Sharing this because it features my good friend Christa Vee talking to my other good friend Jackie from the Magic Tool Box on the Goetia.
Tag Archives: Lesser Key of Solomon
Re-blogging this post from 2009, as it reflects some of the thoughts I am having whilst doing my current Abramelin challenge. Speaking of which, if you enjoy reading this article, please consider making a donation to my Just Giving page – raising money for poor and vulnerable families affected by the Covid 19 lockdown. (All thanks to God and my HGA for being able to participate in the Sacred Magic.)
In this blog post I shall be discussing the Dark Side, and attempting to argue that that which is commonly called “black magic” may in fact be turned to a wholesome end.
“Goetia” as a general term refers to magic which deals with “evil” spirits. More specifically it also refers to a portion of the mediæval grimoire The Lesser Key of Solomon, which was made famous in modern times by being a favourite of Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947). The term “goetia” derives from a Greek word for “howling spirits,” and is thus a direct translation of the Arabic Djinni (Geni), who were the howling desert spirits of middle-eastern folk-lore.
I have heard some people try to claim that the spirits of the Goetia are somehow not evil. However I disapprove of this notion: because denying they are evil is one step away from denying they are powerful. The fact of the matter is that they are dangerous. Somewhat like electricity is dangerous. But if properly handled, Goetic spirits – also like electricity – can be made to do remarkable things.
Also, going from past experience, I would say that all of the well-known horror stories – of bizarre creatures appearing, of succubi, of demons trying various schemes whereby to trick the magician, etc – are in fact all true. There is a saying in the occult: “it does not matter whether the gods exist or not, because the Universe behaves as if they do.” Unfortunately, the same can be said for Goetic spirits as well.
The only qualification I would make to the statement that they are all true, is that these phenomena do not appear physically, but to the psychic consciousness of the magician – before the “mind’s eye” as it were. Nevertheless, these visions do produce actual effects in the real world.
I have also discovered that, during my researches into Lucid Dreaming I noticed that such magical operations also affect one’s dream-life as well. To illustrate this I will give an example of a Goetic operation which I did badly: I offer it to my readers so that they can learn from my mistakes. The night after performing a goetic operation I retired to bed and had a vivid but non-lucid dream of a highly erotic or pornographic nature. This I went along with, stupidly not thinking anything of it. Many days later it transpired that the intended result of the operation had not come to pass, thereby indicating that it had ended in failure. It was only later that the penny-dropped: the dream I had experienced was in fact the spirit I had evoked, appearing as a Succubus! Clearly, what I should have done was: (a) recognise it for what it was; (b) become lucid; (c) astrally use the techniques of ceremonial magick to compel it to do my bidding, e.g. force it into a Triangle of Art, command it by the various Divine Names, etc. Since then, with the benefit of experience I have performed operations which were more fruitful.
The fundamental point to understand is that the person who follows the path of pure Theurgy is seeking after something that is good, is trying to make contact with beings (e.g angels) who are more than willing to assist the individual, and who are inherently beneficial to him or her. Goetia however is a completely different technique: the Goetic magician has to do the magical equivalent of wearing protective clothing and using force to conjure a spirit, because of its troublesome nature. I write all this not to encourage the reader to practice Goetic magic, but to give you fair warning. None of this should be taken as implying that one should treat the subject with superstitious terror, but rather with a sense of due caution.
Now some people may balk at the idea of actually wanting to deal with a supposedly-evil spirit (whilst others might embrace the idea a little too readily), but I say this: qualitatively, what is the real difference between this and, say, working on re-integrating the Shadow Persona, as C G Jung would describe it? Or, to adopt a Freudian idiom, the abreaction of psychoneuroses contained within the unconscious? Mental problems, emotional problems, behavioural problems – mankind has suffered from them since antiquity, the only difference being that in ancient times they were demonised and given names like “Paimon,” “Buer,” etc, but nowadays they are called “Repression,” “Neurosis” and all the rest.
Therefore, if I am correct in my suspicion that Goetic-magick is really ancient man’s attempt to confront the demons of his unconscious (by taking the metaphorical for the literal), how much more would it be improved if it were re-interpreted in the light of what is known about psychology?
