Are altars needed for a successful evocation?

Hi, I have a question about the altar -is it it really needed when performing an evocation? I’m making my way through evoking eternity, and got to the “basic evocation” chapter in which Koetting stated that an alter should be taken into the circle so that the various items can be placed on it. I recently performed an evocation of Michael that worked very well considering it was my first evocation, and I did not have an altar, so it’s caused me to question its necessity.

I would argue that an altar’s role is to house the objects for the ritual, and therefore is not necessary, however, I noticed that Koetting does imbue the altar with a sense of omnipotence in EE, as well as the other items. Would an evocation still have the same effect if I simply had the items on the floor of the circle? Or is the altar a key part of the ritual?
Another point for me is that I often get urges to walk around the circle during rituals -weird habit but it helps me get into the tgs strangely, and an altar would evidently get in the way if it was taking up the centre of the circle.

So would an evocation still perform to such an extent if I did not have the altar, and instead had the items on the floor?

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It does not matter. I am using a plastic storage tub as my altar right now and have also used just the floor, they still come. And honestly, I only use an altar for certain rituals I never use an altar of any kind for evocation but I prefer to have a more hands on experience with my spirits. Communicating with them in a more natural way, with no boundaries between us. But that’s just me, I’m daring and I like close contact with demons so I purposefully try to speak with them in a more friendly and welcoming environment.

Do you follow EE’s methods and concencrate the tools at the beginning of every ritual? Or does that become irrelevant after the first couple of times? I definitely feel more inclined to just use the floor, I feel as if having the items closer to the circle charges them more in some way -not that the altar interferes with that, but just personal preference.

Yes u need a alter, you will need to ground your works with spirits and desires. If you are working for some time with a Spirit you will have task to ground in this world. And if your calling wealth it’s self to this world you will want to charge a coin, sigil, ect and ground it on your alter. Alters have purpose every magical operation has purpose, look at Stone and herb work!

I don’t use tools except for an occasional athame for cutting purposes. It’s not necessary at all, just tools of focus to help you remain immersed in your goal but when you can realize that immersion can be done solely within the mind, which is where your power comes from, tools become irrelevant.

I don’t see it that way raven, everything that goes on my alter is from the spirit. I treat the spirit with respect i give it space within my house. I can manifest, perform rituals and communicate without tools. It’s more then that, it’s giving ground and respect to your works.

As far as an altar grounding your Magick to the physical realm I agree with that,but I do not think that rule pertains to evocation.
An altar is used to ground your Magick if you plan on keeping the altar in it’s place such as an altar dedicated to a certain entity or other specific goals.

I’ve performed evocations while kneeling in the circle and with no tools at all.
And as RavensAscent said,it caused a strong bond between me and the spirit to the point of such a strong possession that my friend who was in the temple room with me said my entire facial structure and eyes changed as I felt the spirit descend into my crown chakra.
But I’m not saying that will happen if you don’t use a circle.During the ritual I just described possession was the objective.
But nowadays when I perform evocation I usually kneel in front of an altar set up with thing that corresponds with the spirit and place my mirror/incense on it as well.

But for evocation all you really need is the spirits sigil and an intent IMO.


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Not really. I usually just draw the sigil and sit on the floor with it, works for me.

Yes but, not having an altar with implements dedicated to the spirit does not mean you are disrespecting them. You can pay homage to these spirits in a vast amount of other ways. Most of the spirits I call on all the time, I have various other continuous means of dedication to them which they appreciate so I highly doubt they are going to slap my hand and tell me I am being disrespectful for not having a slew of idols and tools dedicated to each one of them.

And those who strive to remain below the spirits and see them as more powerful for the rest of their lives, yeah massive forms of dedication tools may be a good thing for those people but those who strive to become gods and see eye to eye with the spirits eventually, you and them as equals, having a formal dedication set up like that seems unnecessary.

If a person is truly a god (eventually) and was speaking to other beings that some consider to be gods (whether Pagan oriented or demons), would you be speaking to another god while in the presence of a shrine made out in their honor. No, you would just call them and speak to them because they would consider you as equal and probably find it strange otherwise.

