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"It is through evoking higher spiritual powers by means of rites of Supernatural Magick that humans come to true realization of what they are in essence: eternal spiritual entities."

Iamblicus


     There are several different conceptions of Higher Powers and the phenomenon of evocation, so you can make your choice as to what area you wish to examine:
    The highest power I can imagine would be to have the power to get a million dollars

    The highest power I can imagine would be to have the power to evoke a spirit which would then do whatever I wanted it to

    The highest power I can imagine would be to have the power of astral projection

    The highest power I can imagine would be to have the power of inner stability that is independent of outward circumstances


Please select one of the above items to proceed.


















     The end for which man was created, Plato said, was to achieve communion with the Higher Powers above the terrestrial realm, through "the light and spirit of the Divine, the wings of the soul. That ought to be man's aim in the acquisition of knowledge."

     In previous essays, we reviewed how to discover the spiritual domain and the new language of spiritual inspiration used to travel to and communicate within that world. We also studied some of the portals into that spiritual dimension.

"All arts lie in man, though not all are apparent. Awakening brings them out. To be taught is nothing; everything is in man, waiting to be awakened."

Paracelsus

     We've seen how some spiritual explorers have achieved entrée into the higher domain through unusual states, altered states, and through Perennialist art.

     We earlier examined the meaning of activity in the spiritual domain. Here we are investigating how to call into being and operation the higher powers of the spiritual world.

    In the metaphysical tradition, the concept of "powers" includes both:

  • Mental, social, physical, or spiritual efficacy -- capacity, authority, or right -- and

  • Entities which possesses such efficacy
                           I hesitate to use the term "evoke" in this essay because such a great deal of nonsense has been written about "magical evocation of spirits" and other such deliberate confabulation. One of the twentieth-century works of charlatanry was Franz Bardon's The Practice of Magical Evocation. This book, as well as his Initiation Into Hermetics, were pretences at explaining the phenomena of evocation and initiation. Bardon worked within the pseudo-scientific arenas of astrology, cabala, and tarot, obfuscating important metaphysical topics and trying to pass off simplistic nonsense as the veriest truth. To review Bardon's The Practice of Magical Evocation, go here.


A Completely Different Approach

     In contradistinction to such nonsense as Bardon's, I'm using the term "evoke" in a very specific sense to refer to:
  1. Calling up powers (efficacies and entities) from within ourselves and also

  2. Evoking powers in this special sense of conjure: 1
  • To charge or entreat earnestly or solemnly

  • To summon by or as if by invocation or incantation 2

  • To affect or effect by or as if by magic

  • To bring to mind


"For man is demonstrated to be an epitome of the whole mundane creation, and was generated to become wise above all terrestrial animals; being endowed, besides those powers which he commonly exerts, and by means of which he is able to contemplate the things which exist around him, with the germ of a higher faculty, which, when rightly developed and set apart, reveals the hidden Forms of manifested Being, and secrets of the Causal Fountain, identically within himself. Nor this alone; not only is man reputed able to discover the Divine Nature, but, in the forcible language of the Asclepian Dialogue, to effect It; and in this sense, namely with respect to the Catholic Reason which is latent in his life, man was once said to be the Image of God."

Mary A. Atwood, Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy, 1850, 1960


     When I speak of evoking spiritual powers, I refer both to effectuating higher capabilities within our inner essence but also to invoking supersensual dynamisms (beings and forces). This is essentially what Plato meant when he spoke of "communing with Higher Powers." As we saw in an earlier essay, communion connotes both communicating with and also becoming one with another entity.

     Perennialist savants such as Hermes, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Plotinus, Iamblicus, and Porphyry spoke of hierarchies of spiritual and terrestrial beings: divinities, higher spirits, guiding spirits, and souls.

      All humans have their own
level of being that determines their life experience. Each of us has been assigned our own guardian spirit. This guiding spirit has its being on the level immediately above our own. If we discover and work within the spiritual domain--as guided by the guardian spirit--we can achieve higher levels of being while on earth and after passing to the next realm. Until, as Plotinus, puts it, one "reaches the heights."

