To this day, I have never understood the mindset of the modern practitioner. What confuzzles me is the way someone's mind can swing like a pendulum from one extreme to the other.
For example, we find practitioners who barely know anything and are ready to start summoning things far bigger than their head. No training, very little accumulated knowledge and due to no experience, no wisdom concerning this art. But these folks have moxy, guts, balls, and ready to face a Spirit head on regardless of the consequences. On the opposite side, we have practitioners who are highly trained, well read yet have never performed an evocation though they've read about it or heard other Magicians talk about it.
Often I find those that want to summon a Spirit just want to crack open a grimoire & start the summoning with the whole 'damn the torpedoes' routine. Many of these types want to summon the most powerful Spirit they can find instead of rationally analyzing their need for doing so. They have this mentality that a problem HAS to be solved by the biggest, baddest, meanest, strongest, most powerful of all beings.
The practice of Evocation is also rife with people who want to summon a Spirit just to see what happens. These idiots remind me of the kids who get off making prank phone calls to people. No need to bother them but hey, it's fun! And yes it's fun, that is, until the pissed off Spirit they've summoned starts by making their lives a living hell! There’s an excellent account of this by S. Jason Black in Pacts With the Devil which he co-wrote with the late Chris Hyatt.
What is your problem? This is NOT rocket science, folks. Magic is complicated, yes, but not overly so. Practitioners MAKE it complicated because of some inborn need to validate it to themselves. "Simple spell work simply cannot help me!" Oh really?? Not much of a MagicKian are you? Finally learned that Crowley's brand of pseudo-Masonic folderol won't get you what it is you want, eh? So now maybe summoning a Spirit is what you need to do.
There are snares, pitfalls & traps in Evocation that too many ignore or think they can run around them. The biggest hurdle of all though is the practitioner himself (note: this is NOT gender exclusive!)
You my friend are your own WORST enemy. You've waited until the 11th hour before doing anything and realize a simple candle ritual or Planetary talisman just won't work as quickly as you need as both require time & planning to execute correctly. No, you need fast help from big guns.
Therein lies your first & usually biggest mistake: waiting too long.
I like to teach my Apprentices that the wisest thing to do is to learn how to work with Spirits as soon as possible. The reason for this is to show them what they need to know to summon Spirit entities long before there's a desperate need to do so. You see, desperation causes all sorts of dangerous elements to creep in. This is a trap that can cause you lots of problems with Spirits because they can sense what is amiss.
By taking time in the beginning of training & learning how to work with Spirits as well as other things such as philosophy of the art and techniques to achieve it, the student can become gradually proficient so that he can have confidence when the time comes. This preparation is what one needs to fend off any desperation that may come down the line.
Early training should consist in summoning Spirits such as those from the Four Elemental worlds of Water, Earth, Air & Fire. Aside from the fact that there is MUCH knowledge & wisdom to be gained from direct contact with the Elemental Rulers & their brethren, the average student wants to call on heavy handed Spirits erroneously thinking this will solve their problem quickly and without fail.
I know a Magician who I met in the Tampa, FL area from many years ago who summoned the Ruler of the Water Elementals, Nicksa, and managed to acquire a Familiar. This is the only Spirit he’s ever called upon since. She (his familiar) gets fed regularly but also works regularly for his insurance agency by bringing him prosperity (even in a poor economy), protecting him & family from harm, helping to heal physical ailments and so on. He's even used this Undine to kick someone else's butt who was metaphysically screwing with his nephew.
So the concept that you MUST have an all mighty, all powerful Spirit on your side is silly and only fueled by the imaginations of goofy people who just don't know any better. That's not to say if you're of the hierarchy mindset that you shouldn't use the hierarchal approach because if you like order & structure that is how to do it. I'm merely suggesting one does not need to go and acquire the greatest Djinn, Spirit, Elemental or whatever. With patience as well as proper care, a minor familiar can grow in power & might to sufficiently handle anything that anyone else throws your way.
If you can get through your own mentality, you have a chance at succeeding. You may need to sit and think about what factors could hinder your success but my guess is that most of you will answer with a knee jerk reaction, "Gee Moloch, there's nothing wrong with me" and while that may be, what's keeping the Spirits from coming to you? Are you going to be like the majority of Ceremonial Jerks who blame it on poor technique? Or improper reason for summoning the Spirit to begin with? Maybe it's your body odor?
The truth is that the Spirits are just like us. We have individual personalities and so do they. Hello? Not everyone here you run into is going to like you EVEN IF you offer them a reward (job, money, etc) to do so. Same thing with the Spirits because some will be nice, others will be hateful to you. Some Spirits have told me in no uncertain terms to go and fornicate myself! LoL So I just let it go, moved on and found another Spirit willing to work with me. Wow. Big setback, eh?
In closin, it’s a good idea to be respectful to your Spirits so they will be respectful and cooperative in return to you.