I’ve spoken before on how, in the late 1990s and early 2000s when I began my magical career, conjuring spirits in any way was considered deeply taboo. Nothing was more taboo than the point where the lingering echoes of the Satanic panic overlapped with Neo-Pagan respectability politics: Crowley’s Goetia(1) and the summoning of demons. I, of course, confronted this taboo through juvenile art (tragically no longer extant), but I also worked very, very hard to enforce it in the magical circles in which I socialized.
So when Andrieh Vitimus proposed Beginner’s Mind as the theme of this past month’s Do Magick Challenge, the Goetia was one of the first things to come to mind. I briefly considered devoting the whole month to the grimoire, but given that I was dragging myself out of a deep depression during which I had done relatively little magic, had skipped the research month because where the fuck did August go, anyway?, and would be diving in to the challenge two days late … Yeah. That just seemed like a bad idea. Instead I set my sights lower: to conjure a single spirit from the grimoire. I, perhaps inevitably, chose Bune. I would conjure him to bring me riches. On a whim, having made the decision, I engraved his seal in brass.
In a sense, then, my first two weeks of the challenge were spent in preparation for that ritual. In addition to getting my aura back into fighting shape, I needed to decide which approach to take in the conjuration. I boiled my potentially unlimited options down to three: to perform the operation as described in the Goetia; to perform an alternate Bune ritual presented by Jason Miller(2); or to perform a ritual of my own design(3). I turned to divination to help make the decision. Drawing a card for each of the options, I got XIII Death, 0 The Fool, and 3 Disks “Work” respectively. I interpreted this to mean that the Miller rite would be my best place to start, that the work would continue freestyle, and that I would eventually conclude with the Legemeton ritual.
On Day 12 of the challenge, at the Day and Hour of Jupiter, I conjured the spirit of Bune using Miller’s rite. The ritual was very bare bones, so I made a few aesthetic alterations to account for the layout of my temple space — I made and donned the paper talisman of Bune as Miller described, and set the brass talisman in my triangle along with the obsidian sphere I use as a focus in almost all of my rituals. I then performed the rite as Miller described, and the ritual worked as promised.
The spirit’s appearance was faint, but discernable; although I did not perceive him immediately, he made his presence known before I repeated the call. I made my request of Bune – a sum of money from a certain source and within a certain time frame – and he (I believe) acquiesced. I dismissed him and my circle. I put away the brass seal in the box I bought for it. I went about my day, flush with the afterglow of successful magic.
On Day 28, Bune appeared to me during my nightly meditations. He informed me that by putting the brass seal in its box, I had limited his ability to act. To quote my original notes:
He said that I had left his seal in a box too long to accomplish the task I had asked of him. In order to procure my cash, he said, he needed his seal placed on my Jupiter altar and a candle lit for him. I considered saying no, but part of the premise of the Miller invocation I had originally chosen is that you are building a cooperative relationship with the spirits, and that request is well within the boundaries of reasonable established by my other spirit-work. I assented, and when I was done with my meditation I moved his seal and lit the candle as promised. As an act of good faith, tomorrow I will put in the order for the copper seal I promised him upon his success.
I have since made good on those promises: the seal has been moved to my Jupiterian money altar, not one but two candles have been lit for him, and the copper seal has been ordered. We’ll see how things come and go.
1 – Crowley, Aleister, and Hymenaeus Beta, eds. The Goetia: the lesser key of Solomon the King: Lemegeton–Clavicula Salomonis Regis, book one. Translated by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. 2nd ed. York Beach, Me.: Samuel Weiser, 1997. It should, I hope, go without saying that the volume is Crowley’s more by reputation than by fact.
2 – Miller, Jason. The Sorcerer’s Secrets: Strategies in Practical Magick. Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books, 2009. Pages 139-142.
3 – Such a ritual would have probably been based on the conjuration circle shown to me by the spirits of Saturn. I may yet perform it anyway.