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I generally work in two frameworks, and I’m trying to pick up the third with little success – The goetia, which we all know and love for being easy to evoke and even easier to get enough rope to hang yourself with, and the Enochian angels.

The third system I haven’t apprehended yet is the planetary spirits. I have Rufus Opus’s work, but I suspect it works for him and he assembled it as a retrospective rather than an initiatory system.

Anyway, this was a break from the normal mold of how I operate. When I’m interested in a goetic spirit I typically ask around and find out if anyone else has worked with it in the past and then try to use that as my leg up to talking to the spirit. It’s sort of a Bacon spiritual model where you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Kevin Bacon, but you get the point. It lowers the barrier of entry to talking to that particular spirit, and if someone has good authority over the spirit than that authority is conferred to you. At the same time if someone has an easy go of getting that spirits attention, then it becomes easier for you to do it.

My wife wanted to evoke Gusoin, which isn’t a particularly popular spirit because it seems fairly generic. It’s sort of like Valefar – it’s entirely underwhelming if you just go by the book. I am interested in anyones experience with Valefar, I’ll probably get around to him later and ask what he really does. Back on topic, Gusoin appears as a butterfly, which amuses me greatly. The butterfly description proved apt, however, the spirit was extremely nice and pleasant to work with.

The 11th spirit is a great & strong duke called Gusoin [Gusion], he appeareth like a Xenophilus he telleth of all things past, present & to come: he sheweth ye meaning of all questions you can ask, he reconcileth friends and giveth honour and dignity to any, and ruleth over 40 Legions of Spirits. his seal is this, wch weare as aforesaid &c.

The altar was setup as per usual. The celestial triangle – I prefer celestial because it seems to lack magical bias – was placed on a good surface with the candle lit in front of it. It looks something like what Polyphanes put together except his is much larger and mine only has one ring. The spirits seal was taped in the center. I need to do better here. I need a permanent triangle and I need to go buy a bunch of slugs and make legitimate seals. I figure if they’re 3 inches diameter I can put them in a flip book photo album with an index. We also tried Elegant Expressions Incense and to put this bluntly – it’s flat out garbage. The aroma is actually nice because whatever their incense base is pleases me, but there’s not nearly enough smoke to properly scry. At $0.60 for 20 sticks, it’s good atmosphere but little else. With four of them I felt like there was adequate smoke in the room but then the smell was almost choking. I need to stop messing around and just get good old coals and frankincense and then tweak it with loose stuff for the spirit.

I wanted to make my wife read the conjuration but she’s not comfortable being the operator yet and prefers to scry. Because I didn’t have anyone who had worked with the spirit before, I decided I needed to do the full opening of the temple. We had eaten maybe four hours ago, so we were just at “comfortable” for “fasting” (in quotes), we had avoided pork, and in an experiment we had sex earlier. Here’s the thing with sex – if your partner is going to be in the circle with you, bang away. The sex links you to your partner so if you’re a single magical object, it’s OK to get it on. If your partner is not going to operate with you, then leave the sex out for four or more hours. Four seems to be the magical number for me, your mileage may vary. More is better. We did the full invocation, then I did the second invocation, and the second invocation had the spirit show up.

Something I’ve noticed more and more with the goetic spirits is they tend to like the performance aspect of the summoning and hate the ceremony. This is the third goetic spirit which has come and seen fit to make tapping noises around the room as it comes in – it’s almost like mice are running in the walls except we have full joist walls. Attempts to record this noise have completely eluded me, so I write it up to something like astral pollution. My wife didn’t notice the noise, but she also doesn’t notice the change in atmosphere in the room which I think is something you either get with experience or it’s something only the orator experiences. (I spoke to Rufus to see if he remembered which spirit leaves astral dust, he didn’t recall the specific post but confirmed astral-garbage is not uncommon). She did pick up quickly when the spirit entered the triangle, and she said the spirit was making the “hurry up” gesture as I was reading the conjuration, constraint, and welcome. For the initial contact, don’t skip anything. Anything. You should be like a police officer and know the miranda warning in four languages – by heart. Same goes for the conjurations – you are informing the spirit of your authority. For the next few I usually just can read the first conjuration, give a heartfelt welcome ad-lib, then query, then license to depart. The first one? Has to be by the books so the spirit knows you’re not screwing around. If the spirit gets uppity, banish it. If the spirit is screwing around, banish it. If the spirit is asking you to kill your neighbors and eat their hearts for a new job, that might be reasonable if you’re looking for employment in prison, otherwise you should banish it.

The spirit came on and pretty much ignored me, it seemed to understand that my wife was the querent and I was the orator, so the smoke spent most of the time on her side of the candle. What little smoke there was with the crap incense, I should have tested it before trying to use it but the spirit seemed to make due. At some point the spirit decided it was having problems communicating ideas to my wife and the smoke came around my side of the candle, I was having problems figuring out what the spirit was intimating but I eventually figured out it was introducing itself and giving me forms and figures, which jives with the whole initial contact idea for the orator.

This was also the first time a goetic spirit argued with me. Most of the time they either have commentary on a topic or they simply give me a yes or no for their ability to accomplish things. My wife had asked for reconciliation between two (magic-aware) people and the spirit gave me this huge stream of protest I couldn’t get a handle on. I suspect I was being shown something about their spell work directed towards one another but I wasn’t initiated enough into their magic to really understand what was presented. I got the impression that the connections were ridiculous and already being actively contributed to by their own magic, and therefor the spirit felt reconciliation was impossible or it didn’t have enough leeway to come up with a nice solution to this problem.

“But Phergoph”, you say, “The spirits can accomplish anything within their office otherwise they’re completely worthless!”

Sort of, this idea rolled around in my head for a day and I had to really meditate on it. What I think happened (and what I think I missed) was that both of them are actively using magic to tweak things. Its not that they’re not under the influence of the spirit (they are and I eventually got an affirmation from the spirit about maintaining status quo), it’s that both of them are engaged in this magical tug of war where they both want to go a direction and they’re competing. Any efforts the spirit puts in it would likely be met with magic to counter or augment the force to their individual wills. Reconciliation will, therefor, only come from themselves.

The philosophical question this raises – Does the answer there depend on the class of spirit? The goetia seem unable to affect things when two magicians are having a pissing contest, but could the enochian spirits? Planetary?

Post your thoughts.