Chants, Songs, Incantations, Invokations and Evokations have been used within Paganism since the beginning of time.
Sound and music, whether by instrument or voice, are universal languages that the heart, soul and mind can all understand, assisting us to channel our emotions and our energy, as we are swept from the mundane world, riding the sounds into transcendance.
In order to use these practices in your Magickal workings you need to understand how the various forms are created and may be utilised within Pagan Practices.
Incantations.The term derives from Latin "incantare" (tr.), meaning "to chant (a magical spell) upon," from in- "into, upon" and cantare "to sing".
An Incantation can be considered to be a charm or spell created using words or sounds.
An incantation may take place during a ritual, either as a hymn or prayer, and may invoke, evoke or praise a Deity. An incantation is normally an invocation to beneficent supernatural spirits for aid, protection, or inspiration. It may also serve as a charm or spell to ward off the effects of evil spirits. In 'black' magic an incantation may be the means of summoning or materializing 'negative' energies.
In magic, occultism and witchcraft, it may be used with the intention of casting a spell on an object or a person.
Incantions are usually a brief rhyming chant or song with an insistent rhythm or other forms of repetition.
Incantations are characteristic of magical charms, curses, prophecies, and the conjuring of spirits: a famous literary example is the witches' chant, ‘Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble’, in Macbeth. Poetry that resembles such chants is called incantatory.
The term derives from the Old French 'chanter'.
Chanting is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes (e.g. woah woah) to highly complex musical structures (e.g. woah woah wo wo woah wo wo wo woah wo woah), often including a great deal of repetition of musical subphrases, such as Great Responsories and Offertories of Gregorian chant. Chant may be considered speech, music, or a heightened or stylized form of speech. In the later Middle Ages some religious chants evolved into song (forming one of the roots of Western music).
Chanting in particular is used within Primordial Wytchecraft as a way of altering the consciousness and raising psychic power or energy. It is is usually done with an accompaniment of drumming, hand-clapping, rattles and sometimes, though rarely, the use of other musical instruments.
Chants are often composed of names, words and syllables, including nonsensical ones, many consider the use of nonsensical sounds to be very potent as it frees the practitioner's mind from the words, allowing the mind to become absorbed by the power of the sound rather than focusing on the words.
Such activity provides the emotional excitation required to increase psychic power to an intense level. This becomes especially true when chanting is done within a group as each participant draws on and builds the energy of the other participants. Sometimes the excitement builds to such an intense level that a frenzied state of consciousness can occur.
Chanting can release a harmonic energy and trigger a spontaneous identification with the sacred, a dimension of consciousness characterized by a higher level of appreciation and a simultaneous sense of boundless radiance, openness, and love.
The names of Goddesses, and Gods, are, almost universally considered to make the strongest chants.Devotional chanting is a healing art, by listen and repeating aligns auditory awareness, and induces various “states” of attention and trance, dissolving boundaries, and fostering a sense of spiritual liberation.
Chanting can also be used in meditation and is frequently accompanied by the use of rosary beads which are known to have been employed in various Religions including Paganism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity.
Rosary Chants of many Witches and Neo-pagans often consist names of Pagan Deities, Blessings to the Goddess, The names of the Thirteen Moons and many other chants. The objective of these chants is to achieved an altered state of consciousness and/or to create an increase in psychic energy, such as the cone of power. Chants may also be used for other magical purposes such as healings, blessings ceremonies and vision quests.
Singing has been a part of Religious practice since humans first discovered that the sounds of a human voice was pleasant.
A combination of breath, vibration and emotion, the singing voice can affect the body and the mind more efficiently than any other form of sound. Vocal sounds are a primary source of energy, both stimulating and balancing the brain. Whether the song is a prayerful call to spirit or a comforting nonverbal melody, the slow sounding of the voice helps to restore vitality, reduce stress, and stimulate a feeling of well-being and happiness.