"There is, therefore, in each of us one peculiar presiding guiding spirit . . . The invocation of him is effected through The One, who is the lord of spirits; who from the first defined to every one his peculiar spirit; and who, in sacred operations, unfolds to every one his proper spirit, according to his own proper will . . ."
Iamblicus, De Mysteriis

Power in World Cultures

     Historically, most cultures have used a special term to delineate powers which they considered supernatural: Astral Light, Arealoha, Archeus, Baraka, Bioenergy, Bioplasma, Qi, Ki, Ecknakar, Elma, God, Huna, Ka, Kerei, Mana, Mumia, Mungo, Nervous Ether, Numen, 3  Odic Force, Orenda, Paraelectricity, Pneuma, Prana, Reiki, the Sacred, 4  Spiritus, Syntropy, Tinh, Tondi, Vis Naturalis, Wakan, and Wisdom.

     Spiritual forces were believed to be associated with special persons, places, and objects, so seekers traveled to these entities to gain supernatural power and capabilities. The oldest known pilgrimage site is Mount Kailash in Tibet. Located at an altitude of 18,000 feet, it has been the destination of holy expeditions for an astounding 15,000 years. Walking the 32-mile trail around Kailash takes about three days. Buddhists say the ritual circumambulation erases the sins of one lifetime, and 108 times around the mountain will enable you to reach Nirvana automatically.

     In ancient Greece, sages built an Earth Goddess shrine at Delphi because of the abundance of plenum, an energy they believed bubbled out of the earth on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The Chinese believe in a similar life force called chi. Sufis call it Baraka and Hindus know it as prana.

"A man of knowledge is one who has followed truthfully the hardships of learning; a man who has, without rushing or faltering, gone as far as he can in unraveling the secrets of personal power. Only be concerned with the idea of storing personal power."

Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan

     People believe that this biophysical energy can be accessed or generated through such techniques as meditation, fasting, and breathing techniques. It is said that these supernatural forces can infuse a person with tremendous dynamism and make him or her extremely powerful in action, much more so than power developed through the ordinary body or mind alone.

       Great Serpent Mound, Southern Ohio, US             This supernatural power is depicted as a transferable quality of personal blessedness and spiritual force said to lodge in certain individuals, places such as the Peruvian Andes, and objects such as crystals or monoliths.       


"It is from understanding that power comes; and the power in the ceremony was in understanding what it meant . . ."

John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks


Power in the Perennial Tradition

     Perennialist teachers contact, store, and project higher spiritual powers for specific, positive purposes. They teach advanced students about these phenomena in terms which the initiates can understand. They explicate a reality which has little in common with ordinary life. Transcendental forces have only an approximate resemblance to ordinary human powers, so the teacher must use similes, myths, and allegories to explicate these phenomena which reside in another dimension.

      Perennialist teachers are able to concentrate and project a completely higher spiritual energy through means which are taught only to advanced students. Persons can Augustinemake themselves open to this transcendental force and can also, through their behavior or attitudes, become impermeable to it. It is a force which can be lost once it has been received, through thoughtlessness, immorality, or disbelief. This force often works through persons without their being aware of its operation, either in part or in full. When this extra-dimensional force operates through persons it can appear that they are consciously performing certain activities when in fact they may be only partially aware--or not at all aware--of what is happening. Such persons may appear to be predominantly positive, conscious agents of a higher spiritual power when, indeed, they may be primarily negative in their effect, being used by a demonic force in spite of themselves.

"Sufi tradition has it that 'intermediaries' often prepare the ground for the Sufi message. The strange thing about this doctrine is that the 'intermediary' is someone who is temporarily or permanently endowed with a minimum of Baraka (power): and such a man or woman is largely unconscious of what he is actually destined to do."

O. M. Burke, Among the Dervishes, Octagon Press, 1973

     One of the primary means of distinguishing the Perennial Tradition from degraded and corrupted systems is its understanding and use of spiritual power. In such aberrant systems as shamanism, black magic, witchcraft, metallic alchemy, and sorcery, a species of extra-normal power is invoked to be used for personal--often negative--purposes. To denounce degenerate systems in this way is completely different from how, say, a bigoted and dogmatic Christian would anathematize any practice outside his purview in these terms: "To seek spiritual power outside a submissive relationship to the Roman Catholic Church is to practice witchcraft."

