Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s Monday Magick Newsletter, the work of one Jason Miller.
“I feel like Servitors are the forgotten step-children of Chaos Magic. By servitor, I mean any “created entity” visualized and brought to “life” by the magician. Also called thought-forms, thralls, egregores, logismoi and probably a dozen other names. Don’t call it a Tulpa though, that’s not what a Tulpa is.
“Chaos magicians did not invent servitors of course. They didn’t invent sigils either, but like sigils, Servitors became a staple of the Chaos Magic arsenal. One of the reasons for this is that many Chaos Magicians felt that ALL spirits and Gods were essentially servitors – nothing more than whatever belef and power an individual person invested in it. So it was not unreasonable then for Servitors to take a prominent roll in that movement.
“I think its safe to say that most occultists have gotten away from thinking of spirits and gods like that. The last 20 years have seen such a return to traditionalism that people are starting to come back round again to the wild freedom of Chaos magic, but from a more animist perspective, what I like to call Chaonomism. This way of thinking acknowledges a reality to spirits beyond the mind of the individual magician. This is not to say that our experience of spirits, and their cultural appearances and stories, are not deeply affected by the human minds that perceive them, but there is a reality to them beyond what YOU think about them.
“Bottom line is the summoning the demon Marbas to give you the mechanical knowledge to fix your car is fundamentally different than visualizing The Pep Boys and saying “By the Tri-Une Power of Manny, Moe, And Jack I bring you to life that you may diagnose and fix my car problems!”
“As of this writing there are more excellent translations of Grimoires than ever before, and the popularity of Solomonic and Goetic spirit work has reached new heights. With hundreds of names and seals of actual spirits at our disposal, a perfectly valid question to ask is: why would anyone want to create a servitor anyway? After all, how could an artificial spirit created by the efforts of one magician ever match the power of a real spirit?
“It’s a valid question, and for some people a perfectly valid answer is: I wouldn’t. This is silly. Leave me alone.
“I am not here to change your mind on that. If however, you have used servitors successfully in the past, or just want to try something new, I have some thoughts….
SERVITORS ARE NOT ARTIFICIAL SPIRITS
“I think that the idea of an artificial spirit is actually pretty silly and arrogant. To think that all you need to do is visualize some creature from the D&D Monster Manual, point a wand at it, and tell it to come alive and do what you want somehow creates and programs a spirit AI is, for me, a non-starter. The height of wishful thinking.
“Yet I have done this, and so have others. So WTF is going on? Its pretty simple actually. The world is filled with awareness and life. Some formed, some formless, and some in stages in between. When you invest a fair amount of concentration and energy into making a spirit vessel, a form that reflects what you want it to do, you are making something that formless or subtle consciousness can inhabit and be patterned by. You aren’t creating an artificial spirit. You are giving a real spirit some form and direction.
“Magicians do this all the time with talismans, and spirit bottles, and pots filled with herbs and tools aimed at giving the spirit a foothold into our lives. The servitor is just starting this process in the mind, or on the astral. This in turn often is linked to a physical item such as a contract or a statue.
BUT A SERVITOR COULD NEVER BE AS POWERFUL AS A REAL SPIRIT, RIGHT?
“Let’s dispel this power idea – this is sorcery, not Pokemon. The biggest name and most powerful spirit is not always the best for the task at hand. I hear this argument when I suggest people contact and work with local spirits as well… “It can’t be as powerful as FurFur!”. Local spirits of the land you live on might be more suited to some tasks than a spirit from a grimoire. Sorcerers who feel that they need to address every petty concern to the highest, most powerful, and baddest-ass entity are suffering from both staggering self-importance and lack of understanding of how shit gets done. They are the Karens of the spirit world – they ALWAYS want to see the manager, even if someone in front of them is willing to co-operate.
“Let us also not discount the power of the human mind so easily either. While in the west we tend to view magic through the lens of theism and a spiritual hierarchy where humans are lower than the spirits and can only command them through invoking higher powers, this view is not universal. Since people are obsessed with speaking of Tibet and Tulpas it is worth noting that Ngakpas command spirits through their own realization or, failing that, the realization of some great lineage holder like Padmasambhava or Milarepa. The mental creations of the human mind can hold immense power and while the idea may be laughable or even blasphemous to someone approaching magic through the lens of western grimoires, a Servitor created in a high state of realization can indeed provide services equal to what you might expect from a traditional spirit. The key is that state of realization and the ability to tap energies and potencies accessible through such states.
IT’S NOT POWER TIM, ITS NUANCE
“People get way too obsessed with what magic is the most powerful. Its not about power, its about nuance. The question should not be “whats more powerful” but “whats best for this situation”? Here Servitors can be a distinct advantage.
“Think about it, its basically a designer entity. A Bespoke Spirit if you will. You create a form for the spirit specifically to reinforce its purpose. There is currently a servitor that I have positioned in a tree that on the road that leads to my house. It is programed to alert me with a tingle on the back of the neck every time a vehicle passes with the intent of coming to my house. I have to say, it works WAY more often than not. I sit at my desk, feel that tingle, look up from my laptop and see a truck coming with a delivery. Silly? Maybe. But its fun and potentially useful.
“Matthew Brownlee and I created a servitor to find an apartment in Philadelphia back in 1996, which it did in just a few hours. That servitor STILL is in use within the confines of Philadelphia and is wonderful at finding anything in the city from parking to sales to people. Oh yeah…that’s right, we did not feel the need to destroy it, and it did NOT suddenly turn on us and try to destroy us. From servitors, to Golems, to AI I often think that the assumption that everything we give life to will try to destroy us if we losen our grip on it, says more about the creator than the creation. It was Doctor Frankenstein that was the real monster after all, not his creation.
“Do you have something very local or very specific you want to try? Why not try your hand at a bespoke spirit? ”
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