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Monday, June 24, 2019

Part Two: Dining with a Demon (100th post!)

If you haven’t read it here’s part one.

It may have been more appropriate to call this drinking with a demon…we ate food, mostly after hanging out with the demon. But the demon was only interested in the booze. You know, you bring someone out for a nice evening and then you realize in the end they only want one thing…I guess that’s just how it goes.

Anyway. This ritual was an interesting experience, leading up to it, during, and after. The original ritual, the one in which we originally bound the demon, was cool too. But it had less of a lead up, probably because we didn’t have a relationship with the demon being called beforehand, whereas this time we had two years of work with the spirit who was literally taking center chair.

When we did the original ritual I had spent weeks prepping. Making the incenses, the paint, collecting and consecrating tools, preparing myself. Building the space for the experience and drawing together the forces to create it. Again, nothing too interesting happened as part of that process though, at least nothing that jumps to mind two years later.

During the ritual itself we had a couple pretty cool moments though. Particularly, visions the scryer had of the spirit responding to things I was doing of which she was unaware, and then multiple people having visions of the same spirit. Several other people came up and told me that they had interesting experiences communing with the spirit. Part of me has always kind of wondered about people individually communing with a spirit simultaneously. In most smaller group rituals I’ve run people take turns interacting with the spirit or interact through a central person. I never really heard what people got out of the ritual in this case. But again, since multiple people had the same vision of the spirit maybe the spirit can talk with more than one person at a time. It makes sense from certain angles.

This ritual was different from that though.

This time we were calling on a spirit with whom we have a very involved relationship. He is housed prominently in our lodge space with his own altar. His altar receives decorations and gifts during parties. He’s fed according to his contract every event and sometimes more often than that. He has a close relationship with his two primary caretakers. He has been involved with one of them previously in possession work during a spirit fete hosted by a guest organization. So the spirit is pretty closely tied to us, and in particularly closely tied with the woman who would be his vessel.

The things that happened before we called the demon were pretty minor. Coincidences, synchronicities. Maybe they were nothing. Maybe they were the demon poking at things.

With this ritual I did not do weeks of preparation. I barely had time to put the ritual together. I had hoped to. But it just wasn’t the time. Everything seemed to lead me away from preparation, so I ended up running around just before the ritual frantically grabbing things…but then also realizing…I needed a lot less for this.

One of the things I needed was perfume. While prepping the ritual the thought entered my head that this wasn’t a Holy Water ritual. It should be sensual. Perfumes and colognes should replace the Holy Water. Robes should be replaced, for most people, by freedom to dress or undress as they so desired. It should be an opportunity to, as certain goats say, live deliciously.

I did not want to bring the Old Spice I had at home. I wanted new cologne. So I went to the store and discovered all the perfumes and colognes were locked up…except…for the Old Spice. It was the day before Fathers’ Day and they did not even have colognes in the Fathers’ Day aisle. I only had a few minutes and there were no sales people. I was stuck with Old Spice. It was weird because the Old Spice was about $8 and some of the locked-up colognes went as low as $4. There was no logic.

When I got to the Lodge somehow the Old Spice ended up on the table in the meeting room, all my other supplies were still in the single box I carried into the temple. When I happened into the meeting room our Vessel was questioning why it was there and if someone was pranking her. When I explained what it was and how we ended up with it, she explained that her father generally smelled of Old Spice and Deet. She’d been outside at an event all day and was covered in Deet and now I’d be baptizing her in Old Spice. Due to past trauma she has no contact with her father or other members of her family. Based on some other conversation and interaction with the spirit this was taken potentially as a prank at his arranging and it was determined to stick with the plan rather than adjust.

Almost immediately after this, the Lodge’s Abramelin oil was found to be missing. So we had to switch the anointing oil to High John the Conquerer, which honestly seemed more appropriate for reconfirming the demon. High John has associations with blues and blues musicians are children of the devil – their own words not mine. The magic associated with High John has more connection to figures like the crossroads devil, than the temple and angelic associations of the Abramelin Oil.  

There was also some strange luck with the floor circles in which I was confused about which King I was calling. Each spirit we called had a circle drawn on the floor placed based upon its role or nature. After drawing the circles on the floor based on my mistake…it turned out the circle was accidentally in place for the correct King, before I realized I needed to correct which King. It also improved the position for the Ancestors. The fortuitousness ended there as I looked up the wrong seal, but it worked out.

