Exorcisms, Conjurations & Social Change> by Levin A. Diatschenko

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In Eliphas Levi’s classic work on Western magic, Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual, he explains some basic rules for conjurations. Paraphrasing Trithemius, who in magic was the master of Cornelius Agrippa, Levi says, “To evoke a spirit is to enter into the dominant thought of that spirit, and if we raise ourselves morally higher along the same line, we shall draw the spirit away with us, and it will certainly serve us.” To this Levi adds, “To conjure is to oppose the resistance of a current and a chain to an isolated spirit – cum jurare, to swear together, that is, to make a common act of faith. The greater the strength and enthusiasm of this faith, the more efficacious is the conjuration.”


What does all this mean?


If the principles of magic are present in everyday life, this arcane book from the eighteenth hundreds is useful and practical, rather than a collection of abstracts. The central point gathered above is that in order to conjure a certain influence, one must enter into sympathy with it first. That, at least, is a readily seen principle in life, even if the reader has not used it to conjure ‘spirits’. An example is when you enter into sympathy with a person, and gain their trust; it is consequently easier to ‘evoke’ their feelings or opinions, that is, to get them to open up to you.

To “oppose the resistance of a current and a chain to an isolated spirit” can be seen in another example: when you preach at someone, or push your beliefs on them, this usually repels them. But to show interest in their beliefs or culture, “swears” you both “together” in understanding. The person would then respect you enough to listen to your beliefs. In short, you bring out in yourself that which you wish to conjure up in another. Because “we are all one” as the catch-phrase says, this ‘spirit’ in you and the other person is actually the same spirit filtered through different psychological histories.


To elaborate in a further metaphor, in the Japanese martial art of aikido if it is difficult to push the opponent over because of strong resistance, you are taught to pull them first. Then, as the united weight has fallen all one way, you can push again with a greater ease.


Later on in the same book, Levi explains further: “We may act individually when evoking a spirit, but to conjure we must speak in the name of a circle or an association; this is the significance of the hieroglyphical circle traced round the magus who is operating, and out of which he must not pass unless he wishes at the same moment to be stripped of all his power.”



This principal is pretty straight forward – Malcome X acted as an individual but he spoke in the name of all African Americans. He was thus able to conjure their fighting spirit into action. Gandhi acted as an individual but represented India (today he represents even more than India). The wonderful Annie Besant represented many things – all women, all Irish people, all people of goodwill, and Theosophical values are four examples. Blavatsky represented The Ancient Wisdom, or humankind’s refusal to stop believing in something more than matter. And so on.

What a person works, fights and lives for is his ‘circle,’ in magical terminology, “out of which he must not pass unless he wishes at the same moment to be stripped of all his power.” In other words, to stop representing something larger than your self is to act on behalf of one solitary, self-centred man, for his own gain. Thus you only gain the power of one isolated man.


When Gandhi spun and wove cloth, calling others to join him, he was conjuring the feeling of unity and self-love inside the Indian people. When Martin Luther King trod on the streets without violence, he was conjuring the goodwill of all Americans. The amount of people imitating each other in the same act shows the extent to which that one spirit was conjured.


In this way we can talk of conjuring spirits and inspiring qualities in people, as based upon the same principles. Potentially, we can use these principles of magic to better the world. One could enter into sympathy with a group, so that he becomes the group (i.e. a part of it), then draw them upwards into a state of enthusiasm. From this healthy state, possibilities multiply. The above examples did it and so have many others.


Sociology and magic are analogous because they share the same natural laws underneath the surface. Francis Bacon, another great magician of the Rosicrucian creed, said that analogies are not only “similitudes (as men of narrow observation may conceive them to be), but plainly the same footsteps of nature treading or printing upon different subjects and matters”. To be sure, one definition of magic is the Science of Analogies.


Alice A. Bailey, founder of World Goodwill and the Arcane School, said: “Every form is the result of thought and of sound. Every form veils or conceals an idea or concept. Every form, therefore, is but the symbol or attempted representation of an idea and this is true without exception on all the planes of the solar system, wherein forms are found whether created by God, man or deva.”


The great Patanjali, in his Raja Yoga Sutras, agrees: “The reading of symbols produces contact with the soul.” To be able to see all things as symbols of some hidden association is something magicians train themselves to do, to penetrate beneath the surface. Alice A. Bailey called this ‘spiritual reading’.


Using this rule, all a ritual magician’s tools are analogous to some quality inside him. The wand is his Will, the sword is his Knowledge, the cup is his mind, and so forth. He constructs them in such a way that by Pavlovian Conditioning and intense concentration, he will associate each tool with its correct quality. To construct his wand, for example, the magus would put himself through a great test of will power to acquire the materials to build it. Afterwards, merely touching it would bring up the association of triumph and purpose in that event, and recollect that strength from inside him.