That would be like a princess or a prince having to bow down to their father and light candles in his name every time he enters the room. The father wouldn’t expect his kids to do that, he would see them as equals while that king would probably demand that kind of respect from a pheasant who he sees as lower than him. So it just makes more sense to me to converse with them like they are part of the family, so to speak.

Now, I can understand setting up an altar while in the presence of spirits you’ve never evoked before out of respect, yeah I do that most of the time when meeting a new spirit just because I don’t know that spirit yet and have no clue what he or she sees as disrespectful, but I don’t set up any shrines for them. Just a few candles, my grimoire if needed or maybe a notepad, just the basics.

[quote=“Azael, post:3, topic:7434”]Do you follow EE’s methods and concencrate the tools at the beginning of every ritual? Or does that become irrelevant after the first couple of times? I definitely feel more inclined to just use the floor, I feel as if having the items closer to the circle charges them more in some way -not that the altar interferes with that, but just personal preference.[/quote]That all depends on what rituals your doing at any given time. If your doing a lot of wealth or love spells and then all of a sudden, you need to do a baneful working, then it’s a good idea to use consecrate water or something just so these energy don’t come into conflict. As far as using a altar all the time that’s something you may want to experiment with yourself to find what works best for you.

If you’re going to use his system, which I recommend because it’s complete, covers all the bases, and has all the information you need, then use an altar - if you’re going to use another system, use the tools - or lack thereof - in that system.

It’s like cookery, yes a professional chef can mix ginger, cheddar and pork to make something awesome, but that’s because he’s spent years learning the basics, including what works well and how, and why, plus different cooking methods. Most of us would just create something inedible.

New members sometimes get “told off” on here a lot for not following this advice:

Magic needs a curious mind – the learning dilemma for magical students

… the amount of times people have emailed me, total strangers, with no introduction, no background info, not even a name, just a text speak sentence like: ‘tell me about eastern magic’, or ‘can you explain what magic is’, ‘can you tell me about Kabbalah but only in a few sentences as I am really busy and I don’t like to read a lot (yes, really….)’. The best one was, ‘I want to know what is in one of your books, but it has a lot of pages, so can you just bullet point it for me’ (I shit you not).

These and other sad but hilarious emails highlight this sense of entitlement (you don’t know me, but I want you to spend your whole day explaining something to me), along with the inability to learn for themselves. For instance, one question, ‘is there magic in India, if so what is it and how does it work”. Apart from the fact that you cannot truly answer such a question without writing a whole book, there is a thing called the internet, with amazing things called ‘search engines’ that one can use. Starting with a couple of words like, ‘magic’, ‘India’, and then maybe adding in, ‘mythology’, ‘mystics’, you can spend months reading various texts and books available on line. And the absolute joy of this is that you can focus in on one aspect that catches your eye, and search that, which opens up another vista of information. And on and on it goes. It’s called research.

Only then will a person slowly start to build discernment, and be able to separate the bullshit from the gems. It’s a process. And that process starts with curiosity, the willingness to read, digest, discover, ponder, look further, check facts, and check sources (and recognize the total bollocks): those steps slowly edge the person in to the subject matter. It’s called learning. It is very useful at times.

Full article:

But the research and groundwork that will later allow you to dispense with altars, evoke spirits into anything that suits the purpose, and so on, is IMO best derived from, first, learning the established working systems, that way you’re getting a good foundation to later branch off from.

I mean seriously, if you were my son asking me this, I’d sit you down with books and stuff because that way, you’re getting the benefit of other people’s hard work and experience, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. :slight_smile:

That’s just my opinion, I started with some fairly traditional methods (I didn’t know they were at the time) like using images to “host” spirits in, on an altar, and also using the “going up” imagery of an elevator to visit the spirits, which I much later found out is the same as the fabled World Tree/Cosmic Mountian etc of shamanic tradition, the axis mundi that gives you access to different “levels” of reality through the willed sensation of ascending.

Although I mostly had to make this stuff up myself from books and just figuring things out, that it so closely resembled traditional forms (and worked) is the reason I would urge you to use established methods until you’re having very good spirit comms, and can start to experiment and dispense with things.

