Couple posts back, I wrote about the art of magic and knowing some basics. The directions and what they mean. The tools of the magician. So while some folks are out shopping for the gods (or in my case, the Lwa), the real magician is sitting at his desk, pen in hand, pondering the written word. Honest, I am not making that part up.
I just finished a long article on writing as an esoteric art form. Stodgy stuff, nice and dry -- an academic article worthy of its citations, commentary and footnotes (yawn.) But it really got me thinking about the work of a magician, and just what is needed to get your Godform on. I know Goetic art is getting a real workout these days, but that's just one part of the formula. What you really need is a good speaking voice and the acting chops of a Barrymore, inorder to bring heaven down to earth.
This past weekend, we serve Ogoun with a huge feast, lots of singing and banging of machetes. The Iron Man was mighty pleased. But I began the work with a full-on evocation that a friend in Germany sent me. This person has worked with the Lwa for 40-odd years. He does a fine job of melding Vodou with ceremonial magic. And his writing is superbly point-on for evocation. A small sample for your speaking pleasure - face the East, raise your dominant hand and make a fist. Speak the following with virtue and power:
Burn all of the errors of the past with the fires of my anger and all‑consuming fire of will, for I am OGOU‑FERAY.
Let not the shadows of the past remain upon the face of the earth, for I shall plow a million times over the ground of the dead, to destroy and create anew, for I am OGOU‑ASHADE.
Let not history remember the names of those who have given themselves unto errors and to the causing of pain and suffering to my people, for such history I shall cause to be destroyed, for I am OGOU‑OBATALA.. . (etc.)
I wrote hundreds of rituals when I was in training for the position of Magus in the SoL. I should probably publish them someday, so they will be used by folks. I certainly wrote them for that purpose. I've become lazy in Vodou. After all, there is a liturgy to be used. The words, the songs and the invocations are all there. I just have to get them memorized. But I was so taken by this one, that I had to use it. I had the entire sosyete stand and deliver, as I orated my little fanny off. I did do the traditional invocation over the veve in service. And I said prayers at the altars during the salutes. But this just felt right. Especially since it names Ashade - that was Edgar's Met Tet. So in a way, I also invoked him into the service as well.
My point here is that evocation is all about creating space for something to be with you. The word means "to call forth", and an magical evocation is even more than that simple phrase. Chic Cicero states that if invocation is the act of inviting Something in, evocation is the act of becoming that Something. I really wanted Ogoun present. And He came forth as requested.
But not because I mumbled, or wandered around in my speech. I choose these words for their meaning and their power. I evoked with great gusto and energy. And I did it so I could become Ogoun later in the service.
Dolores was a world class actress, trained in the London Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her tone and meaning were always evoking something - her disgust, her dismay, or her delight in what we were doing. "Balcony" she'd intone seriously, after we'd all taken a turn at evoking paragraph from our manuscripts of rituals. That meant whoever was seated far away couldn't hear us. "Mean it" was another saying, when we lagged in enthusiasm.
She taught me to speak with energy, to mean what I said and to do it with style and passion. Her example was to read from anything anyone had in the room - and make it sound amazing. And that was the secret. It wasn't what was written there, it was the passion, the intent, the energy and the vocalization that made it work. It was also what wasn't said - the meaning one implied by inflection, tone and pitch that also made the evocation work.
So go ahead, decorate your temple like an HGTV host on acid; wear all the bells and smells, medals and medallions you own; burn that last ten pounds of frankincense until the EPA comes knocking at the door. In the end, if you cannot orate the evocation with great emotion and power, then you will not call anything but derision into your space.
Too bad too, cause Mr. Mojo Rising is right there, waiting for the invite. If you want to party like its 1999, then you'd best get your evocation on and learn to speak like there is no tomorrow.