QUOTE(Umbra Euri @ May 13 2009, 11:53 PM)
There is no need to be afraid of ANY spirit, sure some will tease you, but they all mean very well for everyone, since we can offer each other something.
There are two essential, primal forces in the universe situated, as it were, just below that primal vivifying force which defies all category, and these are the forces of expansion and contraction. All other forces of all other levels, energetic, material, spiritual, etc., manifest from this initial duality.
Just as there is good will in creation, there is ill will. Just as there is charity, there is greed. As there is love, so is there hatred. Although these words describe to us actions and emotional states of being, that is only how we experience them, and those feelings are not the entirety of the actual force as it might be understood to be a 'whole' thing.
I am saying, although they may be abstracted to a greater degree than what we understand them to be, these 'emotional' archetypes exist on all levels.
There certainly are reasons to be afraid of some spiritual forces out there. For every force that want to help you and have a symbiotic relationship, there is exactly one other parasitic force that wants to harm you. We can call it good and evil if that helps classify it, but it's more of a cosmic scope than just those words convey, and in all reality it is simply the nature of creation.
As Bym suggests, there are different kinds of spirits, and what you are talking about is a particular 'bandwidth' if you will, of spiritual beings who perhaps in a time before history were either discovered or made themselves known and entered into symbiosis with mankind (on a cognizant level, as opposed to the natural symbiosis we -should- have with all of the natural forces, whether aware of them or not).
And your reference to the 'mounting' of a spirit, is exactly the point i made before about differences in terms based on traditional views of magical operations. Strictly speaking, mediumship of that sort falls squarely into the category of invocation. The spirit is invited or enticed to enter the individual's sphere of influence, in this case their body, in order to speak or perform some task. There are degrees of invocation just as there are degrees of evocation, but any kind of willful possession is invocation according to the definition, as opposed to abstracted notions of those same words. Words are defined as they are for this very reason.
Interestingly, speaking of mixing traditions, one of the seals of the 72 goetic demons, actually a few of them if I remember correctly, are strikingly similar to the symbols of the Loah. Equal emphasis is placed on precisely constructing these symbols as well. I believe there are actually images up on SM here somewhere... the initial hypothesis was, I believe, that as solomon had many wives from many different regions and subsequently many different cultures, he co-opted a large number of their native gods/demons/spirits when initially authoring and theoretically binding said beings into the brass vessel.
That he did this is of course speculation, although the chances of developing so similar a set of seals (it is altogether possible that whatever form of divination or instruction he took, supposedly of divine origin, simply informed him of this seal without any prior knowledge of it's inclusion among the Loah) is slim to none, if not outright unthinkable.
It is for confusion of terminology and cultural 'twists' on procedure, as well as the often apparently
irreconcilable differences in symbolism and tradition that I place so much emphasis on the underlying structure. If we momentarily abandon the mythology and folklore of a tradition long enough to look at it objectively in terms of mechanics, then we are able to see the similarities between two traditions.
Unfortunately, many traditionalists get caught up in the symbol and story of their tradition, and never spend the time to examine the deeper elements of function behind their own magic. This is lack of awareness is the same condition that separates religions and makes magical systems in general incompatible.
In Vodou, that possession which you call invocation is indeed evocation. You see, we know that what makes us different from spirits is, aside from their ability to affect our world much more than we can theirs, is that we have physical bodies. They cannot manifest into some random shape in front of you all of the sudden. They can show up in various forms of animals, signs. omens, etc but that is something a little different.
Do you imagine that on their level, two spirits are immaterial to one another? Where you say that they do not have bodies, I would say that the form they exist in is
a body, and that those spirits have very physical bodies in the various natural phenomenon that they ultimately manifest.
Other things that make spirits different from us is the mode of their consciousness. One spirit is not all powerful, and different spirits are called on for different causes for the very reason that what we talk to when we talk to these spirits is the conscious element of a structure that can only act within certain limitations. For instance a human does not have wings or an aerodynamic body and therefore cannot fly without some external influence. The structure alone is not enough to accomplish it. The structure aspect of spirits is more abstract primarily because we cannot directly observe it as a whole (such as an entire weather system viewed as a structure, rather than viewed in terms of its effects).
For that matter, our actions here in the material world have a direct impact on the non-physical worlds surrounding ours. All of creation is reciprocal in this way. And as for manifesting, while their shapes are usually not random at all but consistent and ultimately symbolic of their nature and the actions they take as we can comprehend them, once given the necessary materiale as a would-be 'body' they can and do manifest 'all of a sudden'. They also communication through signs and omens but as you say, this is a little different.
If you look at the mechancis of how these various worlds fit together and how energy moves between them, all of the things that a spirit can and will do, and the conditions under which these various things can be done, makes perfect sense, to the point that you do not have to be told many of the things that they can and cannot do, because they become self evident. You do not have to be told, for instance, that water must be held in a cup or other vessel, if you already understand what what is and what its structure imposes on it as a substance.
As I intimated before, the difficulty in comparing traditions comes not from the inherent uniqueness of the systems, but in the tendancy for human beings to view something in terms of what it appears to be rather than what it ultimately is. We judge people based on the appearances, their views and opinions, even their deeds, when in reality they are none of these things. Anything else is the same but to various other degrees of simplicity and complexity. When we expose the skeleton, that is the only time we can really observe what is really happening and learn the universal principles, as distinct from the traditional principles.
Attempting to draw this conversation back on track, the point of this discussion of structure is just this: The original suggestions I made were not ethnocentric, culturally biased, or otherwise suggestive of any kind of superior tradition in any way. The material I suggested and the course of action to be taken with them, is a suggestion to endeavor to learn about the underlying principles of magical mechanics. Then, it does not matter what tradition or 'story' one wishes to paste over those mechanics, they will be understood and any tradition can be applied when the proper story is told in order to enact them. There comes a point when one does not need a story to enact those principles. Until then, one tradition is as good as any other. My intention was to help Davisx begin a process of apprehension of those principles, in order to lay the solid foundation for his foray into evocation. All of the suggested materials and procedures were so pointed out because they are based in mechanical - and yes, 'western' - views which tend to be easier to apprehend than the mythologies of many, shall we say, 'non-western' traditions. The principles and mechanics are the same, because they are universal and all traditions adhere to them; of this there can be no question, because we're talking about the underlying structures which cause things to act as they do in their proper way, not the various disguises those principles are assigned through symbolism and storytelling. The Golden Dawn is as much a Story used to enact these principles as is Voudoun, Santaria, Shamanism, and any other tradition - they are all equally valid, and in a sense invalid, at the same time.
The thing which groups this study of structural principles into the category of 'western' vs. 'non-western' is simply that the 'west' has a historical record of viewing and dealing with the universe in mechanical terms, which is not ultimately different than the eastern view - its merely a difference of perspective; in the west we view the 'machine' from the outside, and in the east they view it from the inside as one part looking at the others. Both are correct and they are complementary.