Song is often used in worship alongside dancing, as an estatic expression of joy, as a way of glorifying the Dieties, as an expression of release and as a way of raising energy to be used within Ceremonies and Rituals.
Songs have also been used to lament the passing of loved ones, as a way to bring about personal transformation, and simply for fun.
Singing alone can be therapeutic, it lifts the spirit, relaxes the body, allows us to transend pain, creates healing, strengthen the bonds between body and spirit. When our own voice is the source of sound, the power of musical vibrations is intensified in our body. The singing voice vibrates the skeletal structure and massages the surrounding organs and tissues. We experience music with our skin, with our bones, with our body temperature, with our pulse rates, with the ultimate aim being the experience of divine remembrance and transformation.
Singing as a group can be a very powerful experience as the mingling voices, mimics the mingling of our energies and the air resonates with sound and power. The most powerful experience of trancendance I have ever experienced, involved raising a cone of power at a gathering of over one hundred people. There was imense power that flowed through all those voices joined in a single joyful song of devotion, a very powerful experience!
Invocation and Evocation
These are two terms that are often, mistakenly, used interchangably by Pagans who do not fully understand the differences in the terms, both terms do refer to the drawing up of spirits, Deities or energy forms.
However, the difference is when one IN-vokes, we are drawing the energy within ourselves to become a part of our being.
When we E-voke we are drawing up the energy into our presence but outside of ourselves as a separate entity.
To summon within via incantations; conjure and call within for assistance, support, or inspiration.
As an example when one particpates in the Ritual of 'Drawing down the Moon', they are invoking the Goddess into them, and then they become the Goddess.
Invocation of The Morrigan
I call thee within O' Queen of Night, Mother of Darkness
To become one with my body, to become one with my spirit
Be with me now, as I your Daughter, your Priestess,
Stands beneath the Moonless sky,
To fufil my destiny, in acordance with your will
So Mote It Be!
Another example is when a person is channeling and an entity takes over the channelor's body, they have invoked that entity within them.
When invoking you open yourself to the specific entity or energy you have conjured forth, parts of which you draw within yourself by establishing a place where the invoked energy can manifest. If an inexperienced practitioner allows an invoked entity to gain full control of the practitioners form, then a possession can occur. This generally happens when a practitioner is inexperienced and had not properly prepared for the invocation and/or has called upon and entity whom they have not properly understood by detailed research.
This may also occur when people 'play' with negative entities, who take advantage of the offered form as a means of establishing themselves on the material plane, however if we embody only sacred and divine qualities by means of invocation and prayer, we are able to transcend the ordinary texture of reality, without fear of possession.
To conjure or call forth, To summon into action or bring into existence, often as if by magick.
An example is when you are standing at your altar and you ask the Goddess to be with you that night and light Her candle, you are evoking Her. You are asking Her to join you for that Rite, but you are not asking her to fill you with Her energies.
Great Mother, We call upon you tonight
To grace us with your presence
To Bless us with your power
To watch over us tonight as we perform our Rites
So Mote It Be!
By evoking energies or entities ouside of the practitioner's physical form, we are able to call upon much more powerful sources than would be able to be held within the human body. This enables the practitioner to utilise energies much greater than they can produce via energy raising or invocation.
Contrary to popular belief evoking is rarely dangerous if it is performed correctly, within a cast circle or on sacred ground, the entity or energies are then bound by the practitioner who has evoked them into being on the material plane and the power of the circle or sacred ground. However as with all Pagan practices it is not a good idea to be evoking entities or energies with a malicious intention, working pure of heart and mind ensures you are dealing with entities and energies who are less likely to cause harm.
Please Note: Caution about the dangers of these processes should be understood in the same manner as a caution on the dangers of driving a powerful vehicle. Nobody would consider giving up driving and its benefits because of the very real dangers involved. Instead, one learns how to drive, and when driving they drive with care to avoid the known dangers.