New blog post from professional sorcerer and occult teacher Jason Miller:
There is a particular linguistic snafu that comes up occasionally in occult discussions that needs to be addressed:
Is there a difference between EVOCATION and INVOCATION and if so, what is it?
If you are an occultist that has come up since the 1980’s there is a better than even chance that you define Invocation the calling of a spirit or deity into yourself and Evocation as summoning a spirit to appear outside yourself.
The first person I ever saw make this distinction in print was Donald Michael Kraig in his opus “Modern Magic”. I don’t know if he came up with this himself or if there is an older source, but certainly this tome was practically the gold standard for ceremonial magicians in the 80’s and 90’s. Most professions and pastimes have their own lingo and definitions for things, so this is fine for people who want to use this distinction. Or rather, it’s fine as long as you know that this is not common usage, even among all magicians.
When referring to summoning conjurations, historically speaking, these words are almost interchangeable. When you summon a spirit to appear at the edge of a circle, the prayers and incantations you use can rightly be called invocations OR evocations. In fact, they are.
So does that mean that they the same?
No. Not quite.
Invocation means to “call upon“.
Evocation means “to call forth from“.
You can see this play out in how the words are used in English when not referring to a conjuration.
A politician for example might invoke the power of the state or the name of a famous figure in a speech but he wouldn’t evoke it. Certain phrases in the speech however might evoke feelings of duty, or perhaps evoke a memory of times past but it would not invoke them. The names and authority are “called upon”. The memories or feels are “called forth”. Get it?
Turning our attention back to conjurations it might be said that an evocation might invoke a lot of names in the script, but you wouldn’t say the opposite.
As far as whether you are calling a spirit or deity inside or outside yourself however, the invocation/evocation distinction doesn’t mean that unless you know that both you and the person you are using the same specialized lingo. That lingo however is not universal.
But also… it might be a false distinction anyway. Not linguistically but technically.
You have never actually experienced anything except through the lens of your own mind. In a very real way all experiences are internal.
On the other hand since we can observe our thoughts and emotions: what is doing the observing? In this way all experiences are external.
In the case of beings that are, by definition, more subtle than physical beings, perhaps this inside/outside is not a helpful distinction at all. Sometimes an evoked spirit will communicate in ways that are not strictly external, and likewise the invoked presence of a deity might manifest in signs and phenomena that is quite external.
I realize that I have cleared up almost nothing with this post, and perhaps have even muddied the waters of understanding. Good. Too many people like to pretend the world is neat and tidy and that everything fits in their clever columns. It doesn’t. Embracing that messy uncertainty is perhaps the first step to better understanding.
Check out his blog on the reg! https://strategicsorcery.net/evocation-vs-invocation/