With this in mind, I have been working on a particular method of Goetic-Magick-As-Therapy, by incorporating some of the principles of neurolinguistic programming therein. Specifically the NLP technique of “6 Step Re-framing.” The rationale for this is that supposed problems are assumed to be caused by parts of the psyche which are in fact well-meaning, but which apply their powers in methods which are incongruent and thereby cause disharmony. Hence, by confronting these parts of the psyche, the technique aims to persuade them to fulfil their objectives by abandoning their old, unhelpful, and incongruent methodologies with harmonious new congruent ones.
I immediately saw the parallel with Goetic Magick. The parts of the psyche which “6 Step Re-framing” attempts to address are analogous to the spirits of the Goetia, whilst the actual process of confrontation, negotiation and re-framing is akin to the kind of interaction with a spirit which takes place in an evocation ceremony. I have thus sketched out a structure which attempts to show how one would indeed incorporate 6-Step Re-framing into an actual Goetic operation, below. In the method I refer to the actual Goetia of the Lesser Key of Solomon itself.
1. Determine the cause of the problem – probe in depth to see the underlying characteristics. Compare to astrological chart if necessary.
The Goetia of the Lesser Key of Solomon is a grimoire which is closely based on astrology. Hence by relating the perceived problem to an astrological basis, one will be able to translate it more easily into the Goetia’s idiom, and that of ceremonial magick generally.
2. Identify which Goetic spirit most “personifies” the cause of the problem identified in step 1 above.
This can be done in two ways. By following the astrological method, one will notice that the spirits of the Goetia are associated with certain parts of the Zodiac, and with certain planets. Hence, by noting the position of the planets in one’s own astrological chart and comparing with the Goetia, one may work out which of the 72 spirits are likely to be most relevant to oneself.
3. Prepare for and proceed with evocation in the normal manner. In my personal work I try to be as authentic as possible, with regard to temple furnishings, preparations, etc. Once everything is in place and I am ensconced within my magic circle, the order of the ritual would go like this:
a. Banishings – i.e. with Lesser Banishing Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram.
b. The Preliminary Invocation (otherwise known as the “Bornless Ritual.”)
c. Specific pentagram and / or hexagram rituals as appropriate. These will be determined by the astrological sign with which the Spirit is associated, and also the Spirit’s planet.
d. Evocation – the “First Conjuration of the Goetia.”
I usually only use the First Conjuration, as the subsequent ones sound less and less like forcefully commanding the Spirit, and increasingly like plain old whining.
e. The “Welcome to the Spirit” (from the Goetia) on its manifestation.
Note that, as I have explained elsewhere, this refers to manifestation to the psychic consciousness or within the skrying medium (e.g. dark mirror), not literally appearing out of thin air.
f. Negotium – this is the actual Reframing. I describe it in detail below.
g. “Licence to Depart,” followed by final Banishings to close the ceremony.
4. The Negotium follows this specific structure:
a. Identify Spirit; identify problem to be changed; express appreciation for what the Spirit has done so far (i.e. for the intention, not how it has done it); reassure Spirit that you are not going to get rid of it.
b. Go inside and ask “Will N. communicate with me in consciousness now?” Be alert for internal sights, sounds, feelings. If signal occurs, try to repeat consciously; ask again until signal occurs which cannot be controlled consciously.
Ask Spirit to increase the signal to indicate “Yes,” and to decrease it for “No.” When it does –
c. Thank Spirit for co-operating. Ask: “Will N let me know what it is trying to do?”
On “Yes” signal and revelation, thank for information and for doing this. If there is a “No” signal, explore circumstances in which Spirit would be willing to reveal its intentions. (Otherwise assume positive intentions).
Ask: “If you were given ways to accomplish this intention at least as well if not better than what you are doing now, would you be willing to try them out?”
If “Yes” – proceed to next step. If “No,” the Evocation is flawed. Go back to step 4(b) or start the whole thing again.
d. Ask the Spirit to communicate its positive intention to your own Higher Genius.
Ask your Higher Genius to generate ways that will accomplish the same purpose.
Ask Spirit to choose only those it considers good or better than original behaviour, which are immediate and available. Ask it to give “Yes” signal when it makes choice. Do this three times. Then thank your Higher Genius when finished.
e. Ask Spirit if it will agree to do new choices rather than old behaviour in next (e.g.) two weeks? (NB: this is an arbitrary figure – choose a time-frame to suit if more appropriate).
On “Yes,” proceed to next step.
