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Evocation is the act of evoking, calling upon, or summoning a spirit, demon, deity or other supernatural agents, in the Western mystery tradition. Conjuration also refers to a summoning, often by the use of a magical spell. The conjuration of the ghosts or spirits of the dead for the purpose of divination is called necromancy. Comparable practices exist in many religions and magical traditions and may employ the use of mind-altering substances with and without uttered word formulas.
In traditional and most contemporary usage refers to a magical act of invoking spirits or using incantations or charms to cast magical spells. In the context of legerdemain, it may also refer to the performance of illusion or magic tricks for show. This article discusses mainly the original and primary usage, describing acts of a supernatural or paranormal nature.   [ better source needed ]
The word conjuration (from Latin conjure, conjurare, to "swear together") can be interpreted in several different ways: as an invocation or evocation (the latter in the sense of binding by a vow); as an exorcism; and as an act of producing effects by magical means.[ citation needed ]
The word is often used synonymously with terms such as "invocation" or "evocation" or "summoning", although many authors find it useful to maintain some distinction between these terms. The term "conjuring" is also used as a general term for casting spells in some magical traditions, such as Hoodoo. In that context, amulets and talismans are often kept in a "conjure bag" and "conjuring oils" may be used to anoint candles and other magical supplies and thus imbue them with specific magical powers.[ citation needed ]
The text of the charms to be recited to conjure the spirit varies considerably from simple sentences to complex paragraphs with plenty of magic words. The language usually is that of the conjurer's, but since the Middle Ages in Western tradition, Latin was the most common (although many texts have been translated into other languages).[ citation needed ]
The Latin word evocatio was the "calling forth" or "summoning away" of a city's tutelary deity. The ritual was conducted in a military setting either as a threat during a siege or as a result of surrender, and aimed at diverting the god's favor from the opposing city to the Roman side, customarily with a promise of a better-endowed cult or a more lavish temple.  Evocatio was thus a kind of ritual dodge to mitigate looting of sacred objects or images from shrines that would otherwise be sacrilegious or impious. 
The calling forth of spirits was a relatively common practice in Neoplatonism, theurgy and other esoteric systems of antiquity. In contemporary western esotericism, the magic of the grimoires is frequently seen as the classical example of this idea. Manuals such as the Greater Key of Solomon the King , The Lesser Key of Solomon (or Lemegeton), the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage and many others provided instructions that combined intense devotion to the divine with the summoning of a personal cadre of spiritual advisers and familiars.[ citation needed ]
The grimoires provided a variety of methods of evocation. The spirits are, in many cases, commanded in the name of God - most commonly using cabalistic and Hellenic 'barbarous names' added together to form long litanies. The magician used wands, staves, incense and fire, daggers and complex diagrams drawn on parchment or upon the ground. In Enochian magic, spirits are evoked into a crystal ball or mirror, in which a human volunteer (a 'seer') is expected to be able to see the spirit and hear its voice, passing the words on to the evoker. Sometimes such a seer might be an actual medium, speaking as the spirit, not just for it. In other cases the spirit might be 'housed' in a symbolic image, or conjured into a diagram from which it cannot escape without the magician's permission.[ citation needed ]
While many later, corrupt and commercialized grimoires include elements of 'diabolism' and one ( The Grand Grimoire ) even offers a method for making a pact with the devil, in general the art of evocation of spirits is said to be done entirely under the power of the divine. The magician is thought to gain authority among the spirits only by purity, worship and personal devotion and study.[ citation needed ]
In more recent usage, evocation refers to the calling out of lesser spirits (beneath the deific or archangelic level), sometimes conceived of as arising from the self. This sort of evocation is contrasted with invocation, in which spiritual powers are called into the self from a divine source.[ citation needed ]
Important contributors to the concept of evocation include Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Francis Barrett, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley, Franz Bardon and Kenneth Grant. The work of all of these authors can be seen as attempts to systematize and modernize the grimoiric procedure of evocation. Many modern authors, such as Peter Carroll and Konstantinos, have attempted to describe evocation in a way independent enough from the grimoiric tradition to fit similar methods of interaction with alleged supernatural agents in other traditions.[ citation needed ]
