Code Switching: A Ceremonial Magician Learns to Call Greek Gods

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Vibration and Speaking Names Powerfully

One of the keys to getting the rituals of the Golden Dawn to work is vibration.

“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.” — The Kybalion.

Vibration was taught to me in two ways. In the Golden Dawn order I was a member of for a time, it was straight up monotone extonation, held out for a full breath, done so that it resonates through the head and chest. Later, when I began to work with people who were more Regardie influenced, it had a tune. The names of power were truly sung, rather than being monotone.


Both ways work well, and I continue to use that method with Hebrew divine names as well as Egyptian ones.

However, as I began to craft rituals based or Ceremonial Magic principles which drew from Hellenic myth, vibration did not quite go as expected…

Thenea: (sign of the enterer) HER-MES


Hermes: Bf… kh… :::snork::: BWAHAHAHA!! Zombie priestess! Heeheehee! Naw I’m cool. I’m cool. I’m sorry. Please, by all means, continue…

Thenea: (Sign of the enterer) KRIOPHOROS

Hermes: (Sign of the enterer) BRAAIINS

Thenea: Damnit Hermes! (as I crack up laughing)

Powerful technique or no, having the god I was calling laugh at me kind of robbed the ritual of its gravitas. I had to find a way to speak names powerfully, without vibration.

Inspiration for what to do instead was found, as usual, in the unlikeliest of places. One night, I was spelunking through what you might call, “the edges of the internet.” It’s a special place full of Yoai Fanfic involving characters from Doctor Who translated into My Little Ponies, cartoons of centaur women with more than one set of boobs feeding each other fried chicken, and photos of dread diseases and surgeries that prove the existence of a malevolent creator deity through their cruel and shocking absurdity. You have all been there, or some variant of there, I am sure.

What I found on that day was a phenomenon of children posting transformation spells on YouTube. The videos had titles like, “How to become a Unicorn — FOR REAL,” and contained cute, precocious kids between the ages of 7 and 12, telling the viewers how to perform spells to change themselves into everything from a mermaid to a vampire.

One of the little girls had, to my perception, bloody NAILED a telesmatic image (or godform) of a werewolf (Sadly, I searched for the video but could not find it again). She looked wild and fierce. She was probably 8. Like many of the other videos, she recited a spell, and gave instructions for doing the spell under the full moon.

She further advised: “You can’t just say it in a normal tone of voice.” Then, she proceeded to describe the exact tone of voice to use, in order to make a spell, any spell, actually work. “Think about the tone of voice you use when you ask your parents for something you really, really want.”

Of course! She was asking Mother Moon for help with the transformation. It then occurred to me that a ritual could be powerful without vibration, provided that the names were spoken with the right tone of voice, and moreover, the right emotional content.

I tried the same ritual again, dropping the vibration, and instead speaking the names in either a seductive whisper, or a low, conspiratorial tone of voice, depending on whether I meant to be calling Hermes in his rustic fertility deity aspect, or the trickster and thief.

The response was infinitely better. With experimentation, I discovered that Ares preferred, by contrast, his names to be pronounced in a battle shout. The intonation needed to match the deity’s mood.

Moreover, the difference in vocal approach reflects a difference in philosophy between the Golden Dawn rituals as I learned them, and the rituals I was trying to write for the Greek gods. Whereas the goal in the Golden Dawn system might be described as becoming, becoming like, or being unified with the deity or archetype, Jesus, the rituals I am writing are really more written with the intention to bring the deities into sympathy with physical reality and the minds of the humans in question into sympathy with mythological reality.

When changing the resonance of my energy to suit a goal, vibration is perfect. When trying to coax a deity into coming closer to my reality, emoting while speaking the name seems to work better. Speaking powerfully means letting your heart speak to the deity through the syllables you are speaking.

Invocation: Pushing And Pulling

“Immortal, eternal, ineffable, and uncreated Father of all things, who art born upon the ever-rolling chariot of worlds which revolve unceasingly; Lord of the ethereal immensities, where the throne of Thy power is exalted, from which height Thy terrible eyes discern all things, and Thy holy and beautiful ears unto all things hearken, hear Thou Thy children, whom Thou didst love before the ages began…” — From The Prayer of the Salamanders

When you want a force or an energy in your working space, you need to put in there your damned self. Right?

First, you establish a flow of general energy, from above, or from above and below. Then, you use various liturgical bits to inspire your imagination, and you radiate or project that force. If you are really good, you can use said liturgical bits to shape the imaginations of others. Whether or not they are doing it consciously, they are drawing energy, too. We all do. Invocation is just about shaping that energy for the purpose at hand.

Except when it isn’t.

I can’t shape the universal energy I’m drawing into, for example, Hekate. I can make a Hekate-like, non-intelligent thought-form, but that’s it. Said thought-form won’t have her intelligence or wisdom.

For this reason, my formal invocations of deities never went so well. I was drawing energy and pushing it into the words I was speaking. It made for a great performance, but the deity didn’t really manifest any better.

It baffled me because I accidentally call deities all the time.

Thenea: Dionysos, why are you here?

Dionysos: You called me.

Thenea: Totally did not.

Dionysos: Yeah, smart ass? Then why am I here?

Thenea: I am on the toilet. Why would I call you?

Dionysos: Because there was a tragic and shocking lack of party in your bathroom, apparently.

I started tracking my thoughts moments before these accidental, non-verbal invocations.

“I am so nervous about this social interaction, I really wish Hermes was here.”

“Man, it’s too bad Dionysos and I don’t work better together.”

“I am so lonely.”

“Interesting idea. I bet Apollon would have something to say about this.”

The unifying factor in these thoughts was the emotion behind them. I felt longing or desire for the presence of the deity that, much to my surprise, showed up a moment later.

All the eloquent and well-performed words of ever aren’t going to get a deity’s attention if they aren’t genuinely wanted. If they are wanted, it seems, no words are required at all.

While I seriously need to get a handle on the “accidentally invited a deity to the shitter” problem, I have at least solved the mystery of why the style of invocation I learned was not working for me. Rather than projecting energy into my space, I need to be focusing on my passionate and ardent desire for the deity’s presence. Pulling, rather than pushing, if you will.

If I can pull off the coordination of spoken invocation and that desire, AND manage all the various traditional purifications and ritual necessities? I’ll be batting 1,000.


  1. Yep. 🙂 I had an interesting conversation with a mutual friend after a recent Heathen Midsummer’s RItual, in which he played a role. He came up to me afterwards, eyes aglow with shock and surprise, to inform me that energy serious really *is* built and the Gods really *do* show up even without complexly scripted and formal invocations. I was glad to have helped him come to that conclusion. Those of us who are historical recon types, whose culture doesn’t give us much in the way invocational practices, kinda have to make do with what we have, and love of and need for the deity is something we often have in spades.

    1. Heh. 🙂 It’s always great when a person’s perspective broadens. I am still puzzling over what the structures that channel and harness the energies we wield in a CM context might be able to add to pure and passionate devotion, if anything. More poling and trying things out and time will tell, I guess.

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