At least a few days before these things happened, it seems that another spirit may have helped organize one of the gifts given to the lodge’s familiar. The lodge recently did a ritual to the Witches’ Devil which resulted in people being given familiars. There were some physical signs around the demon’s altar that this ritual happening excited him. One of the main caretakers for our demon explained how his familiar wanted to get a particular item as an offering, when it didn’t work out his familiar told him not to worry about it that he’d taken care of it otherwise. Someone else ended up attending, and this hard to find item was the gift he gave. Apparently it arrived the same day he had been drawn to a bunch of items which related to the caretaker’s familiar. This person was previously unaware of the other familiars.

Like I said, small stuff. Maybe nothing, maybe something. I’m being a little vague on the gift one, which is unfortunate because of the small things it’s the most interesting.

When we conjured the demon there were two elements to the final conjuration. One was me using names from the Hygromanteia to open the Vessel while she used a modified conjuration from the PGM. The two ended up fitting perfectly, the last word of each ending at the same moment. When the connection between the Demon and the Vessel solidified he announced his presence by shooting back a full goblet of whiskey. This kind of kicked off the rest of the process. Which was largely drinking…a lot.

The Vessel isn’t a fan of bourbon, and is allergic to wormwood. In the span of about 40 minutes or so she did “shots” but those shots were full goblets of whiskey and some absinthe. There were probably fifteen or so of these. During the ritual it wasn’t striking the insane amount of alcohol she consumed but later on it dawned on me. She remained lucid, coherent, stable, completely unaffected for about two hours until the possession ended. When it wrapped up there were two intense rounds of projectile vomiting of massive amounts of dark vomit. Significantly more than seemed reasonable. I’ve done heavy alcohol rituals with this woman before with no vomiting and I’ve seen her drunk on a lot less. Honestly, she probably shouldn’t have been standing by the end of the ritual let alone the time after the ritual. Once we wrapped up the spirit continued to speak to people privately through her. She requested an agreement with the spirit beforehand that he not indulge so much that she wouldn’t be able to function at an outdoor event the next day. The next day she was completely fine and able to function.

A few days later we spoke about the experience, and she explained she had no memory of anything after the point where we were doing the prayers together until the point where she was laying on a couch after vomiting. Not in a black out drunk kind of way. Her awareness ended before that started.

While the spirit was interacting with people, standing a few feet away from him was like standing in waves of sickening fire. But when the spirit was excited and focused on talking with someone the fire focused in and relented. His aura would then reextend with its waves of discomfort when he became less focused again. It was kind of an interesting experience. I was glad for the assistance of the Benedictine Rosary consecrated to Hekate, Mary, and the Dead which I was wearing.  

The spirit also went on a long speech about why he was sent to us, and the work we’d been doing. In doing so he began answering questions I debated asking but had elected not to and hadn’t discussed with anyone. He touched on themes that had come up in dreams and spirit experiences since I was a child, which I hadn’t discussed with the lodge members. He even used descriptions that matched how I understood certain spiritual powers and which related to some of my more private magical work. Some of the description even touched on key words that overlapped both an important dream from my 20s and an unpublished translation of a medieval text I did a couple years ago.

All in all the ritual seemed a success. I’d never worked with instigating a possession before. The ritual was definitely more demoniacal than was the norm for me, and to some degree as we prepared for it that stood out more than it did when just reading it. My understanding is that at least one participant had a pretty intense experience of one of the powers which were invoked to prepare the ritual. I would definitely try it again. It was a useful and workable way for interacting with the spirit. For the most part nothing material was asked for outside of the spirit’s normal work. If anyone tries a varied version of this with other spirits I’d love to hear how your results go, especially practical ones.

If you enjoyed this and want to see more of my thoughts on spirit magic please order my book, Living Spirits: A Guide to Magic in a World of Spirits. (A great way to celebrate our 100th post!)

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  1. I’m sure your Vessel was well aware of the risks. 15 goblets of bourbon in 40mins- At any point were you concerned about alcohol poisoning?

  2. The details are a little more artistic than evidentiary...the actual amount was somewhat less. I think the post is wildly accurate in regards to tone and feel.

    Back in 1995 when Apollo 13 came out, they interviewed Jim Lovell about Tom Hanks portrayal. The interviewer commented that in the movie Hanks seemed a lot more panicky and terrified than Lovell sounded on the actual tapes. Lovell replied "it may not be an accurate portrayal of the way we acted, but it's a really good portrayal of how we felt." I think the post conveys the feel very well.

    That said, BJ was counting on me, as the medium's long term partner to count drinks and keep her safe. Which I did. We had a big job to do the next day, outside in heat, and neither of us could afford to be messed up. She suffered not even a mild hangover.

    I'll add that the medium and myself vanished into a communications black hole the week after the event, led by the aforesaid very tough outdoor task, and so while BJ did touch base to do basic corroboration, minor details like exact counts of things didn't get reviewed. Our bad, but it was a busy week!