The more I work with the Gallery of Magick texts, the more I like them. But I'm seeing a lot of new members here who only work with those. I really want to encourage people to branch out and research other magical books. You will know you are no longer a complete beginner when you can read a Renaissance grimoire* and determine a practical way of working with it. Spirits can also teach you how to do this. Here are three suggestions for developing a larger repertoire:
- Take the time to learn New Avatar Power. It works! And, in spite of its simplicity, it remains a favorite. Also, it seems to have been a major influence on the GoM's approach. See if you can call up the Magical Mentor (a kind of familiar tutelary spirit) and have it teach you how to evoke the demon, Marbuel from The Black Raven. TBR is a relatively simple grimoire but challenging for beginners because the method it offers takes a lot of knowledge for granted in the operator. Many books of magic are like that. Marbuel will teach you more.
- Get McGrath's Practical Magickal Evocation. It's a tiny book put out by Finbarr and can be found everywhere. One of the spirits given there is Maseriel, the tutelary demon of the book. He has "60 servants." Each of these will teach you one valuable thing about philosophy, magic, or necromancy. But the trick is that you have to ask for this directly and you will have to do the evocation of Maseriel multiple times (which is his payment—you will discover). Write the 60 things (some long, some very short and obvious but still useful—and all personal to you) down in your magical journal. They will continue to unfold in your life as teaching tools for a very long time. After these evocations, call Maseriel again and ask him for an improved method of working with another grimoire. I suggest you choose something just out of reach in terms of your skill level. If you are a relative beginner, you might want to choose The Grimoire of Honorius or Liber Armadel.**
- Harder: get an utterly egregoric grimoire (i.e. one that is made up but that takes on its own reality through use ***) like Evoking Eternity or The Devil's Grimoire or The Gates of Dozak or The 13 Gates of the Necronomicon. It's a good beginning-to-intermediate test to see if you can make those work, because they can, but more of the burden is on you to achieve subjective synthesis (i.e. suspended disbelief ****) and then push energy into those containers. Have one of the aforementioned spirits (or, if you prefer, one of the Shem angels from GoM's 72 Angels of Magick) teach you how.
This is one of the classical ways a grimoire magician / necromancer would work—getting the spirits to teach him mysteries. It still can work that way. And you will find that your magic is a lot stronger when you have a spiritual teacher.
Hope this casts a bit more light on our shared dark path.
* You don't need to be fluent in Vulgar Latin, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew, Greek, Sanskrit, Arabic, or any of the other grimoire languages (to say nothing of Enochian) if you have an English translation. However, by looking up key words, you will develop a deeper grimoire literacy, which will make you a better magician when spirits speak in those terms. You will also have the good insights that come from learning a new language in that context. A grimoire is a world in itself and a unique perspective on the world. It is not surprising that a language is that, too.
** Not to be confused with The Arbatel of Magic, which I consider to be a more dangerous grimoire with multiple blinds that need to be taken into account on multiple levels. Leave this one aside for a while.
*** Ultimately, this describes all grimoires, but some are more obviously egregoric than others.
**** This is a term coined by the late, controversial Dr. Lisiewski. The following is his definition from Ceremonial Magic & The Power of Evocation: "Axiom 3—A state of Subjective Synthesis is produced through the conscious study, understanding, comprehension, and acceptance of the theory of all elements that compose a given magical act. As a result of this synthesis, an integrated belief system is taken up in the Practitioner's subconscious mind. This allows the individual to perform the magic and obtain the results desired from the magical act. Argument 3—I define this state of subjective synthesis as a mental process which leads to an integrated belief system. In this case, it is the Practitioner's belief system in the power of magic and in how the magic works. This belief system is held in the part of the mind below the level of conscious perception, known as the subconscious (or unconscious) mind. These ordered set of beliefs are then used by the subconscious (or unconscious) mind during the magical act." I take issue with Dr. Lisiewski's "grimoire fundamentalist" approach, but this idea is very useful, imo.