Evocation of Ophiel
It was about six weeks later that I conjured the Mercury spirit Ophiel. The way I performed this ritual, with very few adjustments, became my standard operating procedure for the rest of the Arbatel Project.
I would start by using a wand to draw the circle around my working space, employing a visualization described in an essay by Donald Tyson. Though I recommend reading the entire article, the essence I drew from it is the following.
I visualize the crown energy as a ball of light above me. The idea of an energy center that takes the form of a ball of white light above one’s head is a fairly universal symbol that cuts across many different cultures. It has many different names and is employed in many different ways. In his book Healing Meditations, Tulku Thondup refers to it as “the source of power,” and describes very specific techniques for drawing this power down into the body for various purposes, especially healing. In his hands-on books of practical mysticism, Joseph Weed refers to this luminous sphere as “the double” (I suspect this name refers to the Egyptian concept of the astral body, or the “ba”) and also gives a variety of techniques — for everything from influencing other people to gaining artistic inspiration — based on drawing this light downward and directing it with the mind. So, rather than performing a full-blown LBRP, I visualize the light descending from this sphere into my heart. Once my heart is charged, I send the light out through my right arm into my wand, then draw the circle of psychic energy, clockwise, with the tip of the wand.
Once the circle is established, I invoke the divine. I have a prayer of my own composition to “God Almighty” that really whips me into an electrified awareness of the presence of the divine. Over the years, my prayer to the divine has changed as my concept of God changes. I occasionally realize that the prayer I am using doesn’t pack the punch it used to. That’s time to contemplate my current understanding of God, and to compose a prayer that expresses that understanding. For the time being, my prayer to the “Almighty” still gets me properly “enflamed.”
Once I get that vibration established, it’s time to get to the business at hand. While maintaining the feeling that I am surrounded by the purifying and sanctifying presence of the Most High, I begin to focus on the target spirit. Before each of these evocations I created a simple talisman on heavy poster board, consisting of a large rendering of the spirit’s sigil, surrounded by an appropriate geometrical polygon in the fitting color. I also prepared a colored candle of a fitting color. These served as the focus.
The Arbatel claims that the names of the spirits are not vitally important, and seems to emphasize the spirit’s sigil and its office (that is: its particular duties in this world). For this reason, my method was to light the spirit’s candle, and then gaze fixedly at the sigil, allowing it to fill my mind, and dismissing all other thoughts that would arise. Occasionally I would close my eyes and see the sigil in my mind’s eye. Then I would begin to speak to the spirit.
I don’t feel I need to go into detail about how I talk to the spirit. I will only say that I do it by outline, and not by script. I have a list of keywords to remind me of all the things I want to cover, but I improvise the words as I go along. If you are a solitary magician, you simply have to experiment around with this and see what feels right to you. What I have read in the works of Rudolph Steiner on the subject of angels has led me to understand that, since spirits don’t have ears, they don’t really hear us speaking. What they do hear is the thoughts we form as we speak. For that reason, I pay special attention to making sure I am thinking the meaning of my words as I say them. And even if they can hear our physical words, concentrating on the meaning of what you are saying lends extra power to what you say.
By this point, I actually felt some sort of presence. The only way I can describe it is that in my psychic vision the room seemed to have an orange glow to it. There was a vibration in the room.
I delivered my charge, which was to help me master the Hungarian language. I have struggled for years with this difficult language (State Department employees get hardship pay for postings in Hungary because of the language), and I still don’t speak it as well as I think I should. Speaking languages seems to fall squarely into the domain of Mercury, in my thinking. I spoke the charge in words, and also visualized it as Hermes touching my tongue and it turning to gold. I gave a three-month deadline to see “significant and apparent progress.”
I also asked the Ophiel to “bless” the talisman bearing its sigil, so that I may have a permanent link. I asked this of all the Olympics.
Before giving the spirit leave to depart, I asked if there was anything it had to tell me. I was surprised to actually hear a voice in my mind say, ” There are many other things I can teach you. You have come to the right god (sic) for this. And there are many among my legions who are teachers. You may learn much from me.”
Then I closed and wrote my ritual record.
Evaluation: As much as I felt more presence during the ritual, the results were so-so. I did my part of the work and began actively studying again by downloading texts from a Hungarian lesson site, reading them, and listening to mp3s of those texts on my cell phone while commuting to and from work. I also made cards with conjugations of Hungarian verbs (Hungarian verb conjugations are a bitch!) that I carried in my jacket pocket and practiced several times a day. I noticed improvement, but I’m not sure I would call it “significant and apparent.” Was it just my own hard work that improved my Hungarian? Did I get a boost? The jury is out.