Hermetic Operation to Derive the Spirit of a Book
(Offered to Studio Arcanis from the grimoire of Silenciumetaurum.)
Why would you want to contact the spirit of a book? You can conjure the spirit to teach you more about the subject or how to understand the book’s contents. You can send the spirit forth to create changes in the world associated with the subject matter of the book. If you wrote the book, you can obtain the spirit of the book as a familiar (a pareadros) who will assist you in magical workings related to the book and its contents.
Every book in existence has a spirit that can be contacted via this technique. However, there are a few limitations. First, the book must have more than one page. It can be an electronic book or a photographed / copied book, but is best if you work with a physical book (for the same reason that having a physical “spirit house” in your chamber is a more effective way of housing the spirits than simply a piece of paper with their names and images).
Also, no book can be about “everything.” So its spirit cannot be about “everything,” either. These spirits are not generalists. They’re specialists in the subject dealt with in the book. But what about the Bible or some other spiritual book that covers the nature of the universe and creation, etc.? If you conjure the spirit of a Bible, you will not get a deity. You will get a spirit of that particular book, capable of doing the things I mentioned above. This is book magic, Hermetic study magic, and that is what this operation gives you.
What about multiple editions of the same book with different pagination, dimensions, etc.? When you do this operation, you get the spirit of a particular edition of a book. If you want to generate a grouping of related spirits who will work together, find several different editions of the same text and perform this working on each. The possibilities here are only limited by your time, energy, and inclination.
There are five parts to this magic. It can be done on any Wednesday at any time of day or night. Just be sure you have a reverential attitude toward the work because all books are holy. I will suggest some useful support texts and sites as well.
Make sure you have some scratch paper, a small square of paper for a spirit sigil, writing implements, and a straight edge on your altar. You will be making simple calculations while in a magical state / space.
Set up your magical chamber with your altar oriented toward the East. Perform your purification rites. Suggestion: Opening by Watchtower, pentagram and hexagram rituals, or simply a banishing-centering-circle casting—a physical circle is not necessary; though, you may want to light candles at the quarters and walk the circle reciting an invocation dedicated to Hermes, Mercury, Thoth, Archangel Raphael, or a demon of writing-knowledge-learning, clockwise, beginning and ending in the East. The GD’s Rose Cross ritual is also useful as a way to lightly banish and establish sacred space. If none of this makes sense, I might recommend you learn “The Egyptian Master Ritual” in David Conway’s Magic: an Occult Primer or, for minimalists, memorize and recite the general prayer, PGM XII.182-189.
Burn some frankincense or holy church incense on your altar. Optimally, you may wish to blend some Egyptian kyphi incense. The making of incense is not always practical, but it is intensely gratifying and in my opinion should be done whenever possible for a serious magical operation. I have followed the Manetho and the Edfu recipies and prefer the latter, which is described in detail by Michelle Belanger here: https://www.michellebelanger.com/incense.
When the chamber is set up and the space prepared, observe a moment of silence to collect your thoughts. Then approach your altar and take up the book in question. Smoke the book in the incense. Recite this Hermetic prayer (PGM V.459-489) and vibrate the capitalized names and words of power:
“I call upon you who created earth and bones and all flesh and all spirit and who established the sea and hung the heavens, who separated the light from the darkness, the Supreme Intelligence, who lawfully administrates all things, Eternal Eye, Daimon of daimons, god of gods, the lord of the spirits, the invariable AION IAO OYEI, hear my voice.”
“I call upon you, master of the gods, high-thundering Zeus, sovereign Zeus, ADONAI, lord IAO OYEE. I am he who calls upon you, Great God, in Syrian: ZAA-LAERIPHPHOU and you must not ignore my voice, in Hebrew: ABLANATHANALBA ABRASILOA. For I am SILTHACHOOUCH LAILAM BLASALOTH IAO IEO NEBOUTH SABIOTH ARBOTH ARBATHIAO IAOTH SABAOTH PATOURE ZAGOURE BAROUCH ADONAI ELOAI ABRAAM BARBARAUO NAUSIPH, high-minded one, immortal, who possesses the crown of the whole world, SIEPE SAKTIETE BIOU BIOU SPHE SPHE NOUSI NOUSI SIETHO SIETHO CHTHETHONI RIGCH OEA E EOA AOE IAO ASIAL SARAPI OLSO ETHOURESINI SEM LAU LOU LOURIGCH.”
The above pronunciation (including where to pause and how to breathe) should be wrestled with until it resonates with you magically. This is a key aspect of learning Hermetic magic and is not to be overlooked. This means you should work with this invocation a bit before performing the whole ritual. You will recognize some deity names and barbarous words of evocation. They all function as sonic keys and you should feel the power when you vibrate them correctly. If you don’t know how to vibrate magical words, look here: https://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2010/10/vibration-a-key-to-magick/
With the preliminaries over, proceed to Part 1.
