Evocation through smoke
Smoke evocations are probably the most used ones in ceremonial magick. The setup is simple, has a lot of variations and can be done with any level of experience.
Idea behind the smoke
Many Magicians believe that to have a visible contact with an entity, one needs a physical vessel to operate upon. For that purpose sensitive mediums were used to get possessed by the entity and hadle the message. Unfortunately this method makes the whole ritual fraud accessible. Is the medium a real deal? Can we really identify a genuine medium. In the second grade I gave you few tips about how to recognize suggestible Somnambulic subjects, but it can happen that some fraud will know Mesmerism or will be lucky enough to pass the test, so naturally we had to come up with something to get rid of our human oracle.
Naturally, the next step were inanimate objects (animals are not very good mediators). But what object is light enough and easy to manipulate, after all we usually do not possess the power to craft clay golems... smoke was the answer.
Smoke is light, naturally moves in swirls, curls (thanks to the air currents) and is easy to shape, even a small blow can change its shape. So if we force an entity to manifest its presence through a smoke, we can have a nice little proof that the ritual works. Plus smoke's natural movement is very mesmerizing and adds to the atmosphere of the ritual and the mind state of the practitioner, multiplying the chances of success.
Actually we can also use incenses in the burnt material to enhance the atmosphere even more. We can pick a specific incense for a specific entity based on its planetary correspondence, we can color the light of the flame with shaders to attain even bigger planetary influence, smoke is actually a very versatile ritual tool.
For the smoke we can use pre-fabriced incense sticks to be compact, we can burn coal on incense plates with a few drops of water for a very thick smoke (using hot or cold water actually lightens or darkens the smoke), we can also make our own incense sticks, just put a bunch of plants together, tie really hard and let dry.
Spirit's manifestation via smoke
There are various ways about how the spirit will manifest via a smoke. The least noticeable (and most often in the beginning), is that the smoke will split into two straight lines with a lot of curls at the eye level. Sometimes it also "freezes" in the air. The positions of the smoke is so stable it looks like it was a solid object.
After some experience, you will start seeing faces, hands, even parts of events in the smoke, rarely the smoke will take a full body shape of an evoked entity (to be frank I never saw that one), but parts of the body are quite usual.
The source of the smoke can be put on the chair, on summoning triangle or simply be carried in your hands at the arms' length away from your body during the ritual or some combination of these. I personally like to sit during evocations, so I usually place a summoning triangle on the table in the front of me and put an incense stick in the holder on the triangle. It's compact, quick and easy to set up.