Devi recently made a good post about the important skill set she suggests one should acquire before evoking anything. Not much can be said against this approach - it's a measured, sensible way of going about this business of conjuring up spirits. Rufus Opus responds to some of Devi's points and the essence of what he is getting at, I think, is that whilst all these skills are of course very good and useful to have - that one should not have to jump through too many hoops before one gets started conjuring. I think he is right. It's possibly a tad over cautious, and there is something highly instructive about burning your fingers. Once you have mistakenly called the wrong spirit and have it mess your life up for a few months and had to deal with getting its influence detangled from everything, you know that you really are getting some valuable on-the-job training. Sometimes stuff going wrong is the best thing that can happen - because, dammit, at least something is happening!
However, Rufus slips in something stupid that truly annoys me:
Spiritual Cleansing is a nice thing to know how to do, but once you figured out how to light a sage bundle and waft its smoke around, you've done enough to start conjuring. The floor washes and baths and such are nice things to know about too, but if you can sprinkle Holy Water, you've got the same thing. Pretty much.
PUH-lease, dude. Haitian houngans, santeros, paleros, rootworkers and south african sangomas to name a few (who routinely make use of holy water btw) all, without exception, use floor-washes and baths extensively in their work - for a very good reason. Do you honestly think that if sprinkling a bit of holy water around and waving a sage bundle would do it, they wouldn't? Have you ever done an actual house cleansing the traditional way with washes? Do you have any idea how much work it is?! It takes a good few hours in an average home - it's exhausting and onerous, to say the least. Getting up before sunrise for days on end to do baths, similarly, is tough going. There is one very good reason that so many practitioners from the living traditions of the world go to the trouble: there is no substitute.
It was being done for millennia in africa and egypt as part of an ancient unbroken tradition before the Goetia was a twinkle in Solomon's eye. Modern solomonic magicians would do well to look to these living spiritist traditions to inform their own practices, rather than dismiss tried and tested cleansing techniques out of hubris. Spiritual baths and washes are the corner stone of my spiritual work and I neglect these at my peril. What's more is that there is plenty of evidence to support that in solomonic magical genre that 'ablutions' were of great importance.
Sage and a few drops of holy water!!? Sheesh, remind me to never ask for your help to drive out evil spirits...