     Higher spiritual powers, as we are here exploring this phenomenon, only appear to the uninformed and ignorant to be similar to the forces which are invoked in debased systems. We must distinguish higher spiritual powers from lower, debilitating forces which depraved persons can learn to summon and utilize. Humans at present are so psychologically immature that they're unaware that they can be manipulated by a charlatan through emotional stimuli, causing these persons to believe they have been involved in a spiritual event when it's nothing more than a heightened, subjective, counterfeit experience.

     We call such charlatans charmers, enchanters, entrancers, or spellbinders. We also refer to charms, spells, chants, and amulets as verbal incantations or objects supposed to endow occultists with magical potency. Persons who allow themselves to be duped by such frauds are merely seeking stimulation, not understanding or personal and social transformation.

     The essential difference between higher spiritual powers and black magical or occult forces is that a person learning to contact and cooperate with higher dynamism must of necessity attain advanced moral understanding and rectitude. It is simply impossible to contact or work with higher spiritual forces unless one has attained the state of high moral purpose and discernment. Higher powers, by their very nature, are indiscernible and incomprehensible to persons who seek to use them for negative purposes.

"The deeper secrets and laws of our being are self-protected; to learn them requires an adaptation of character and purpose, and a humility of mind and spirit, inconsistent with those displayed by the perverse or merely curious enquirer. To understand, let alone practically to explore, the Hermetic Mystery is not for every one--at least, at his present state of evolutional unfolding . . . Only to those whose spiritual destiny has already equipped them with a certain high measure of moral and intellectual fitness will even a rough notional apprehension of it be practicable."

Walter Leslie Wilmhurst, Introduction to M. A. Atwood,
Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy

     Just as our current civilization uses electricity, magnetism, and electro-magnetic waves, Perennialist savants use and manipulate higher spiritual energies. These subtle forms of power function in reference to certain laws of nature, just as electromagnetism operates by certain laws. Spiritual energy can be contacted and utilized only through esoteric knowledge, which is preserved for those who demonstrate the prerequisite moral and intellectual qualities.


What Are Higher Spiritual Powers?

     Spiritual powers consist of subtle inner forces which we activate or external dynamic energy found in persons, events, or places which we evoke. We'll first examine two inner spiritual powers which require an altered or heightened state of consciousness in order to discover and understand them. Then we'll look closely at external spiritual forces and how we access their energies.

     The ordinary consciousness is incapable of recognizing inner or external powers, because such powers are too subtle and seem to common awareness to be too powerless and insignificant for any serious consideration. Higher spiritual forces possess and utilize power in ways we would least suspect.

"There exists in you, indefinitely developable, an engine of power, dynamically creative, capable of impressing and molding your material world according as you give out from your inner being in creative force."

Stewart Edward White and Betty White, Across the Unknown

     We develop genuine spiritual power by establishing a propulsion of the vitality we accumulate through spiritual awareness. This force is fundamentally a sensation of throwing out from ourselves--not an idea to be expressed but an active, superabundant sort of energy that naturally overflows and helps to do for others what has already been done for us.

      It's like a magnetic or chemical attraction that draws out of other people a similar quality, and gets them started with their own effort. This spiritual power involves continually throwing off from ourselves the surplus vitality of understanding and sympathetic awareness.

"It is just this gentle distribution around you of the spiritual heart force, as you feel its expansion within you, that will teach you the actuality of spiritual faculties."

Stewart Edward White and Betty White, Across the Unknown

     The more we ally ourselves with the subtle higher spiritual powers, the more we become aware of even greater forces to be cooperated with in order to gain still more comprehensive empowerment.


Self-Control and Self-Improvement

     Along with the development of a propulsion of the vitality we accumulate through spiritual awareness, the second transcendent "power" we work to achieve is self-control. As all Perennialist savants have taught, we gain dynamism through our efforts at self-awareness and self-improvement. If you're not appalled at who you were last year--last week--then you're not developing the absolutely essential spiritual powers of self-control and self-improvement.