Part 1: derive the spirit’s name. In the magical state of consciousness generated by the preliminary actions, numerologically determine the number of the book using the title. The title of the book is an expression of its inner nature. The number you derive from this is a key to this operation. I prefer the Pythagorean system; though, you may want to use western planetary letter-number correspondences or near-eastern versions (cf. Agrippa’s Three Books / Shadrach’s Occult Encyclopedia of Magick Squares). No system is more correct than the others. But the magical results will vary. Simple Pythagorean conversion is explained here: https://www.astronumero.org/numerology-charts.html
For example, if my book is Camus’ novel, The Plague, the name converts to 2+8+5+7+3+1+7+3+5 = 4+1 = 5.
Having determined the book’s inner number, you take the first letter of the first word for the first five pages (or however many pages equal the number you have found—of actual text, not front matter) and this forms the name. In my example this is: The + Perhaps + time + the + When = TPTTW. Naturally, these names will look strange and unpronounceable. But when you try to say them, you will be forced to develop a spoken version (with vowels). When I say “TPTTW,” it sounds like “Tipttiw” (TIP-TOO). From this moment on, that is how I will pronounce the spirit’s name. Write out both forms in your notes and keep them handy.
Part 2: still at your altar, derive the spirit’s sigil. Create a magic square of 5 x 5 cells. “5” to accommodate the number of letters in English (26), treating U and V as the same letter, not because the inner number in my present example happens to be 5. Fill the cells in left-to-right, beginning with the spirit’s written name (not the one spoken with vowels) and then adding the rest of the letters in English. For example:
T P W A B
C D E F G
H I J K L
M N O Q R
S U/V X Y Z
Draw the sigil of the spoken form of the name using this matrix. (See the readings mentioned above for an entire study of this form of magic.)
Part 3. Conjure. Now that you have the spirit’s name and his sigil, conjure him. If you are exhausted at this point, you are not strong enough to perform a conjuration and should close the ritual (see “closing” below). Make an attempt when you feel stronger. Otherwise, if you are still alright, copy the sigil to your small piece of paper, smoke it in the incense, and invoke:
“I do invocate and conjure thee, Oh Thou Spirit, N. of the book [title]. And being armed by the Supreme Majesty, I do call thee forth.” (Example: I do invocate and conjure thee, Oh Thou Spirit, Tipttiw, of The Plague. And being armed by the Supreme Majesty, I do call thee forth.)
At this point, you should not need an overlong conjuration. It is likely that the spirit has been taking shape somewhere nearby since you said the Hermetic prayer given above. But it’s important to follow the proper forms. If the spirit does not arrive (or does not seem to), I recommend you intone the “Spirit’s Chain” given in the Mathers-Crowley Goetia. Most spirits will show up ricky tick after that, but don’t bother burning the sigil you just derived if it still doesn’t work. If you continue to come up with nothing, the problem is with you, not the spirit. So close the ritual and try again in a week. Otherwise, there should be some form of manifestation commensurate with the strength of your psychic senses.
Part 4. Question the spirit. Ask it what it can do for you, what it can teach you. Ask how you may call it in the future and what its symbols / correspondences are. If you have a Liber Spirituum, ask for its signature. Note that if you wrote the book in question, you don’t have to do any of this. Once you conjure the spirit, it is already your familiar and you can command it right away. Write down everything in your magical record. This magic is about writing and text. So we do all of this during the ritual, which may take some time. The conjured spirit may add information as you write or ask you to write it down in a particular way. It’s good to comply with this, as there will be additional magical secrets embedded in these suggestions.
In my example, what could I do with the spirit of a famous plague novel? Well, I could ask it questions about the text itself; I could learn about the author; I could even have it investigate the subject, plagues (Covid might be part of this, by the way), and ask it to teach me magical ways of working with them. Incidentally, this will also make stichomancy with the book in question VERY POWERFUL and clear.
Part 5. License to depart and closing. The spirit of a book will nearly always be friendly. You don’t have to worry about it causing trouble, even if the book is “dark.” All spirits of texts are those of knowledge and their deepest wish is to spread their subject matter from mind to mind. So they are friendly and helpful. My license to depart is simple, but covers the usual bases nonetheless:
“Go now in peace, harming none, and be ready to come again when I call.”
In the future, when studying the book or seeking to cause changes in the world relative to the book’s subject matter, you will usually only have to utter the spirit’s name to have it manifest (but pay attention to how the spirit instructs you in this regard). You may want to Close by Watchtower or according to whatever frame ritual you use (as above).