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Spirit-based Empowerment


In the old African Hoodoo (and if properly practiced and studied) the Hoodoo of today, it is understood that the power of the herbs and roots we use come from Spirit. This isn't like some sort of spiritual electricity, it is sentient and living virtue; these spirits can be communed with, and propitiated to do the work for us.

It's worth noting that Spirit empowers more than plants; they empower minerals, words, they can empower methods. There is precedent for this in Western Magic as well.

In my own book (Kameothic Internal Alchemy) I give my small Ordo's ( the Ordo Octopi Nigri Pulveri, not the Golden Dawn) method of Solomonic-based healing magic that uses the Spirits of the Deacons/Faces (for example, the First, Second, and Third Faces of Aries all have a particular Spirit, from whom certain effects might be had)  to create cures for ailments. The methods given in the Solomonic text would be completely ineffectual without the spiritual empowerment; for example, one method involves writing a word on a piece of paper and laying it across the forehead, or somesuch, to cure an ailment. This done without first creating a relationship with the Spirit of the Deacon to whom the method is associated is a waste of time and worse than useless. The method given in the text is a key the Spirit gave to the original author, and it opens the door to the Virtue of the associate Spirit.

If the Spirit isn't communed with first, you open the door to find nothing behind it. This is especially true of empowered methods, in my experience. You can get by without making much effort to commune with the Plant-Spirits because the virtue is intrinsic to the plant; of course you'll get much better results if you develop a relationship with each plant's Spirit. Methods that connect to the power of a Spirit using ritual and abstract movement or sound to accomplish a task require that first that Spirit be evoked and a relationship created. You couldn't use my name as a reference if we hadn't worked together, for example, and my authority would be useless in getting what you wanted accomplished (in this case a job).

One of my students asked me whether he needed to evoke the Spirit before attempting the healing method given in our manual, and I thought it useful to discuss in general. I hope all are well!



  1. Care VH Fr AIT,

    Thanks for this post. Once again you have hit the nail on the head and articulated it all very well. Relationship is the key. And I would go further and state GOOD relationship. Plant based magic without relationship, I feel, will only provide virtue up to certain inner levels. Deeper levels are only possible via relationship.

    There is an often quoted statement by WA Ayton of the original HOGD, "I hope you never invoke spirits—that is a very dangerous thing to do. I am told that even the planetary spirits turn upon us in the end."

    This seems to have been, and often still is, the prevailing attitude in some magical circles. I think it is borne out of people forming the wrong type of relationship with the inner beings - that based on human/magician domination not healthy, respectful relationship. If Ayton and others had approached the spirits in a different manner they would never have feared them "in the end". :)



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