or: the Generation of Personal Mythology
This is a strange thing to write about, only because it doesn't get talked about directly very often (at least not that I am aware of), except by one other person I know.
Invocation has two main phases as I use it.
Phase one is the calling in of deities or other spirits in order to operate, for a time, as that being. This might be invoking Thoth or Hermes before doing divination, and then, hopefully, 'holding' that consciousness while doing the reading, so that it is really Thoth or Hermes doing the reading. Mighty subjective, but it works well in general. I don't do too much of this phase anymore. I do think it's a good skill to learn (if it interests you, it's not crucial by any means) as it can help teach 'you' in the ego sense to step aside and let something else drive the vehicle for a while. For me, I almost always ended up in a 90% possession when I did this well, where I wasn't at all in charge of what happened, but I was watching it all as if I was in the back-seat of my mind.
The second phase is about invoking qualities. This where someone might decide they needed certain aspects of personality/self/selves to become stronger or more prevalent.
Perhaps you are not currently dealing with fear reactions well, and so are regularly stressed and anxious. This could be mild, or full-on panic attacks. So my approach is that you deal with the base-level problem head on, which might be via therapy, meditation work on fear and attachment, ritual work, etc, and then you also seek to bring in an antidote.
Using fear as an example, you would look at what happens when you are having a fear reaction, both physically and mentally/emotionally. In other words, the structural, chemical response, +and+ what it does to your psycho-emotional state. Try to find the space (most likely after the fact of the triggering event) and choose to revisit it.
Don't judge the event, the validity of the stimulus, or your response to it. Just replay the event, and notice your responses to it. You probably tense up. Relax what tenses (use the induction template from Six Ways, which works +if you work it+. You are not very likely to be the special one that it doesn't work on, but you may be exceptionally attached to it not working for you. This is one of those 'deal with it' things, I am afraid!). Your breathing probably gets shallow and fast. Use the box breathing to slow it down. Re-run the scenario again. Relax again. As soon as you have +a tiny bit+ of space, start to talk to yourself about what is valid (this is personal) and what is not in your reaction to the stimulus. Is there actually an imminent threat? Are you projecting possible outcomes that are not rooted in the actual experience? Run the scenario that triggered the fear reaction. Box breathing, relax what tenses. This is an ongoing process, the goal is not to eliminate fear, but shift the reaction to it so it's not festering into lingering stress and anxiety.
I've taken some heat in the past for being 'anti-emotions', but that is really not the case. These emotional reactions are real, they actually occur, and should be respected. However, HOW we interpret and respond to them can frequently be (highly) unhelpful. It's like how the body can trigger a pain reaction from the +threat+ of a pain stimulus, and then hold that pain reaction in a locked pattern. As the pain stimulus never actually occurred, it also never ended, and so the body doesn't know to release the tensions created. This is more or less the roots of Somatic work as described by Thomas Hanna. What these processes I am describing do is to help the body/mind understand that it can experience all kinds of stimulus, 'real' or imagined, but we can work together to decide how to respond. It can also learn to release the tension and pain or fear states that have formed. I hope that makes sense!
Onward to the invocation! So the counter to fear, the antidote, you might decide, is bravery. To be brave is to not freeze-up & crumple when fear is present, but to be able to act intelligently +despite+ being afraid. Perhaps for you, the antidote may be different or might have another or several qualities to it. Let us say you decide that the antidotes to your fear response are to be brave so you can keep moving, and to be calm so you can perceive and move well, rather than just spazzing out, and to be steadfast so that you can stay the course that you have decided to take.
Now we have three qualities, that if we had them in spades, would help to antidote our fear reaction. Now we find analogs for these qualities, meaning archetypal forms that resonate with us for them. Here are some things that come to mind for me:
brave - bear, knight, warrior, wolf
calm - lake, mother, mirror
steadfast - stone, tree, ship
We sit with these things, maybe trance with them or work some divination, to narrow our options down and perhaps find other archetypal forms. We are looking for a gut/bone reaction. This takes practice and patience. (And you just might want to do this process for 'patience' as well, that's usually a good one!).
Now turn the final selection into an invocation or charm. This will be in the form of 'I am' statements. Here's a quick example:
I am the bear, standing tall on the hill
I am the lake, quiet and still
I am the tree, unbowed by the wind
I am the warrior, wearing wolfs-skin
I am the mother, protecting her young
I am the stone, till the death of the sun.
Play with what you have, revisit earlier steps, and hone your invocation until it's 'true'. 'True' feels a certain way when you say it out loud. It may be shitty poetry, but if it's true, it's good!
In practice, use your invocation A LOT. Use it when you wake up before you open your eyes. Do it after the scraping and reclaiming rite. Do it when you feel really strong and powerful, and do it when you are scared. Get crazy with it, shake the walls sometimes. If you do all these levels of work (and yeah, you might need therapy as well, that's totally OK), you begin to shift who you are. Which then shifts what is possible for that person. Which then allows (if not demands) the shifts in the worlds you inhabit to occur that suit who-you-really-are-now.
This, in my experience, is the shit.