Someone on StudioArcanis noted that they were having some trouble with invocation, so I've provided them with a couple of tips on how to conjure Belial correctly. It occurs to me that this information should be shared here, and so that's the purpose of this post.
Spirits in general are often a little weirded out by being called on by people who don't have a relationship with them, especially in an invocation, as that's an intensely personal matter. You're basically calling a spirit into yourself, and that can feel a tad unpleasant and shaky for anyone...spirit and human alike. Knowing this, I prefer to walk the line between evocation and invocation when conjuring a spirit to form for the sake of establishing a relationship.
Since Belial was mentioned elsewhere, I'll use him as the example here. Belial is a powerhouse associated with magical and political learnings, and he can assist a person in becoming more free both financially and socially. If you're an awkward person who doesn't connect well with others, ask him to tutor you on that front, as he can certainly do so.
Belial's a bit picky, and he'll happily watch someone for a time to see if they've got the potential to be worthwhile. This statement sounds a bit judgy, and it is most certainly meant to be. This spirit is a powerful being who is a King in his own right, meaning that he really doesn't have to suffer to entertain people he's uninterested in. Knowing this, you really want him to like you if you're looking to gain any kind of result.
To garner his interest and thus take a stab at doing this properly, you're going to need some materials. Create a raw incense blend of equal parts crushed frankincense and wormwood. Take that mixture and suffumigate it with the aroma of burnt bay leaves, then leave it to develop under a burning incense stick - preferably one containing the scent of Black Arts oil. During this time, chant his enn ("Lirach tasa vefa welhc Belial") over the blend itself no less than 300 times. Yes, you read that right.
Regard this blend as an extension of the spirit's power and treat it with respect.
This process of preparation should take you a day. Maybe two if you're slow. When you've completed it, you should feel a difference in the mixture itself, and there should be a radiating line of power from it. If there isn't, you've either screwed up in the creation of the powder or you're just not terribly well-developed psychicly. Go through the rite anyway, as you can't and shouldn't back out at this stage.
Next, you'll need three red candles. Place them in the shape of a triangle. At its center, place a sigil of Belial, and on its back write a *brief* indication of what you want from him. Place upon this sigil at the center of the triangle a fire-safe bowl, preferably filled with sand. Light a coal and place it in the bowl or cauldron, then place upon it some of the aforementioned blend - you should place enough to create an intense atmosphere in the room, but not enough to set off any fire alarms. Ventilation is key.
Light the candles, then make your plea to Belial orally. Watch the smoke. If you've been successful, the smoke coming off the coal will feel and look a bit funny. This is standard, and its a manifestation of the spirit.
Note your impressions and experiences, then keep watch over what happens. Life tends to get turned upside down a bit, but that's the norm with him. He's an extraordinarily powerful spirit, and it is not uncommon to feel him as a presence directly behind you, often with his hand on your shoulder. That's pretty normal, but it can be a bit disorienting.
When you've completed the ritual, give Belial license to depart. If you don't know what this is, say these lines:
"Belial, I thank you for your presence and power. I thank you for joining me. I thank you for your attention.
Go now in peace, respected and potent spirit.
You're giving him permission to leave, thereby unbinding him from the rite itself. Burn the sigil after this unless you've been specifically told to carry it with you. You will know it inside if you have been, so if you haven't, dispose of that energy by destroying the sigil with fire. You're not seeking to harm the spirit here, you're making sure you can't accidentally desecrate anything and thereby invoke his ire.
Please post here with your experiences and thoughts in exchange for these tips. ;)