"Surely the resolve that moves the Sufis towards abandonment is their realization of the evil ways that control them."
Abu-al-Mawahib al-Shadhili,
Articles of the Maxims of Illumination

     If who you were ten years ago--or fifty years ago--doesn't seem entirely alien to you, you're not effectively working at self-awareness and self-improvement. You're not paying attention, not learning what you need to change in yourself.

     Such self-cleansing and self-improvement aren't merely optional courses of action in achieving spiritual empowerment, they're prerequisites for higher discernment.


"Cleanse us from our blemishes that we might see your attribute in the mirror of our existence which is drawn from the existence of your existence."
Abu-al-Mawahib al-Shadhili,
Articles of the Maxims of Illumination



     While self-improvement requires honest recognition of past errors, you need to forgive yourself for what you have been and done--just as you need to forgive others.

      It's inadvisable to try to associate with people who cannot forgive you for what you were. Such distortion of personality arises from their inability to forgive themselves.

     As the Perennialist sage al-Ahadhili reminds us, "While you live avoid those folk who are supposed to be 'the good.'"


"Faults will turn to good, provided we use them to our own humiliation, without slackening in the effort to correct ourselves. Discouragement serves no possible purpose; it is simply the despair of wounded self-love. The real way of profiting by the humiliation of one's own faults is to face them in their true hideousness, without ceasing to hope in God, while hoping nothing from self."
Fenelon

     Self-control and self-improvement are spiritual powers necessary for any higher understanding. The pleasure of the true seeker, Al-Ahadhili explains, consists in opposing self. Part of self-opposition is to avoid any sense of self-importance or fame.


     "The higher the station of a gnostic, the smaller he appears in the eyes of ordinary persons."
Abu-al-Mawahib al-Shadhili,
Articles of the Maxims of Illumination


"If any man desire to be first in spiritual attainment, the same shall be last of all and servant of all."

Jesus of Nazareth


The Spiritual Power of Discernment

     Discernment is the power of comprehending a phenomenon with ordinary physical and mental senses as well as with higher intellectual faculties. Most humans have no conception of discernment's extraordinary, transcendent potency, because they mistakenly believe that it's easy, indeed automatic, for a person to apprehend what reality is.

"The ancient Gnosis we may define as that knowledge of the nature of Man and of his place in the Universe which transcends the mere appearance of things as presented to the senses and the intellect, and which contacts Reality in a region of pure Truth. The beginning of this knowledge, therefore, is the realization that things are not what they seem; and no one who is a crude realist--as are all orthodox Christians, both in respect of the physical world and of their own Scriptures--can make any approach to this super-knowledge."

William Kingsland. The Gnosis or Ancient
Wisdom in the Christian Scriptures

     We begin to gain the elementary powers of discernment when we see that our ordinary view of reality is a deadly delusion, that comprehending reality requires our awakening and developing specific capabilities enabling us to fathom a veiled unknown actuality.

     To grasp how powerful discernment is, let's examine a phenomenon that many Americans feel they comprehend just through ordinary experience: President Barack Obama. They believe they know that he is a well-intentioned, brilliant, leader who is basically a humane person trying to do his best by the American people.

     People who believe that about Obama are at the mercy of suicidal delusions. Most such people are unaware that they're suffering from mental derangement. Their ignorance of their own self-destructive ignorance has led to their allowing themselves to be used as cannon fodder in wars started only for the purpose of corporate profit and militaristic domination. They're allowing their own country to be ruined by debt, globalistic transfer of American jobs to cheap labor markets, Constitutional freedoms being destroyed wholesale before our eyes, and rapidly increasing poverty and debt for the middle and lower economic classes.



     Unfortunately, Americans and citizens worldwide are NOT awakening from their delusions and developing powers of discernment. They're increasingly embracing mindlessness, ignorance, and self-gratification, leading to their being duped by Obama and his controllers: an insane, demonic group of moneyed persons who will sacrifice anyone to gain more power and wealth. What gives us hope is the realization that--even in this murderous Dark Age--Higher Knowledge is currently being preserved, protected, and disseminated by persons working within the Perennial Tradition.


