The Goetia is one of my favorite books involving magick and invocation, but when I read Crowley's "The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic" essay in the beginning of the edition of the Goetia I have, I was a bit confused by this:
"The spirits of the Goetia are portions of the human brain.
Their seals therefore represent methods of stimulating or regulating those particular spots (through the eye)."
What he means here is that the seals given are a type of visual trigger, meant to facilitate the traits of the corresponding spirit in your own mind.
He goes on to say: " "The Spirit Cimieries (66th spirit) teaches logic," what I mean is: "Those portions of my brain which subserve the logical faculty may be stimulated and developed by following out the processes called 'The Invocation of Cimieries.' "
I'm interested in the use of the term "invocation" here, because if the Spirits are meant to be metaphors for parts of the mind/brain, then why not evoke them instead? My theory is that by externalizing them in the form of a summoning, it makes them easier to comprehend with the more shallow portions of our consciousness, meaning their traits are able to be more easily used at will. What do you guys think?
He explains further: "Solomon promises us that we can (1) obtain information, (2) destroy our enemies, (3) understand the voices of nature, (4) obtain treasure, (5) heal diseases, etc. I have taken these five powers at random; considerations of space forbid me to explain all.
(1) Brings up facts from the sub-conscious.
(2) ... to realize the illusion of duality, to excite compassion... (... the world of Magic is a mirror, wherein who sees muck is muck.)
(3) A careful naturalist will understand much from the voices of the animals he has studied long. Even a child knows the difference of a cat's miauling and purring. The faculty may be greatly developed.
(4) Business capacity may be stimulated.
(5) Abnormal states of the body may be corrected, and the involved tissues brought back into tone, in obedience to currents started from the brain."
What do you guys think of this explanation? I'm on the fence because Crowley's work with the Goetia is a translation, and an interpretation somewhat. I do not know if the original literature says anything about the spirits being portions of the brain. How do you feel about his assessment that it's all psychological? Some practitioners of magick will tell you it's all psychological (subjective), but there are older beliefs which state that there is inherent (and separate, objective) consciousness/energy/whatever in natural materials and in realms apart from our own.
I did attempt the invocation of Agares (2nd spirit) because "He teaches all Languages or Tongues presently," and I was hoping to improve my language skills -- which I have to say I did notice an improvement in. From my experience I can agree that it was a subjective stimulation/opening of a portion of my brain. BUT, almost all of the descriptions of the spirits have details that seem to have absolutely no purpose if it's all in my head; like, physical descriptions, various mounts, shapeshifting, scents, voices, etc. The only reason I can think of at the moment is that these descriptions -- if it is all subjective -- are meant to improve and strengthen the Creative visualization during the ritual.
I know, a rather long post, but I'd appreciate any opinions and ideas. Basically, what I want to know: Are the spirits separate entities, or metaphors?