May 23, 2024

The upside of demon worship in creativity


Although inspiration has received little theoretical or empirical attention within psychology, there are researchers who have boiled it down to a science.

They created this tool to measure the frequency with which a given person experiences inspiration in their daily lives. Now, the test itself is fairly straightforward. People are asked:

1. Do you encounter or experience things that inspire you to take action?

2. How often does this happen? And how deeply or strongly?

What’s interesting about their theory is, inspiration is said to be predominately a function of evocation. That it comes spontaneously without direct intention. When we’re inspired, it feels like something that happens to us, rather than something that we choose or plan to experience.

And this facet of inspiration is undeniable. Anyone who’s spent any time doing creative work will tell you, sometimes, it just happens. The ides comes out of thin air and before you know it, you’re riding the thing like a longboard on a ten foot swell.

Leonard Cohen, the zen poet songwriter who always had a wonderful way with words, famously said that if he knew where the good songs came from, he’d go there more often.

But that’s precisely the challenge with evocation. Due to the ephemeral nature of the exchange, people might feel helpless to become inspired, considering the spontaneous nature of the process.

In my experience,  contrary to what the research indicates, evoking doesn’t have to be the sole path to getting inspired. There is another option most people overlook that puts substantially less pressure on both ourselves and the muse.

Rather than only evoking, we can also start invoking.

These two words might be confusing because they sound similar when we say them aloud. But their meanings are nuanced enough, that it’s worth teasing out the distinction.

If we say inspiration is invoked, that implies we actively and intentionally summon or call forth it from within ourselves. We consciously tap into our own inner resources to locate it. It’s inside out rather than outside in.

Which isn’t more or less potent of a motivating force, it’s simply different. Anyone who has spent any time doing creative work will also tell you that sometimes, you have to just make it happen.

Recently, I was googling about the difference between evoking and invoking, and I stumbled across a group of individuals who take the idea very seriously.

Demon worshippers.

The people who practice occult, satanic and other dark practices. They believe demons are nonhuman, separable souls, or discarnate spirits which have never inhabited a body. And that all affairs of the universe are supposedly under the control of spirits.

And by the way, not all of these spirits in various cultures are seen as malevolent. Many are regarded as neutral or benevolent. But what I found fascinating was this beautiful relationship humans have with such spirits. In demonolatry, spirits are said to be invoked, rather than evoked. Their power is called upon by request, not by command.

It’s somewhere between casting spells and praying. There’s one thread on a demonolatry message board that made the distinction as follows.

Invoking means allowing the energy that you have essentially linked yourself with inside of your body. It’s all about the intention of letting inspiration happen. You permit the demon’s energy to permeate your body, mind and spirit. Whereas evocation, or summoning the energy outside of yourself, is allowing the being to manifest before you.

This approach is not as rigorous or strict for either party. The summoner is not obliged to sacrifice anything, and the spirit is not obliged to follow through exactly with its promise either.

Are you practicing both? How might you become more inspired by embracing both evoking and invoking?

Through invocation’s embrace, spirits draw near, inspiration awakened, let creativity appear.

That inspiration blossoms, a radiant bloom, as their energy courses, dispelling gloom.

Not by command, but through humble request, let the gifts of creativity be manifest.

Hail satan.

How often and intensely do you encounter or experience things that inspire you to take action?