"In reality cognition is . . . spiritual struggle for meaning . . . It is decided by the intensity of the will to truth and meaning . . ."

Nicolas Berdyaev

     If you don't recognize that we're living in the time of a transcendent, spiritual struggle of Truth against devastation and falsehood, you're simply not awake enough to have much hope for survival. At this point in human history, we either overcome our deadly delusions and work to attain the spiritual power of discernment, or the human race may descend into increasing barbarism and ultimate extinction.

     Spiritual discernment allows us not only to see through social delusions but to gain an awareness of transcendent realities as well.

"The illusion from which we are seeking to extricate ourselves is not that constituted by the realm of space and time, but that which comes from failing to know that realm from the standpoint of a higher vision. We are at length restored to consciousness by awakening in a real universe, the universe created by the One Mind as opposed to that perversion of it which has been created by our egocentric selves. We then see the visible world as the expression of the immanental life of God, the Divine in manifestation. In relating ourselves to it we live in that Presence subjectively in the depths of our mystical being. And in the properly integrated personality the two processes have become one."

Lawrence Hyde, The Nameless Faith, (1950)


Evoking Higher Spiritual Powers

     In evoking Higher Spiritual Powers, the teacher must assist the student to enter into an altered state of consciousness, thereby activating a higher faculty within. We relax the bonds by which the soul is held down by the body:
  • To allow the soul to reunite with the Higher Consciousness

  • To release the soul from the spell under which it is held in bondage in the body

  • To bring the body and the mind to quiescence

  • To free the Higher Consciousness from the enthrallment of the ego consciousness

  • To reunite the soul with its lost universality

  • To separate the higher subtle feelings from the gross sense feelings

  • To free the soul from any misconceptions

  • To allow the soul to travel to higher realms

     In bringing about this altered state, these factors are involved:
  • The teacher entrancing the senses of the student

    • The teacher giving suggestions of passivity to the student and neutralizing his consciousness: Plato says that communing with Higher Powers is possible only when the understanding or reasoning faculty is in abeyance

    • The student gazing at a specified object to entrance the eye and the conscious mind

  • The teacher speaking directly to the student's subconscious mind to influence and control his behavior

  • The teacher and the student conversing with the powers within

  • Setting the mental framework as the experience of the moment of death followed by rebirth
  • The teacher manipulating the student's Force Field

    • to activate the psychic force field within which the student resides

    • to bring all facets of this life force into harmonious interplay and homeostasis

  • The teacher's psyche leading the student's psyche through suggesting actions, feelings, and thoughts

"The aspirant therefore would be placed in the condition of a person at the moment of death or in anaesthesia; but with this difference, that, whilst thus reduced to subjectivity, he would be at the mercy of the compelling will and direction of the operator into whose power he had committed himself. His consciousness, withdrawn from externals, would be restricted to and focused upon the mind's internal content, and these inania regna he would be directed to explore and to consider."

Walter Leslie Wilmhurst, Introduction to
Mary A. Atwood, Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy


Vital Distinctions

     To evoke Higher Spiritual Powers, the teacher and the student must be thoroughly conversant with the various levels of being and consciousness.

Level of Being  Characteristics   Entities   Faculties 

Spiritual

Eternal
Unchanging

Forms
Higher Spiritual Powers

Higher Consciousness
Communion

Metaphysical

Intellectual
Nonmaterial

Higher Concepts
Higher Symbols

Higher Intellect
Inspiration

Terrestrial:
Conscious

Measurable
Tangible

Persons
Objects
Concepts

Lower Consciousness
Sensing, Feeling, Thinking

Terrestrial: Subconscious

Non-rational
Malleable

Images
Symbols

Unconscious,
Instinct


     In evoking Higher Powers through effecting an altered state of consciousness, the teacher speaks directly to the student's subconscious mind, which is malleable, capable of being controlled by the suggestions or commands of the teacher.

      As described by Plutarch, the altered state involves the deactivation of the consciousness, separating it from awareness of objects and matters that are immediately present to our ordinary experience, allowing us to enter a new order of being.

