Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Good, The Bad and the Novel: Some Thoughts On Magical Innovation

Whether or not you have evoked a demon listed in one of the many grimoires, chances are that you have at some point become cursorily familiar with one or more them. They are the “bad boys” of the Western Magical Tradition and as such have ignited the imaginations of magicians and muggels alike for hundreds of years. If nothing else, you have probably encountered a fictionalized analogue of one or more of them in a movie.
 Working with one of these demons using the traditional methods set down in the grimoires can be a real challenge. The acquisition and preparation of the necessary tools to accomplish the evocations is in itself a daunting task, not to mention the mental preparation and purification of the mage him/herself. Not only is working with these grimoire demons difficult, it can be dangerous as well. There are abundant warnings to the would-be-conjurer that precautions must be taken to avoid getting their ass kicked by one of these malevolent entities.
Despite the warnings about deviating from the traditional methods of dealing with these entities set down in the grimoires, I have begun to witness a growing tendency among magical practitioners to attempt interacting with these beings in non-traditional ways.  Even though I am a non-traditional eclectic magician, the idea of working with these malevolent beings in innovative ways causes me some concern. I mean, after all, the texts that deal with them and the traditions that work with them both warn of the capricious and malicious nature of many of these so-called “demons.”  Is it really wise to call upon Bune for financial success, for example, without a traditional protective circle? (Please do not assume I am suggesting that you will be entirely safe even if you use a traditional circle … after all, Bune can be rather nasty. If you don’t believe me, just ask Rufus Opus, author of Head for the Red blog. According to RO, Bune graciously burnt done his house! You can read about RO's tragic encounter with Bune by searching with the key words "burned house" here.)
So, what is a magician to do when he or she cannot, for whatever reason, work with a grimoire demon in a traditional manner? My answer … don’t work with them! There are many benign entities in other traditions that can be incorporated into ones practices that do not require a preoccupation with ones safety. Instead of seeking riches through Bune, one might try working with the Buddhist deity Vasudhara (or Vasundhara), for example, who according to tradition is a Bodhisattva that specifically offers financial assistance to lay practitioners. While there are specific rites and meditations (sadhanas) to work with Vasudhara (primarily performed by Buddhist monks for the benefit of the laity), it is highly unlikely that she will burn your ass if you approach her in a non-traditional manner. I do not mean to suggest that working with Vasudhara will be all peaches and cream. In addition to providing sentient beings with material wealth she is a bodhisattva, and as such she is concerned with their highest good. Thus, she may present the mage with situations that might not be experienced as pleasing if they are directed to further the mage along the path of the Great Work. Unlike a grimoire demon, however, she does not act out of animosity.
If you want to work with Vasudhara, there is a great deal of information to be found about her on the Internet. Just remember, if you work with Vasudhara she will expect you to pay forward to your fellow human beings some of the “wealth” that she bequeaths upon you.
*For those interested in working with Buddhist deities, I highly recommend reading Aghor Pir’s recent blog post on Kurukulla, a tantric deity whose specialty is enchantment and subjugation.

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Rufus Opus said...

Please note, my statement of intent was "Get me the [dollar amount] by any means necessary as long as no one gets hurt, asap." Basically.

Don't say "Any means necessary" if you don't mean "any means necessary."

I could have gotten the same result from an "angelic" spirit with shit statements like that.

Jason Miller, said...

You know. I completely disagree with you here. There are basic assumptions that are, from my experience, all wrong.

1. The Grimoires do not really represent one single way to do anything. They are all different yet most advertise that you can evoke ANY beings using those methods. They are correct.

2. The Grimoires are not exactly "traditional". They are just old. They are not traditional or orthodox within the tradition that they arise within, mostly Catholicism, and are not representative of some ediface that must not be changed, since all the Grimoires have different methods.

3. People sometimes refer to these as the "tried and true" methods, but again, lets not confuse old with tried and true. For a long period of time most grimoires were only known by very few people. History is not exactly filled with stories of Grimoire magicians getting rich, making developments in science, and flying through the air despite this being exactly the kind of thing that the Grimoires claim.

4. The grimoires are not safe. I would argue in fact that in an age where people are not likely to spend hours and hours in devotional prayer and purification, newer methods with modern safeties are actually SAFER in many cases.

Note that it is not the mode of contact that RO used which caused the problem, but what he was asking for and how he asked for it.

It is also safer to approach some demons in terms of simple friendship or with an offering than it is to start off jacking them up against a wall and threatening harm if they do not obey - which is excactly what some Grimoires do.

Anyway, juist some thoughts on the subject.

Also, if you get a chance, please put a link to Strategic Sorcery's current location on your blog roll. The blogspot blog has been dead for year. New URL is

Karmaghna said...

Jason wrote:

"1. The Grimoires do not really represent one single way to do anything...."

It is true that the grimoires AS A WHOLE do not represent one single way of doing magic. However, many of the INDIVIDUAL grimoires do offer prescribed methods for working with the demons listed within their pages.

"2. The Grimoires are not exactly "traditional". They are just old...."

While it may be true that the grimoires are not traditional or orthodox within the tradition from whence they arise, it can certainly be argued that the methods appearing within the grimoires were faithfully preserved from earlier sources. In other words, they had a prehistory or tradition of practice (of course fabrication or innovation cannot be entirely ruled out). Moreover, it is my contention that the continued practice of the methods set down in the various individual grimoires has established a type of tradition.

"3. People sometimes refer to these as the "tried and true" methods..."

It is not entirely clear to me as to what point you are trying to make here. If you are suggesting that the grimoires are not “traditional” on account that they have typically been practiced by a very few number of individuals, then I must disagree with you. I would argue that the continued adherence to a prescribed method of action by a single individual is a tradition.

"4. The grimoires are not safe...."

That working the grimoires can be dangerous, even when following every safety measure detailed within their pages, is exactly the point I am trying to make. How much more dangerous it may become when one starts working with grimoire demons in non-traditional ways is a moot point.

"Note that it is not the mode of contact that RO used which caused the problem ..."

I am not aware of the precise methods RO utilized in his workings with Bune. I mentioned RO’s unfortunate circumstances merely to illustrate the rather pernicious nature of many of the grimoire demons, not to demonstrate the folly of working with grimoire demons in innovative ways.

"It is also safer to approach some demons in terms of simple friendship ...

Whether it is safer to work with the grimoire demons in a manner prescribed within the grimoires themselves or with non-grimoire methods is, from my point of view, debatable. My primary objective was to point out the dangers of working with the grimoire demons and to question whether or not it is worth the risk to work with them in ways that diverge from the sources from which we have come to know of such entities. Why risk working innovatively with Bune when one can work with Vasudhara? While I cannot foresee how Vasudhara will respond to her supplicants in every situation, it is my opinion that she is far less likely to roast you over an open fire.

"Also, if you get a chance, please put a link to Strategic Sorcery's current location..."