Sometime in 1970, perhaps in the last quarter of that year, I performed an experiment in old-style ceremonial magic. This was the summoning of a "devil" by the practice of Goetic magic. Perhaps this was unwise in that it endangered a human life --- without intention, but the danger seemed real enough. The whole experience is quite a thing to remember. I knew what I was doing in theory and was safe because of that. The fellow who suggested the thing in the first place didn't know what he was in for, and he suffered some rather drastic psycho-physical changes as a result. The books I used were not very reliable, the methods incomplete and myself not sufficiently trained to perform the full evocation. None-the-less, some results were obtained; too many and too much for my accomplice. I could say that the fellow had it coming, but I should have been more careful to see if he knew his business. The whole thing would have gone well enough if he hadn't ignored the simplest of precautions. Be that as it may, I will first express my own understanding of this sort of Goetic practice and then narrate the episode.
There are many dark and destructive impulses in the depths of the human mind. Such impulses can dominate the consciousness and can penetrate a whole personality. When the personality is ruled by such downward tending impulses, the person is insane and may be said to be "possessed by a demon or devil." This "possession" is actually a psychological state and not a seizing of the mind by some external being. The effect often is such that there seems to be a distinct and evil personality in control of an otherwise normal mind. This effect has let people to assume that such things as demons and devils can push out the rightful dweller in a human body. Such demons and devils are actually personified impulses and thoughts of an incomplete and destructive nature. When this sort of demon is properly summoned into manifestation, one of these thoughts is given a limited and definite place to exist for a limited and definite time. The thought is given form in the imagination, sometimes hallucinated as a separate physical being, and dealt with conversationally. By this rather strange means, it is often possible to objectively consider and master defects and weaknesses of the spirit. Great care must be taken to limit the actions of the demon so that "possession" or obsession does not occur. There are elaborate symbolic actions and settings involved with the formal ritual evocation of such demons. When these practices are followed, the rules must be carefully observed.
Perhaps there are such things as separately existing demons, devils and angels; but, if they do exist independently from the minds of those who deal with them, that existence is a very special one. Such astral beings are pure spirit and cannot effect matter without the aid of something that is partly spirit and partly matter. The human being is both spirit and matter and can act as a go-between for such beings and the physical world. The only way a pure spirit can contact a human being is through the mind of that human. This takes place only when there is some thought in that human mind which resembles the nature of the pure spirit. Such spirits are nothing more or less than thoughts, self-existent thoughts perhaps, but thoughts and nothing more. For example, to summon a demon of concupiscence it is first necessary to have a concupiscent thought. That thought may then be elaborated into a thinking structure much like a personality. When the structure is complete enough, the demon of concupiscence is present. Pure spirits have no proper locations except where they contact a semi-material being. Such spirits are not subject in themselves to time or division. It may be possible that spirits can persist after the death of the human responsible for their physical effects, and this is one explanation behind stories of ghosts. Such an extended effect is at most a weak thing. A disembodied spirit would require the aid of other semi- material minds to remain in the time an space world. A human mind can always undo what a human mind has done. The dangers from such phenomena stem largely from ignorance and panic, two of the most terrible demons ever to afflict humanity. The actual word "demon" may signify a beneficial spirit as well as a harmful one. The "Personal Demon," "Star Demon," "Holy Guardian Angel," "Higher Self," etc. is the best and most beneficial of these personified thoughts. Many human minds long for a personal god, not the great vague thing that is the subject of most organized religion, but a little god that lives within. Such a god can be found.
The process of obtaining a personal god is often the whole aim of a religion. Most major religions are directed toward people who don't need or want such a thing as a little, inward god; but many of the mystery, occult and third world religions are just there to help provide a god or goddess to those who want to find one. The Qabalists sometimes call such a god or goddess Shechinah, and theorize a direct relationship to the Great God. The Shechinah is traditionally female, but it should perhaps be generalized as having the opposite sex from the human to whom the Shechinah is attached. This is a good idea for those who wish to obtain such an inward god. Personal gods tend to have sexual characteristics anyway, so it's a good idea to line up a personal god having sex opposite to your own. When the god and the human have opposite sexes, life is much less lonely. When people make love, their little gods make love. Such a love making is useful for sexual magick. There isn't any real dividing line between personal gods of different people. There isn't any real dividing line between a human being and the personal god of that human being. People can become one with each other through their personal gods more fully than in any other way. When personal gods can relate with one another, any human sharing becomes a loving union.