Greetings to all who regularly follow my blog. It’s been some time since I’ve posted here, mostly because my Enochian scrying project has taken up nearly all of my time allotted for magical work. Still, I know I need to get back to my magical writing here. So I thought I’d return by briefly mentioning a Goetic transvocation I performed about eight days ago.
My purpose was to find an exceptionally good condo for an exceptionally low price. Since I was looking for this in a country that really doesn’t speak much English (or German, French, or Spanish—meaning I am mostly out of luck in the communication department); dealing with real estate hustlers and sharp customers who might be looking to part a naive foreigner from a large chunk of change; and operating under a serious time constraint (already employed here and needing a place to live ASAP), I felt some magical work was appropriate.
So I did a divination to make myself aware of whether magic could be of assistance in this and which forms might be the most effective. My long tarot reading indicated that magic would be a good thing, that I should engage in some spirit work, and that Malpahs, a Goetic President in the Lesser Key, would be the most appropriate.
Frater Rufus “His Nibs” Opus, in A Modern Goetic Grimoire, notes that “Presidents are the active, most mobile spirits of the Goetia. They are quick, with the speed of Mercury, and they are very intelligent and analytical. These spirits are good at providing speedy solutions to problems, usually in the way of serendipitous information or opportunity” (42), and I have also found this to be true. While I don’t scrupulously use the courtly ranks (and never consider the Zodiac correspondences or “thwarting angels”) for the demons, I do sometimes take into account how I will address them in terms of their relative status in the (incomplete) Lesser Key hierarchy.
I started to do this after reading Jake Stratton-Kent’s discussion of the same in The True Grimoire. But as much as I admire Jake’s scholarship and insights, in the end, like a stubborn magician, I must always do things my way. So I did approach Malphas with the respect befitting a noble when I transvoked him (or, I should say, transvoked with him—which I will explain shortly), but since I was staying with friends at the time and did not have a formal magical chamber set up, I had to use an unconventional method.
Mathers, in The Lesser Key of Solomon: Goetia, gives a telling description of Malphas: “He appeareth at first like a Crow, but after he will put on Human Shape at the request of the Exorcist, and speak with a hoarse Voice. He is a Mighty President and Powerful. He can build Houses and High Towers, and can bring to thy Knowledge Enemies’ Desires and Thoughts, and that which they have done. He giveth Good Familiars.” We know the descriptions in the Mathers-Crowley edition are mostly cribbed from Weyer’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum. And yet I would much rather rely on the former relatively modern (Victorian) language than on the latter, which in most translations can be tiresome.
So I read Mathers’ description closely and saw that Malphas could find me a good place to live. If you take nothing else away from this post but the following three points, you will not have wasted your time: first, every ability listed for a spirit is just a starting point—you need to work with them in order to discover the scope of what they can do; second, if a spirit can do a thing, he can usually do the opposite just as well; and three, the abilities of a spirit function poetically, not just in a superficial materialistic way.
In other words, if a spirit “builds houses and high towers,” his act of “building” might cause a physical place to be constructed or it might bring you to a pre-existing structure or a “high tower of thought” or insinuate you into a royal “house.” Learning to interpret the spirit descriptions in the grimoires is more like literary analysis than reading an operating manual, even if a “grimoire” is in many (often deceptive ways) a “grammar.” If you can read them broadly and impressionistically, you will begin to see some of the hidden implications. Who knew English class would be so useful for summoning demons?
Having decided on Malphas, I faced the problem of space. There were not going to be any nine-foot circles, censers, cubic altars, and Triangles of Art being laid down. And yet, I don’t believe in the efficacy of wholly “astral” evocation work. In my UPG, there has to be a channel to bring heaven (or hell) to earth. If it takes place completely in the imagination, it could work, certainly, but at least for me, the magic risks staying in the astral. And I want to minimize the chance of failure as much as I can.
With this in mind, I chose transvocation instead of traditional evocation. Transvocation is a hybrid method of communing with spirits with origins in the ATRs, the Latin American Cyprianic tradition(s), and the post-masonic lodge magic of groups like the Golden Dawn. Simply put, instead of calling a spirit to visible appearance in a magical chamber, the practitioner astrally projects into the spirit’s presence where it happens to be.
Obviously, this is not without difficulty or danger. If you believe (as I do) that physical, objective, measurable results can come from spirit work, that it’s not all masturbatory self-delusion, then you believe entering the presence of a spirit on its own plane means approaching it in its place of power. It’s a hybrid technique because you have to take precautions in the physical before you make the attempt.
I banished my space, used an amulet I have that anchors my soul, burned a stick of inexpensive frankincense, and began the Hu chant, a mantra I learned in Eckankar that enormously raises the “vibration” (for lack of a better term) inside the individual and in his immediate location. If you think “Om” works, try Hu and you will never go back. After everything was resonating intensely with magical energy, I began to focus on his seal (which I’d drawn out longhand on a piece of paper in black ink) and chant the spirit’s name. I only had to do it for a few minutes before I found myself in his presence.
I was (indescribably) in my physical body and elsewhere at the same time, a potent kind of bilocation—my astral form in a featureless dark space, just me and the demon. Malphas was unmistakable. He appeared as a man in a white linen robe with the head of a bird, both crow-like and also hawk-like. The feathers went from black to vivid dark blue, sometimes transitioning to white at their tips. His eyes were featureless black, unblinking. A sense of unnatural stillness surrounded him and he did not move at all, as if he were some kind of mirage or projected image (which, in a sense, he was). He just looked at me and waited for me to speak.
Wordlessly, I knew he knew what I was going to said before I said it. An emotional sense of dourness emanated from him, but there was no visual representation of this. I asked him to help with finding me a place to live quickly and at a very good price. After a short exchange, in which we determined certain specifics and details, he agreed. Malphas departed suddenly, flying upwards into nothingness in the form of a great purple-blue bird. As he departed, I did too, the binding of the transvocation having ended. As if a giant rubber band were attached to my spirit, I snapped right back into my body.
On the sixth day after this working, I found exactly what I’d asked to find. Coincidence? I’ve learned otherwise. The moral of the story is simple: not all spirit work must be done one way. And the demons of the Goetia, at least, enjoy the work. Even though I have been dealing with spirits for decades, I always feel a sense of wonder when the magic works.