In the same way that he projected his will into an object, the conjurer projects qualities into a symbol. Then, as long as the association is well established, what ever he does to the symbol has real consequences. Another social example is the Australian flag. A mere piece of coloured cloth causes emotional changes in people whenever they see it displayed. Even more so when they see it burned. Each flag is a different one, but they contain the same symbol, that of Australia. So, people see all of them as the same object. And when it burns, the patriotic onlooker actually feels as if something has been done to him. That’s magic, albeit diluted – like a voodoo doll.


Banishing demons or negative influences works in a similar way, according to most occult authorities. The demons need to be evoked, or projected into something, so that they are seen and trapped. From this vantage point, they can then be banished. Christ did it by sending the “Legion” of demons into a group of pigs, who then plunged off a cliff.


I once saw a self-help seminar on Chuck Norris’s TV show Walker Texas Ranger, where a muscle-bound man handcuffed both his own wrists; he said to the crowd, “These hand cuffs represent all my limitations, my doubts,” etc. Then he broke the chains using brute strength. Similar principle.


In Liber Null and Psychonaut, Peter J. Carrol (co-founder of Chaos Magic and the I.O.T.) tells of a time he attempted an exorcism:--


“In the flats where I was living at the time in the big city, there was a chap making a progressive descent into madness. Let us call him Ron. Most head doctors would have diagnosed him as schizophrenic. His behaviour was bizarre in the extreme. He heard voices continually and he imagined persecution from the most unlikely sources. One day he paid me a visit, drawn perhaps by rumours of my odd interests. He was dressed in perhaps five sets of clothes, starving hungry, and almost completely out of his mind. He had been camping out on a heath for some time to avoid the demons in his flat. Having made him as comfortable as possible I thought I should perhaps try and do anything I could to help.


“We went into a room I had prepared for various magical experiments and I applied the standard procedures of exorcism. Nothing would work. Ron became very defensive and just kept mumbling in a stream of dissociated nonsense. Nothing would make him manifest the demons he complained of, so that they could be banished. In exasperation I decided to be his demon. I advanced upon him snarling and cursing, menacing him with weapons and threats, throwing back at him all the stuff he had been complaining of. For a few minutes I became his paranoia. Clad in strange robes in a dark room full of burning sulphur, I held his soul at sword point and thoroughly evoked hell all about him. The effect was remarkable. He opened up and became completely lucid and reasonable, trying to talk his way out of the predicament, using perfect sense and logic with the correct emotional responses. Thereupon I turned the act off and got us both out of the choking chamber.


Ron was then normal for another twenty minutes during which time we tried to work out how he was going to get his life back together. Toward the end of this though he began to slip back into his insane mode, and by the time he suddenly decided to leave he was completely crazy again. It was my greatest regret that I didn’t have the facilities to detain him and try and do something more for him. As the witch doctors say, a man who gets sick in the head can be helped, but a man with a ‘bad soul,’ that is, a long-term head case, often proves intractable. I only saw Ron briefly once again after the psychiatrists had had their way with him, and he seemed a virtual cabbage. Let’s hope it was only sedatives.”




I cannot help but note how the principals of non-violent resistance are closely related to the principals of exorcism or banishment. Peter J. Carrol did not resist Ron’s negativity but affirmed it, became it. This is analogous to not resisting a strike, but turning the other cheek. The key here is the perception of unity – that neither person present is the enemy or demon.


Again, the same principle works out in daily life, only in a ‘diluted form’ (if I may use such an expression). I remember feeling depressed and hopeless then confiding in someone who was generally pessimistic. That someone basically said, “you’re right; there is no hope,” though in different words. In that moment, she was a mirror to my hopelessness, and when I looked in it, I saw the ‘demon’ that was on my back. In disgust I then found myself ‘exorcised’ and piping up, disagreeing with my friend. My true self underneath my mood did not believe that. My despair was apparently sucked out and in the vacuum my will came back.


When my friend and I became one in our distress, by imitating each other, we could look at ‘ourself’ and see the problem. In the end, we are only many metaphors for the same invisible life.

When people do resist, we usually take that as a lack of understanding – as in, “Take your rosy glasses off and shove them up your arse!” So, non-violent resistance is a way of drawing out the demon in others. Eye-for-an-eye strategy is a way of perpetuating the demon.


All this suggests a hidden genius within the New Testament, and a logical process to magical doctrine. I’ve always looked at people like Gandhi and Besant (and the others mentioned above, etc.) as unofficial scientists who have come upon a formula for changing the world. Let’s say, the problem or goal of the ‘experiment of life’ is to transcribe ideals of peace and unity into realities in the material world. Then, the scientist should theoretically be able to recreate the same conditions again at will.

To me, these correspondences spark up enthusiasm and the keenness to begin experimenting. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like that stupid mouse in the maze who takes the longest amount of time to find the way out.