Invocation is a method of calling upon an entity or spirit. It is a form of theurgy, which is calling upon a demon, deity or god for the purpose of magic, by using chanting, incantations or other methods that make the entity manifest in the conscious mind of the summoner.
This is compared to evocation which is the external or physical appearance of an entity. In the 'Laws of Invocation' written by Isaac Bonewits, he describes invocation as an internal communication with an entity that is perceived as either internal or external. Invocation is an internal method of summoning, defined as a personal inner experience of, or communication with an entity. This can be compared to the 'Law of Evocation', an internal and external experience of communication with an entity which has physically manifested.
Methods of Invocation
The author W.E. Butler, in his book 'Magic, Its Ritual, Power, and Purpose', states that invocation is the attraction of higher forces into the consciousness of the magician, and that evocation is the manipulation of lower forces or entities. He describes invocation as a method of communication with an external entity, or cosmic force which is greater than the self. This is compared to evocation, a method by which the magician influences lower forces or entities to perform tasks.
Invocation used in ritual magic is a means of identifying with entities and raising states of conscious awareness. In the book 'Techniques of High magick' written by Stephen Skinner, the Magic Circle is a focus for the entity that is being summoned. The use of the Magick Cup or Chalice is symbolic of the vessel that the magician becomes when the entity is invoked. Skinner compares this to evocation where the "formulae of the wand" or the sword is used to externalize the experience and to control the entity through will.
The process of invocation as described from 'Liber Kaos' by Peter Carroll is based on subconscious identification with an entity in three stages. According to Carroll, god-forms are reflected within the subconscious as an archetypal representation of basic human drives. The magician identifies with the chosen god-form, which enables the deity to enter the subconscious. The magician then enters a second stage of consciousness, which is a state of gnosis or communication. The final stage is the manifestation of the god-forms power through identification of related qualities from the subconscious. Carroll also recommends ritual and method acting as a means of invocation.
Goetic invocation makes use of the rituals contained within the Goetia which are designed to invoke the Goetic spirits into the magician’s consciousness. The rituals are based on the use of God and his angels to command and control demons. In the S.L. Mathers edition of the Goetia, the author states that the demons that are invoked are manifestations of one's own subconscious. Therefore they already exist and the magician only needs to identify with them on a subconscious level in order to communicate with them.
The use of invocation along with evocation can be beneficial for the magician’s purpose or awareness. The book "Aspects of Evocation" by Phil Hine suggests that it is easier to invoke a god-form first, in order to make a full evocation easier to manifest. Also recommended by the author is the invocation of energies that are similar to the type of entity that is being evoked.
Religious Invocation and Possession
Invocation is defined in a religious context when it is used as a form of worship. The use of spiritual invocation is a prayer or incantation that is designed to call upon the chosen entity. Religious invocation can be related to religious spiritual possession, such as the phenomenon of demonic possession found in religions like Christianity.
While invocation and possession are similar, they are two different states of consciousness. Possession is a complete transformation of the Ego into the physical form of an entity or spirit. The entity controls the body and the conscious awareness of a possessed person.
This can be compared to spiritualism or mediumship where the medium becomes a channel for spirit communication. This embodiment overtakes the consciousness and causes involuntary behaviours and characteristics to manifest which are related to the spirit or demon that possesses the individual. Compare this process to invocation, which is a voluntary and consciously aware identification with an entity or demon, leaving the Ego intact.