Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thought-Forms, Tulpas, Servitors, and the Like

Thought-forms are important tools in sorcery. What are they? They are purpose-directed thoughts that are so strong and well-defined that they seem to manifest as concrete objects or otherwise take on a life of their own. In post-modern magic, they are often referred to as servitors. To this American, “servitor” sounds like a great dystopic term coined by a sci-fi writer, but it is simply a synonym for “servant,” more commonly used in British English (and coopted by the patriarchs of Chaos Magic and used as part of the lingo). A great essay on servitors that has been web-accessible for decades is Sigils, Servitors and Godforms at

 The idea of making concrete objects appear out of thin air and of conjuring purpose-directed phantoms not only exists in fantasy and sci-fi and magic that, in part, draws inspiration from pop culture memes, but in the reality of sorcerers and shamans the world over.  Yogi “godmen,” such as the late Sai Baba (1926-2011), for example, have been reported to miraculously materialize objects (although episodes are often revealed to be hoaxes). I was once close to a very pious elderly Hindu lady who, although a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna (1833-1886), found herself miraculously covered in rose petals at the conclusion of a group devotional to Sai Baba that she attended at her daughter’s home. She was the only participant at the event who was showered in rose petals but did not come away with a one because, according to her, every scrap was scarfed up by devotees who felt entitled to hoard the miraculously manifesting flotsam.

Probably most noted in discussion about thought-forms are Tibetan yogis, lamas, and shamans for which the phantom or materialization is sometimes referred to as a tulpa. It is an extension of the sorcerer/shamans consciousness. Virtually no discussion about tulpas in Western pop lit on the subject goes without mention of the 19th-20th century explorer and esotericist Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969), who spent several years roaming Nepal and Tibet as a “lady lama.”  In her memoirs, David-Neel occasionally relates anecdotes about sorcerer-lamas who communicate with each other over long distances by dispatching fancifully shaped phantoms to deliver news or else simply surround themselves with servant-like creatures almost reminiscent of the genetic designer in Blade Runner, F. Sebastian, who created comical little beings to keep himself company. David-Neel also frequently reports episodes in which lamas  miraculously make things appear out of thin air (which also was a popular topic of doctrinaire discussion when Soror ZSD23 was involved with a Nygmapa [Dzogchen] Buddhist sangha about 10 years ago).

 David-Neel warns that, sometimes tulpas can turn rogue—completely independent of their creators—and go off to run amok. She relates an anecdote in Magic and Mystery in Tibet, in which she, as an experiment, created a tulpa—a “Friar Tuck-like” fellow who began to be sighted within her traveling party. Over time, though, his appearance began to change, becoming sinister-looking, according to David-Neel, and it took some effort to dissolve the thing.

I haven’t come across any anecdotes of servitors in material form among Chaos or other modern/post-modern magicians—and, in fact, a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner mentioned to me that you don’t hear much about tulpas ala David-Neel’s take on them because it does not capture the true idea of a tulpa and what is really going on.  Nevertheless, some servitors are legendary, such as the time-warping entity Fotamecus ( or the "Red Queen" Ellis, the use of both of which went viral until Fotamecus and the linking sigil Ellis, like Pinocchio, seemed to become conscious and independently operating forces. A current project in the occult community is the egregore-like manifestation of Atem, “a self-created entity that human minds participate in” for the purpose of being empowered to create more mimetic entities—new godforms to interact with in a new paradigm. (see Philip H. Farber, Meta-Magick the Book of Atem. San Francisco: Weiser Books. 2008).

I have attempted servitor creation with mixed results. The very first one she ever created took the form of a lion and was meant to be a type of protection. It came through for her at party in which a young woman was treating her in an amazingly rude fashion presumably because she wanted the attention of my companion. The girl ultimately put me in danger of physical injury and so, the otherwise long-suffering, patient, and polite me unleashed her lion servitor, which took a bite out of the nasty girl’s ass.I then watched the girl’s expression drop. Her face turned away from where she stood before my companion. The girl and her entourage abruptly walked to the other side of the room, after which the girl kept great distance from me whenever we happened to be in the same environs.