Evocation is the magical art of calling forth angels or demons to bring spiritual inspiration, do the bidding of the magician or provide information. Methods of this exist in many cultures that feature a belief in spirits, such as the shamanic traditions. Daoism, Shinto, Spiritism and the African religions (Santería, Umbanda, etc.) have particular systems of evocation.[ citation needed ]
Conjuration is a very common mystical practice in Mid-West Asia, most commonly found in Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. Many practice it to settle personal grudges or for healing, personal enhancement, or foretelling the future. There are also those who will sell their services as conjurers to others.[ citation needed ]
Islam strongly forbids the use of conjuration, because it is seen as an unholy procedure, and therefore to perform it is to give an insult to Allah. It is also considered to, in the end, harm people more than help them: those who regularly contact demons are believed to go mad through overdosing on power, or being possessed (since demons are thought to be short-tempered entities, and, given the opportunity, might overpower and enslave the one who summoned them).[ citation needed ]
A conjuration is traditionally linked to repelling negative spirits away, and protecting an individual, space or collective. However, it is also believed by some, particularly in Christianity and Islam, that magic and conjuration is an inherently evil practice. Conjurers summon demons or other evil spirits to cause harm to people or things, to obtain favors from them, or simply to enter their servitude. The belief in similarly minded conjurers also exists in belief systems in which magic is not inherently evil, although in these cultures these "black magicians" are not the rule and have opposition among more traditional magicians.[ citation needed ]
Within some magical traditions today, such as contemporary witchcraft, hoodoo and Hermeticism or ceremonial magic, conjuration may refer specifically to an act of calling or invoking deities and other spirits; or it may refer more generally to the casting of magic spells by a variety of techniques.  Used in the sense of invoking or evoking deities and other spirits, conjuration can be regarded as one aspect of religious magic.[ citation needed ]
A grimoire is a textbook of magic, typically including instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms, and divination, and how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, deities, and demons. In many cases, the books themselves are believed to be imbued with magical powers, although in many cultures, other sacred texts that are not grimoires have been believed to have supernatural properties intrinsically. The only contents found in a grimoire would be information on spells, rituals, the preparation of magical tools, and lists of ingredients and their magical correspondences. In this manner, while all books on magic could be thought of as grimoires, not all magical books should be thought of as grimoires.
Theurgy, also known as divine magic, is of one two major branches of the magical arts, the other being practical magic or thaumaturgy. Theurgy describes the ritual practices associated with the invocation or evocation of the presence of one or more deities, especially with the goal of achieving henosis and perfecting oneself.
Necromancy is the practice of magical sorcery involving communication with the dead by summoning their spirits as apparitions or visions, or by resurrection for the purpose of divination; imparting the means to foretell future events; discovery of hidden knowledge; “returning a person to life”, or to use the dead as a weapon. Sometimes categorized under death magic, the term is occasionally also used in a more general sense to refer to black magic or witchcraft as a whole. However ‘reanimation necromancy’ is not considered a real practice by occultists and authentic practitioners of witchcraft.
Ceremonial magic encompasses a wide variety of rituals of magic. The works included are characterized by ceremony and numerous requisite accessories to aid the practitioner. It can be seen as an extension of ritual magic, and in most cases synonymous with it. Popularized by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, it draws on such schools of philosophical and occult thought as Hermetic Qabalah, Enochian magic, Thelema, and the magic of various grimoires. Ceremonial magic is part of Hermeticism and Western esotericism.
The Grand Grimoire is a black magic grimoire. Different editions date the book to 1521, 1522 or 1421, but it was probably written during the early 19th century. Owen Davies suggests 1702 is when the first edition may have been created and a Bibliothèque bleue version of the text may have been published in 1750. The "introductory chapter" was authored by someone named Antonio Venitiana del Rabina who supposedly gathered his information from original writings of King Solomon. Much of material of this grimoire derives from the Key of Solomon and the Lesser Key of Solomon, pseudepigraphical grimoires attributed to King Solomon. Also known as Le Dragon Rouge or The Red Dragon, this book contains instructions purported to summon Lucifer or Lucifuge Rofocale, for the purpose of forming a Deal with the Devil. The 19th century French occultist Éliphas Lévi claimed the contemporary edition of Le Dragon Rouge to be a counterfeit of a true, older Grand Grimoire.
