Beginners in demonic magic often hold the belief that a spirit summoned has to manifest in front of them in flesh and blood, or at the very least as a visual phenomenon.
In some cases, a demon does appear in a visual form that feels and looks very real. The likelihood of this happening can be increased by the use of various intoxicants, primarily psychedelics such as mushrooms and LSD. I do not advise relying on these substances, however. A preferred path is to develop the more stable and lasting powers that allow the production of such effects through the use of ones own mental faculties.
Some magicians develop an amazing ability to visualize objects and spirits at will. This power can be developed by concentrating for prolonged periods of time on imagined shapes, beginning with simpler and advancing to more complex creations.
Crowley practiced this extensively during his yogic phase. When you’re in a state of trance, you have already brought your attention to the demon and somewhat imagined his visual form. A magician with a powerful visualization skills can project the demon’s appearance as seen through the mind’s eye unto the visual field.
This is not something that a beginner can do at will, but it can happen accidentally. These are moments to cherish, as they bring to light one’s potential and the truth of the matter. But leaving these freak accidents aside, a beginner is more likely to experience the demon through an emotional response such as intense thrill, a sense of power, involuntary movements, compelled speech, feelings of heaviness and exhaustion.
Often, the demon will decide to speak through the magician and a conversation will occur. The magician would be wise to remember what was said during this time, even record it if possible, as a fair bit of knowledge and wisdom can be gathered. Most of my encounters with demons are of this variety, though on occasion real voices and shapes appear during ceremonies. Other times objects or elements (fire, water, air..) are clearly being controlled by the spirit (flames being lowered and raised unnaturally, loud bangs, a chalice levitating and wine spilling at a specific point of the circle or triangle).
The way in which you conduct a magical operation plays a large part in how these events will unfold, or better yet, whether you will allow them to unfold. IA Shaolin monk, while explaining a Qigong exercise recommended the following approach to his students: “Don’t look concentrated, be concentrated!”
This advice sounds paradoxical at first and one might wonder why would it even matter if we look concentrated or not? The point he was making is that if you look concentrated, you are trying to “force” a reaction, a result. But if your concentration is coming from a place of relaxed confidence in success, you are not forcing. You are simply allowing things to happen by taking the right steps.
Another example of this can be found at night as you fall asleep. If you try really hard to fall asleep, the tension will keep you awake longer. Similarly, you cannot force a trance state during a ritual. You have to relax into it, but not by letting go of all the effort to the point where you forget why you’re there in the first place.
Even while you’re in a trance state, you should be focused on the task of summoning the demon and prepared to respond positively when it manifests. If you relax completely, you will fall asleep before this part of the ritual has even begun to unfold. One has to keep in mind the difference between looking concentrated and actually being concentrated without focusing on concentration itself and losing it in the process!
This all might sound paradoxical, but a true practitioner knows it to be true. This is why practice and experience are important. The more you practice, the more you will internalize this approach and at some point it will become second nature. Then you won’t have to guess whether the demon was present during the ceremony or not as there will always be a meaningful sign or interaction that confirms it.