This is part of an upcoming book, Naturalistic Occultism. Keep your eyes open for its release...

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8. Invocation and the
Manipulation of the Nervous System

We have already seen how magick can be understood as the intentional de-conditioning and reconditioning of the human nervous system. One specific area this idea is applicable in is in the realm of ‘invocation.’ An invocation is the ritualized calling of some entity, energy, or idea into oneself. Aleister Crowley defines invocation as, “the aspiration to the highest, the purest form of the part of oneself that one wishes to put into action,” “The conscious ego of the Magician is to be destroyed to be absorbed in that of the God whom he invokes” and “Uniting Himself to a particular Deity by devotion.” It is the intentional awakening of a facet of oneself – from the qualities of a god like Osiris to simple emotions like anger.

“Gods,” “deities,” “images,” and whatever else is used in invocation are understood in Naturalistic Occultism to represent symbolized aspects of one’s psyche. For example, Osiris might represent a collection of the ideas of death & rebirth, self-sacrifice, and redemption; Zeus might represent the ideas of paternity, immensity, power, governing, and generative power; Kali might represent the ‘darker’ aspects of life, death, dissolution of the ego, motherhood, blackness, and cruelty; Mercury might represent the ideas of quickness, cunning, trickiness, ingenuity, adaptability, and fickleness, etc. In this sense, each pantheon represents a different symbolic understanding of the human psyche. In adopting a certain pantheon, one has adopted a certain symbolic relation with one’s unconscious.

In one sense, people are using this idea of invocation when they think, for example, they would like to be energized and uplifted, so they listen to loud rock music. It is the intentional awakening or “invoking” of a facet of oneself – being energized and uplifted in this example – through the method of music which makes this a form of invocation.

There are many, many ways of utilizing this idea. As Crowley explains, “There are a thousand different ways of compassing the end proposed, so far as external things are concerned. The whole secret may be summarised in these four words: "Enflame thyself in praying." The mind must be exalted until it loses consciousness of self. The Magician must be carried forward blindly by a force which, though in him and of him, is by no means that which he in his normal state of consciousness calls I. Just as the poet, the lover, the artist, is carried out of himself in a creative frenzy, so must it be for the Magician.” This can be done by identifying yourself with the qualities of the deity or idea one is invoking in your mind’s eye, chanting a mantra, singing, dancing, reading related poetry, performing dramatic enactments, etc. The list is endless and limited only to one’s ingenuity and style.

This is where the (somewhat arbitrary) system of correspondences becomes useful. If one introspects and feels one lacks in, for example, “martial” qualities like aggressiveness, activity, virility, destruction, etc. then one would invoke “Mars.” This can be done systematically by using a system of correspondences like those found in Aleister Crowley’s 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s documents. One can take various correspondences of Mars and create various symbols, wear various clothes, carry certain implements (touch), have certain adornments around one’s room (sight), light various perfumes (smell), play certain music, say certain prayers, sing certain songs (sound), consume certain foods (taste), feel the implements one has gathered, perform various physical gestures (touch), and contemplate certain thoughts (mind). As Crowley says, “Our Ceremonial Magic fines down, then, to a series of minute, though of course empirical, physiological experiments.”

This then is a simple way to understand invocation. First various correspondences and relations are established between various sensory objects (of sight, sound, smell, etc.) and various mental ideas (such as the “god-form” of Harpocrates and his qualities) and various emotional feelings (such as anger, aspiration, compassion, vigor, etc.). Then these correspondences are deliberately manipulated to attune one’s awareness to a certain idea or feeling. When the ideas and feelings are aroused, the ‘magician’ identifies herself with these and “becomes” what she is invoking. Psychologically, one is releasing a certain unconscious potency. There is no need of belief in deities, astral or spiritual entities, spiritual forces, or anything superstitious like that. All that is needed is the human psyche.