A pentacle is a talisman that is used in magical evocation, and is usually made of parchment, paper, cloth, or metal, upon which a magical design is drawn. Protective symbols may also be included, a common one being the six-point form of the Seal of Solomon.
Black magic, also known as dark magic, has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers or magic for evil and selfish purposes, specifically the seven magical arts prohibited by canon law, as expounded by Johannes Hartlieb in 1456.
The Lesser Key of Solomon, also known as Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis or simply Lemegeton, is an anonymous grimoire on demonology. It was compiled in the mid-17th century, mostly from materials a couple of centuries older. It is divided into five books—the Ars Goetia, Ars Theurgia-Goetia, Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria.
An invocation may take the form of:
The Key of Solomon is a pseudepigraphical grimoire attributed to King Solomon. It probably dates back to the 14th or 15th century Italian Renaissance. It presents a typical example of Renaissance magic.
A sigil is a type of symbol used in magic. The term has usually referred to a pictorial signature of a deity or spirit. In modern usage, especially in the context of chaos magic, sigil refers to a symbolic representation of the practitioner's desired outcome.
A magic circle is a circle of space marked out by practitioners of some branches of ritual magic, which they generally believe will contain energy and form a sacred space, or will provide them a form of magical protection, or both. It may be marked physically, drawn in a material like salt, flour, or chalk, or merely visualised.
The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses is an 18th- or 19th-century magical text allegedly written by Moses, and passed down as hidden books of the Hebrew Bible. Self-described as "the wonderful arts of the old Hebrews, taken from the Mosaic books of the Kabbalah and the Talmud", it is actually a grimoire, or text of magical incantations and seals, that purports to instruct the reader in the spells used to create some of the miracles portrayed in the Bible as well as to grant other forms of good fortune and good health. The work contains reputed Talmudic magic names, words, and ideograms, some written in Hebrew and some with letters from the Latin alphabet. It contains "Seals" or magical drawings accompanied by instructions intended to help the user perform various tasks, from controlling weather or people to contacting the dead or Biblical religious figures.
The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is a ceremonial magic ritual devised and used by the original order of the Golden Dawn that has become a mainstay in modern occultism. This ritual is considered by many to be a basic preliminary to any other magical work, so much that it was the only ritual, besides initiation rituals, taught to members of the Golden Dawn before they advanced to the Inner Order.
In classical antiquity, including the Hellenistic world of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, historians and archaeologists view the public and private rituals associated with religion as part of everyday life. Examples of this phenomenon are found in the various state and cult temples, Jewish synagogues, and churches. These were important hubs for ancient peoples, representing a connection between the heavenly realms and the earthly planes. This context of magic has become an academic study, especially in the last twenty years.
The Magical Treatise of Solomon, sometimes known as Hygromanteia or Hygromancy of Solomon, the Solomonikê (Σολομωνική), or even Little Key of the Whole Art of Hygromancy, Found by Several Craftsmen and by the Holy Prophet Solomon, refers to a group of similar late Byzantine-era grimoires purporting to contain Solomon's instructions to his son Rehoboam on various magical techniques and tools to summon and control different spirits, those spirits' powers, astrological beliefs, select charms, different means of divination, and the magical uses of herbs.
Liber Officiorum Spirituum was a demonological grimoire and a major source for Johann Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and the Ars Goetia. The original work has not been located, but some derived texts bearing the title have been found, some in the Sloane manuscripts, some in the Folger Shakespeare Library. Each version bears many similarities to each other and to the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and the Ars Goetia, though they are far from identical.
In Islamic culture and Muslim communities throughout the world, magic is "widespread and pervasive". Magic or sorcery and divination, or occultism, encompass a wide range of practices. These include protection from black magic, the evil eye, demons, and evil jinn, which are thought to bring "illness, poverty, and everyday misfortunes"; or alternately practices seeking to bring "good fortune, health, increased status, honor, and power". Techniques include evocation, casting lots, the production of amulets and other magical equipment. Magic has been called a "vital element of everyday life and practice" in both the contemporary and historical Islamic world, the topics generating a "staggering" amount of "literature.