Excerpt from Chapter X A Very Reluctant God -- La Maga A Story about Sorcerers and Magi

Leo spent a great deal of time in his uppermost studio—the turret of his tower. He needed the quiet. He needed the sublime and took solace in gazing into the shallow, round, crystal-lined tank that he had installed up there.

Sometimes the water within it was clear and still. Sometimes it was rippled by the wind and marred by leaves, drowned insects, pollen, and dander. Sometimes raindrops plunked into the tank to make designs before merging with its contents.

Whatever the condition, the tank was a source of fascination and mental calm for Leo. It helped him know his mind, the contents of his mind, and the difference between the two. Magical prowess depended on acuity of mind. It depended on thriftiness of thought, unambiguousness of motive, and unwavering momentum.

It was this presence of mind that made Leo a master of materializations. Unless he specifically willed it, his thought-forms were not affected by instability or decay. They were not flimsy or slight. There were creations like those of an artist—or like those of a god.

But the person who could create things of substance on a whim and with ease was tasked with maintaining sobriety, self-restraint, and self-censorship. For this reason, Leo was a subdued person, although his subtlety went unnoticed and unappreciated, as already mentioned.

As he matured, however, he increasingly wasted his gift on small entertainments and the manufacture of collectibles coveted by Outer Plane folks. Whether because he enjoyed the extra income or taking advantage of Commons and their vulgarities, his manufacture of objects precious to them had become a robust hobby over the years.

Was that newly discovered van Gogh by van Gogh or Leo de Lux? A slew of Tiffany lamps, Venetian glass and Goebel Hummels, Mesopotamian seals and Mayan gold, Black Madonnas from Romanian grottoes, excavated Buddha icons from jungle ruins—even dinosaur bones.

When Commons marveled at such objects and muttered that they were “out of this world,” they might have been right. Unlike replicas and forgeries crafted by Commons, the true origins of things materialized by Inner Plane peoples and planted in the Outer Plane were somewhat untraceable. Hence, stories (woven with fascination charms) given about their history were unopposed.

True masters of this art, like de Lux, engaged in high-end antiquing and lucrative museum acquisitions. Amateurs and mischievous dabbling young adepts deposited supernatural creatures and phenomena in the midst of Commons: sea monsters in lakes, neo-cavemen in snows, and little green men that went bump in the night, not to mention mermaids and unicorns, and various other apparitions. Unlike entrepreneurial schemes, mischievous materializationalism in the Outer Plane was outlawed but hard to enforce.

It, like Phaeton maneuver offenses, fell into de Lux’s jurisdiction. This meant that Leo had to engage in public lectures and news briefings in which he spoke on the danger of introducing inexplicable phenomena into the world of Commons. It confused and perverted their cultural and spiritual beliefs, he contended.

“Such sadistic practices result in long lapses of instability, conflict, hardship, and intellectual decline among these lower peoples. We are tasked as a more evolved race to treat these peoples with tenderness rather than disdain, for their plane is valuable to us and the eventual home of Outer Plane denizens is with us,” Leo would say. Meanwhile, placard-carrying college students and Expansionist Party sympathizers would protest outside wherever he was presenting. They continually accused him of hypocrisy and double-dealing and also demanded an end to the entrepreneurial oppression of Commons.

This was Leo’s lot as a resident and magistrate of the North Atlantic Sovereignty, Terra Novit, Inner Plane Regions. It was wearing on him.

In addition to his job, another heavy burden was parceled with his gift. It was another element that demanded flawless control. Being an entity who could create anything, Leo had the power to destroy anything as well—not merely his or another’s thought-form, but all forms, any entity, all of which were essentially some expression of thought.

La Maga, the first book in the Sorcerers and Magi series
The third book in the series:  Chaos Magic
meets Jesus Christ Superstar


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And just for fun: A clip of the Fantasia Sorcerers Apprentice.

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