Evocation: Summoning Demons, Spirits, and Other Supernatural Entities

Perhaps you have heard of calling, summoning, or conjuring a demon, spiritual entity, or some other supernatural entity from a religious text, heavy metal music, a film, or a video game. These types of acts are known as evocation. This practice of evocation is quite common in many cultures, religions, and magical traditions from all around the world. However, it goes by many names in each of these traditions, and often serves different purposes.

The act of evocation is quite widespread in Western mystery tradition. Usually, under Western mystery tradition, evocation was the summoning or calling forth of city’s god. Usually, this was performed by the military during a siege or after a surrender to cause the god to favor the winning side.

In Western mystery tradition, evoking and summoning spirits was also quite common.  For example, there have been several manuals and books written on the subject from ancient times. these include manuals such as the Greater Key of Solomon the King and the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.

Conjuring, similarly, also refers to evoking spirits. In addition to that, however, is also refers to the using of magical spells, charms, or incantations. In fact, under Western mystery tradition, even exorcism is in the scope of conjuration.

Often, while reciting charms in order to conjure or summon a demon, or other spiritual entity, the person who is performing the conjuration often uses his own native language. In other cases, Latin is also used since many conjuring-related tasks were written in Latin.  The actual text of these charms and incantations did vary greatly in ancient times, from simple phrases packed with magical words to long and complex utterances.

What exactly was the goal of conjuration? This greatly varied among different cultures and conjurers, and I will into more detail on this concept in a later post.

Further reading and bibliography

  1. Greater Key of Solomon the King
  2. Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
  3. Summoning Spirits: The Art of Magical Evocation (Llewellyn’s Practical Magick)
  4. Conjuring Spirits: A manual of Goetic and Enochian Sorcery