On Calling Spirits


Attrib. Cornelius Agrippa

If you would call any evil spirit to the Circle it first behoveth us to consider and to know his nature, to which of the planets he agreeth, and what offices are distributed to him from the planet.

This being known, let there be sought out a place fit and proper for his invocation, according to the nature of the planet, and the quality of the offices of the same Spirit, as near as the name may be done. For example, if his power be over the sea, rivers or floods, then let a place be chosen on the shore, or so of the rest.

In like manner, let there be chosen a convenient time, both for the quality of the air--which should be serene, quiet and fitting for the Spirits to assume bodies--and for the quality and nature of the planet, and so, too, of the Spirit: to wit, on his day, noting he time wherein he ruleth, whether it be fortunate or unfortunate, day or night, as the stars and Spirits do require.

These things being considered, let there be a circle framed at the place erected, as well for the defence of the invocant as for the confirmation of the Spirit. In the Circle itself there are to be written the general Divine names which do rule the said planet, with the offices of the Spirit himself; and the names, finally of the good Spirits which bear rule and are able to bind and constrain the Spirit which we intend to call.

If we would further fortify our Circle, we may add characters and pentacles agreeing to the work. So also, and within or without the Circle, we may frame an angular figure inscribed with such numbers as are congruent among themselves to our work. Moreover, the operator is to be provided with lights, perfumes, unguents and medicines compounded according to the nature of the Planet and Spirit, which do partly agree with the Spirit, by reason of their natural and celestiall virtue, and partly are exhibited to the Spirit for religious and superstitious worship.

The operator must also be furnished with holy and consecrated things, necessary as well for the defence of the invocant and his fellows as to serve for bonds which shall bind and constrain the Spirits.

Such are holy papers, lamens, pictures, pentacles, swords, sceptres, garments of convenient matter of colour, and things of like sort.

When all these are provided, the master and his fellows being in the Circle, and all those things which he useth, let him begin to pray with a loud voice and convenient gesture and countenance. Let him make an oration unto God, and afterwards entreat the good Spirits. If he will read any prayers, psalms or gospels for his defence, these should take the first place.

Thereafter, let him begin to invocate the Spirit which he desireth, with a gentle and loving enchantment to all the coasts of the world, commemorating his own authority and power. Let him then rest a little, looking around him to see if any Spirit do appear, which if he delay, let him repeat this invocation as before, until he hath done it three times.

If the Spirit be still pertinacious and will not appear, let him begin to conjure him with the Divine Power, but in such a way that all the conjurations and commemorations do agree with the nature and offices of the spirit himself.

Reiterate the same three times, from stronger to stronger, using objurgations, contumelies, cursings, punishments, suspensions from his office and power and the like.

After all these courses are finished, again cease a little, and if any Spirit shall appear, let the invocant turn towards him, and receive him coureously and, earnestly entreating him, let him require his name. Then proceeding further, let him ask whatsoever he will.

But if in anything the Spirit shall show himself obstinate or lying, let him be bound by convenient conjurations, and if you still doubt of any lie, make outside the Circle, with the consecrated Sword, the figure of a triangle or pentacle and compel the Spirit to enter it. If you would have any promise confirmed upon oath, stretch the sword out of the Circle, and swear the Spirit by laying his hand upon the Sword.

Then, having obtained of the Spirit that which you desire, or being otherwise contented, license him to depart with courteous words, giving command until him that he do no hurt.

If he will not depart, compel him by powerful conjurations and, if need require, expel him by exorcism and by making contrary fumigations.

When he is departed, go not out of the Circle, but stay, making prayer for your defence and conservation, and giving thanks unto God and the good angels. All these things being orderly performed, you may depart.

But if your hopes are frustrated, and no Spirit will appear, yet for this do not despair, but leaving the Circle, return again at other times, doing as before.

And if you shall judge that you have erred in anything, then you shall amend by adding or diminishing, for the constancy of reiteration doth often increase your authority and power, and striketh terror into the Spirits, humbling them to obedience.

Hence some do use to make a gate in the Circle, whereby they go in and out, which they open and shut as they please, and fortify it with holy names and pentacles.

This also we are to take notice of, that when no spirits will appear, but the master, being wearied, hath determined to cease and give over, let him not therefore depart without licensing the Spirits, for they that do neglect this are very greatly in danger except that they are fortified with some sublime defence.

Oftentimes also the Spirits do come, although they be not visible (for to cause terror to him that calls them) either in the thing which he useth, or in the operation itself. But this kind of licensing is not given simply, but with a kind of dispensation with suspension, until they shall render themselves obedient.

When we intend to execute any effect by evil Spirits where an apparition is not needful, this is to be done by making the required instrument or subject of the experiment itself, whether it be an image, a ring, or a writing, any candle, character or sacrifice, or anything of the like sort.

The name of the Spirit is to be written thereon, with his character, according to the exigiency of the experiment, either writing with blood or using some perfume agreeable to the Spirit, making with frequent prayers to God and the good angels before we invocate the evil Spirit, and conjuring him by the Divine Power.