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.