Over the weekend that's just past I had the pleasure of participating in a discussion with several respected practitioners with regard to the nature of manifestation of spirits. Those who know me, as well as those who read this blog and my other writings, may well know where I stand with regard to this issue, as I am quite outspoken on this, vocalizing clearly my contempt for the new age concept that visible manifestation does not occur and that all communication between man and spirit is done through "like, waaay cool and totally clear messages just popping right into my head man, way trippy".
This is fallacy, and is as harmful to the student of true evocation as Crowley's assertion in his preface to the Goetia that the spirits therein are akin to repressed areas of man's own psyche. On both I vehemently "call bullshit". Fr. Ashen expresses my own view on both groups quite clearly when he says "I've found the people who argue the most against physical appearance and audibly hearing the spirit are those who have never achieved it and who have never taken the time to TRY the operation as it is given in the Grimoire. Claiming something does or does not work a certain way without really having the experience in it is obviously faulty reasoning" This, for the most part, sums it up. While I am always open to modification of traditional grimoiric ceremonies, as is evident upon perusal of Crossed Keys, and have been known to substitute logically when prudent, or modify wordage, I remain in agreement with Ashen that those who decry visible appearance in favor of mental communication are, in the main, those who simply haven't tried or havent succeeded in the work as it was intended.
In fact I'm on board with almost all of Ashen's article, and so for brevity's sake I wont repeat here, instead referring you to it here.
While I support the efforts of modern practitioners to find new ways with which we can work with the spirits indexed in our classical grimoires, such as applying practices derived from the ATR's, Hoodoo and Conjure crafts (In fact I have built many techniques of theirs into my own work) I also affirm that they bear no resemblance to traditional grimoiric evocation and magick. They work, they can yield the results we desire, but they aren't examples of successful evocation.
For my own purposes, and in the path of grimoiric magick I teach, Evocation is an act of magick wherein a spirit (angel, demon, god, or what have you) is called forth to visible NOT physical appearance, where two way communication is clearly and indisputably achieved. Much of the confusion between reality and fantasy of evocation, I think, lies in the interchangeable use of the terms physical and visible when used to describe the appearance of spirits. Physical denotes flesh and blood, corporeal manifestation wherein the evoked takes on actual form and mass, and this is, at least in my own experience, not likely. VISIBLE appearance however, and even audible appearance DO happen. By this I mean the evoked spirit takes shape, not in flesh and bone, but as book 2 of the KOS says, "the spirits have neither flesh nor bone, and have to be created of some other matter". Call it ether, call it a body of light, call it what you will, but it does take shape and is perfectly visible. It wont be PHYSICAL, you wont shake hands with it and if you happen to offend it you need not fear a punch in the nose, but it will be as visible as you or me.
This I can say in 100% certainty and beyond any shadow of a doubt, because I have done it. No "expert" or authority, no matter how articulate and learned he may be, can convince me otherwise, because this is not theoretical knowledge, not presumption, but experience. For a long time, until I achieved actual appearance and manifestation, I was perfectly content with getting the results I desired, regardless that I never SAW my spirit benefactor and had no way of "knowing" that it was they upon whom I called that delivered for me. For many magicians that may remain the case throughout their lives and they may never seek further, simply because their needs are met without the appearance of the spirits. But for me and those I've taken on as students, that is just not enough.
I expand greatly on all of this in my forthcoming book, of which I've spoken before, which is at present tentatively titled "The Art of Veritable Evocation", which I have told myself each of the past 4 years would be finished by winter. I mean it this time, I promise! Maybe. Hopefully.