Invoking with Computers

Invocation in Technomancy 101 means to call an occult entity into the sorcerer’s body or personal space, typically that she may identify with said entity so as to act as it or allow it to act through her.1 Some examples of magical (and magico-religious) invocation include Assumption of the Godform, Drawing Down the Moon, the Bornless Ritual, and possession (being “ridden”) by the Lwa.

The mask conceals the wearer’s ego or identity while signifying the persona (πρόσωπον) of another. [3PC]

The role of computers and computational media here is typically to assist the technomancer in becoming invoked or to provide interactions for her while she is invoked. Regarding the latter, many of the projects for divination or enchantment previously shown may be employed, e.g., one might take on a Martial persona for interacting with the SigilShooter project, or invoke the goddess Eris before consulting the AppleOfDiscord.

Responsive Environments

When invoking, it is common to adorn the ritual space with signs appropriate to the entity or state being called, which may be glyphs, sigils, or seals; colors or lighting; sounds or music; scents; &c. These function as reminders, anchors, triggers, or inducers of the state the sorcerer desires to invoke. In other words, she rearranges her space to set the mood of the invocation, matching the physical space she occupies to the mental space of whatever shall occupy her. If she is invoking an Egyptian deity, e.g., the magician might fill the space with kyphi smoke and motifs of ancient Egypt.

“Because the cthonic mind appears to be the powerhouse of sorcery, perhaps sorcery would be more effective if the cthonic mind took over, possessed the sorcerer, and performed the incantation itself in the person of a daimon whose characteristics are appropriate to the spell.”—J. Finley Hurley, Sorcery [3PC]

Within the theatre of magic, computers may coordinate lights, sounds, images, texts, &c., pertaining to the technomancer’s invocation, altering her environment at appropriate moments via timers, sensors, and switches. Here are just a few things you could do with Scratch’s PicoBoard (e.g.):

  • The sound sensor can detect whether or not you are speaking, chanting, singing, or screaming.
  • The light sensor can detect the ambient light level of the room and so trigger something to occur when the lights are turned on or off. It can be paired with a flashlight or laser-pointer to make a simple motion detector that is triggered when something moves between the sensor and the light source.
  • Coupled with force-sensitive resistors or pressure sensors, the resistance sensors can detect where you are standing or whether or not you are seated, kneeling, &c.

You could go much further than that and program Scratch to respond to your neuroelectrical activity while invoked (using an EEG headset), but even if all you have is available to you is a webcam with its built-in microphone, you can design interesting interactions with Scratch’s sound and video sensing blocks.

Recommended Reading

If you are new to magical invocation, here are a few resources to start you out:

  • “Kali in the Disco” in Phil Hine’s Condensed Chaos (New Falcon version), and his chapter on “Invocation” in Part 2 of Prime Chaos
  • Philip H. Farber’s Brain Magick contains several invocation exercises anyone can do, and which work especially well with technomancy
  • “Spirits of Nature” and “Waking the Beasts” in Jan Fries’s Visual Magick
  • Ecstatic Trance: New Ritual Body Postures by Felicitas D. Goodman and Nana Nauwald
  • Acting and Singing with Archetypes by Janet B. Rodgers and Frankie Armstrong

  1. The words invocation and evocation are often used interchangeably and sometimes conflated with incantation. The distinction between invocation-as-calling-in and evocation-as-calling-forth, and the association of the former with deities and the latter with demons, are popular conventions in contemporary magic, but there are many ways to experience or interact with Other(ness), and some may transgress the usual categories.