Iamblicus, The Egyptian Mysteries

"There exists a faculty in the human mind which is immeasurably superior to all those which are grafted or engendered in us. By it we can attain to union with superior intelligences, finding ourselves raised above the scenes of this earthly life, and partaking of the higher existence and superhuman powers of the inhabitants of the celestial spheres.

"By this faculty we find ourselves liberated finally from the dominion of destiny, and we become, as it were, the arbiters of our own fates.  For, when the most excellent parts in us find themselves filled with energy; and when our soul is lifted up towards essences higher than science, it can separate itself from the conditions which hold it in the bondage of every-day life; it exchanges its ordinary existence for another one, it renounces the conventional habits which belong to the external order of things, to give itself up to and mix itself with another order of things which reigns in that most elevated state of being."

Why An Altered State of Consciousness?

     To evoke Higher Spiritual Powers, we place ourselves in an altered state of consciousness that activates the higher faculty described by Iamblicus above. An altered state of consciousness is necessary because only in this higher state are we able to activate clairvoyant powers such as clairsentience, sight, and clairaudience, hearing and understanding. We ultimately learn to utilize these supranormal powers even while in our ordinary state of consciousness.


"This third vision of light [anagogic] is in Elysium: where the eye of mind, no longer as heretofore looking from without inwardly, beholds its object through the atmosphere of the natural life; but contrariwise, having passed through this, purifying to the centre, is converted and raised; and, as a Unit, now regards the circumference transitively, including it as an understanding or reflector, as it were, to the focus of her light."

Mary A. Atwood, Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy, p. 237


     To achieve these powers requires that a person be initiated by someone who herself has attained them and understands how to instruct in fundamentals, train for attainment of capabilities, and to place ceremoniously or formally in an office or a position of power.


"Plato was initiated into the 'Greater Mysteries' at the age of 49. The initiation took place in one of the subterranean halls of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. The ISIAC TABLE formed the altar, before which the Divine Plato stood and received that which was always his, but which the ceremony of the Mysteries enkindled and brought from its dormant state. With this ascent, after three days in the Great Hall, he was received by the Hierophant of the Pyramid (the Hierophant was seen only by those who had passed the three days, the three degrees, the three dimensions) and given verbally the Highest Esoteric Teachings, each accompanied with its appropriate Symbol. After a further three months' sojourn in the halls of the Pyramid, the Initiate Plato was sent out into the world to do the work of the Great Order, as Pythagoras and Orpheus had been before him." 5




Notes:

1 As defined in Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition

2 Incantation: enchantment, use of spells or verbal charms spoken or sung as a part of a ritual of magic, a written or recited formula of words designed to produce a particular effect [Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition]

3 Numen: a spiritual force or influence often identified with a natural object, phenomenon, or place
How did "numen," a Latin term meaning "nod of the head," come to be associated with spiritual power? The answer lies in the fact that the ancient Romans saw divine force and power operating in the inanimate objects and nonhuman phenomena around them. They believed that the gods had the power to command events and to consent to actions, and the idea of a god nodding suggested his or her awesome abilities--divine power. Eventually, Latin speakers began using "numen" to describe the special divine force of any object, place, or phenomenon that inspired awe (a mystical-seeming wooded grove, for example, or the movement of the sun), and "numen" made the semantic leap from "nod" to "divine will or power." English speakers adopted the word during the 1600s.

4 The SACRED is that which is the object of veneration and awe. The term comes from the Latin sacer meaning restricted or set off. A person may be designated as sacred, and so can an object or a place which is regarded as extraordinary, dynamic, magical, or unique.

5 In his book The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall says that a manuscript by Thomas Taylor contained the remarkable paragraph quoted above.





Reference:

  • Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism -- Anyone genuinely interested in mysticism will want to read Underhill's excellent book. Though Underhill's bias of Christian orthodoxy sometimes colors her discussion, in general her book is thoughtful and beneficial.

  • There are countless phony shamans and gurus who write unreadable books on the mystical life. Among the more prolix and syncretistic is Iona Miller.