Just also going to say that different voices on this are good, I don’t think it’s an “argument” with one verifiably right and one wrong answer, the reason I provided so much background here is so you can exercise discernment, as JMC describes above. :slight_smile:

Another point for me is that I often get urges to walk around the circle during rituals -weird habit but it helps me get into the tgs strangely, and an altar would evidently get in the way if it was taking up the centre of the circle.

So would an evocation still perform to such an extent if I did not have the altar, and instead had the items on the floor?

In Works Of Darkness there’s a piece I’m going to try and recall from memory, where you use metapmorphic rock for your altar, and E.A. talks about the portability issue - I haven’t got the book handy right now so can’t remember the exact phrasing.

What I did was buy a slate tile, the kind sold to tile wetrooms, it was really cheap and has served me superbly as an altar (seriously, it kicks ass and turns up in dreams all the time showing me things) - that’s one possibility which combines working systems by the same author, and permits you to place it on the floor within your SC, taking up little more space than the items that are on it.

This is the thread I posted about that: Info On My “Works Of Darkness”-Inspired Altar.

I know another magician, a houngan, who also uses a tile as an altar, and he mentioned that it has the added benefit of being fireproof. Marble is also a metamorphic rock, and you can often find chopping boards and large “worktop protectors” made from it, they’re often very attractive to look at as well.

If you intuitively feel that this is what you need to do then it’s correct.

Reading about any ritual is very important (and I class evocation as a ritual), however - we adapt each to suit ourselves. And the entity knows you want to contact it before you ever get out the black candles. If you call, they will feel your intent and they’ll come.

There is no set rule for every person. There are the basics we learn to go off something and build on it. It’s the same with a relationship we have with every entity. You evoking Michael for the first time will be completely different from someone else doing the same. You can even both follow the exact same steps, but have completely different experience.

If you’re unsure, draw a sigil, place it in your pocket and ask the entity to guide your steps.

NO…they are not necessary and neither is anything else, it’s just we choose to use them. I myself do have an altar and I also place it in a circle for evokation but that’s me, I do these things as I love that aspect of using ‘out of the ordinary’ items to take me away from the mundane and support my intentions better.

An altar goes right back to mans communication with those natural outside elements he was connecting with. An altar serves as a point of contact, a way to offer up our prayers and sacrifice for it was told to me years ago that the altar is a place of Burnt Offerings, a place which contains and respects the qualities of spiritual connection so for these ideas alone, I like it around as it gives me a great focal point for my magical operations but it’s not essential.

As Eva said above, if the system you are working from specifically states it, then follow this as you will then get a full connection with the natural flow of advice given, but I have used many things for altars and each has served its purpose well. I have used tables, cupboards, shelves on walls and even hanging bird cages from the ceiling!!

Get creative as you progress with your practices but in the beginning, it pays to follow protocol and get some grounding in what you’re doing before branching out to take inspiration and stimulation from spirit itself.

I think I’m understanding what everyone is saying, I was under the impression that when EA said you need an altar, he meant a big ass wooden crafted thing that took up the entire centre of the circle, but if I can use some sort of slate tile that’s perfect for me -I can swing by the store tomorrow and pick one up. Makes things much easier, I would assume it would need to be big enough to fit the two candles and the tools on as well, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for the advice everyone :slight_smile:

While going through all the thread I was searching my house for anything that might work for me, and as luck would have it, I found a wooden board that fits pretty well into the circle, so I think it’ll serve pretty well as an altar until I can get my hands on something even better.
I will try and post an image of it…but bear with me as it’s the first time I’ve uploaded an image on here, so it might not work…lol

That link seems to work for me, let me know what you all think…if it works of course…and as a side note, if you can see the image -the tools on the altar aren’t what I’ll be using (apart from the candles and bowl), I’m still waiting on an order so they’re “props” to give an idea :slight_smile:

Looks good to me - you could try the energy exercise from EE and see how it feels?

Geof Gray-Cobb, I think, mentioned using an orange crate in one of his books, I borrowed it from a friend a few years ago and don’t have it any more, but I’m sure that was what he recommended - which would give you something about the same size as that seems to be.

I’ve also been using a piece of wood with a pentagram on (I turn it over and do all my magickal crafting and stuff on the back) and that doesn’t look like “WOW, big scary magick altar” but it’s been with me ages now and seen a lot of service. If this feels right to you, then trust that feeling.