think pot-holders, actually), and saw the hideous orange sandals sitting there on a shelf, as nice as you please! Bewildered, I picked them up, and carried them to the first closet, set them down, and began looking through the other bag. I tore it apart, looking for the first set of sandals.
No. There was only one set.
Moral of the Story: LBRP protects you from monsters that don't exist. Imagining that deities are responsible for events in your life makes shoes teleport.
Now, lest you think I'm trying to prove specifically the validity of Greek Deities, let me tell you another story.
This one is about a L.A.R.P.
Clearly, there is a difference between real magick and role-playing....?
Hang on, wait 'till I finish.
We were playing a game where the Monarchs of the four seasons were doing battle. We had been playing for about six months, and had done several coronations in high ritual style, since a few of us involved happened to also be occult geeks.
It was October. It was snowing. The snow began to whip up into a blizzard. I pulled aside the person whose character was the Winter King. I told him that he had to make it stop, or he was risking all-out war with the Autumn Court. We role-played a scene where he conceded that it was his fault, that he was in the wrong, and that he would attempt to recall his minions.
Within minutes. Within MINUTES, and completely contrary to the weather forecast, it stopped snowing. Props, Toothaker, props. You would make a fine wizard.
Suspension of disbelief + archetypal characters that represent forces of nature + imagination = weather control.
So, what does this all have to do with invocation?
Glad you asked. You see, both of these incidents illustrate invocation. True, there was not a standard poem or "Hail to Thee O Such and Such" in either story. But that's my point: there doesn't need to be.
I know this is going to surprise you, but I am no more going to posit that my experiences mean that Hermes is real any more than I'm going to posit that they mean that Toothaker's Winter King character is real. Either could be. How the hell would I know? But given the fact that effective magic is practiced with invented deities all the time, and by people that I'm sure no actual deity would interact with (self included) I am going to say that I don't *need* to posit that either Winter Himself or Hermes was actually an actor in these events which are mostly inexplicable by mundane means (my personal beliefs aside).
Rather, when we engage our imaginations with a character that is a sort of pure archetype, such as a deity, or the personification of some aspect of nature, we are filling our imaginations, filling our magickal selves with it. We are changing our interior so that a little piece of ourselves becomes the same flavor as that archetype, power, or entity.
Certainly, the element of Earth, or Air, is not a being (though nothing is stopping you from treating them that way, I suppose) and yet these, like deities, are invoked for magickal effect, with staggering success.
When you use a pentagram as a portal to a force, you do not simply inscribe the sigil and vibrate the name. This is insufficient. You prick it, and imagine the FEELING of that element (or planet) pouring forth from the pentagram, in as many senses as you can muster. You fully engage your imagination with the force.
Or, to put it in a slightly less romantic way: you get in the mood of that force. Nothing external at all has to happen. Nothing enters you. Nothing leaves. Or at least nothing has to. You simply change your present state from "Mixed" to "Mostly Earth" or "Mostly Winter" or "Mostly Hermes," or "Mostly Freya." In fact, this is a fairly good metric for how successful you have been. How in the mood are you? How vividly can you imagine that force?
Thus changed, exchanges begin. You form expectations, disbelief is suspended, intentions are stated, and your unconscious mind takes care of the rest. But the first step, the very first step, is doing whatever it takes to alter your mood, so that it aligns with the force in question.
And there we have it: invocation as a mood altering substance.