On “No,” tell Spirit it can still use old behaviour but you would like it to use the new choices first. If it now gives “Yes,” proceed to next step.
If however it still gives a “No,” reframe the objecting part and take it through the 6 steps again.
f. Ecology. Ask: “Do any other spirits object to these new choices?”
Be alert to signals.
If there are no signals, thank Spirit and proceed to Licence to Depart.
If there is a signal, ask the new Spirit to intensify it if it really objects.
If not, proceed as before to Licence to Depart.
Otherwise, either go back to step 4(b) with regard to new Spirit, or ask your Higher Genius to come up with new choices in consulting with the new objecting part. (Submit these to Ecology Check as well).
Chaos magician Dave Lee discovers Andromalius from the Lesser Key of Solomon:
My answer to How can I summon Zepar?
The original poster added by way of details:
I tried many times to summon Zepar but failed every time ! I know Goetic demons are human friendly. I also did dedication ritual.
Answer by Alex Sumner:
First of all, Goetic demons, like Zepar, are not human friendly. They are in fact very dangerous. It is because they are dangerous that they are powerful.
This does not mean that one should be terrified of them. The elaborate procedures laid down in thefor evoking Demons are safety precautions for dealing with spirits properly.
Perhaps the reason for your apparent failure to summon is Zepar is unrealistic expectations of what happens when Goetic spirits manifest? If so, I recommend reading the accounts of what other magicians have experienced when working with the Goetia, e.g. Lon Milo Duquette’s.
New video: in which I record my efforts at making a full-size Goetia floor cloth, a la Lesser Key of Solomon the King.
But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
It takes a certain amount of experience in evocatory magick to realise that not all “evil spirits” are either the same, or indeed “evil” per se – it is a philosophically redundant term anyway.
For example: take the spirits of the Goetia, and contrast them with (e.g.) the Qlippoth.
The raison d’etre of the latter is that they are unbalanced forces left over from the creation of the universe – but the former are “fallen angels” (at least – that is how they are described in the Lesser Key of Solomon). In practice this is a huge difference – the Spirits of the Goetia were once in Heaven, but now are not: but the Qlippoth were never in Heaven to begin with.
In other words, the Goetic spirits are the same sort of “creatures” as Angels – but in exile from the main body of the Angelic host. Moreover, despite being fallen, they are theoretically capable of redemption – which is to what, in fact, many of them aspire.
(NB: in the foregoing description, Heaven should really be thought of as “what humans believe to be heaven.” When one analyses their origin – as primordial deities – it becomes clear that their “fall” was not caused by their own disobediance, but by Humans’ increasing inability to relate to them.)
This is in response to an interesting question posted on Facebook, which I decided merited a lengthier response than can normally be fitted in to the usual reply box.
Celina Huezo wrote:
Just curious, do you guys use prayers invocations and hymns taken from books and the internet or do you write your own?
My initial response was a glib “Yes.” However, a fuller explanation would go something like this:
I have performed a large number of rituals in my time, so I have had the opportunity to both use adapted resources and compose my own. When I first read The Golden Dawn by Regardie, I noticed that he had no qualms about copying and pasting from various sources, so I thought: “Hell! Why don’t I do the same?”
What I tend to do is use the Golden Dawn’s Z2 formula, which because it is a skeleton outline only, actively requires the composer to incorporate ritualistic passages which they have acquired from somewhere, whether that be a pre-existing source or from their own devising.
Fortunately, all of the classic grimoires are now in the public domain, and freely available on the internet, so I often use large chunks lifted from them. Resources which I would recommend include:
- The Key of Solomon;
- The Lesser Key of Solomon. Although this is primarily known for evocatory magic, some of the conjurations, with only a few slight alterations in the words, can be used for talismanic magic as well. All of the parts of the Lesser Key are worthy of consideration, not just the Goetia (e.g. I have found the Pauline Art useful as well).
- Trithemius’ The Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals.
- The various conjurations of John Dee – not just the Enochian keys themselves.
- The Greek Magical Papyri. Very good for Graeco-Egyptian magic.
- The Hymns of Orpheus. Very good for Greek magic generally.
I do not claim to be a purist. As I suggested with the Lesser Key of Solomon above, on occasions I have made slight though not radical alterations to the words in their various forms to suit my particular purpose. For example, in regard to the Greek Magical Papyri, I took an invocation of Aphrodite for the purpose of Divination, changed about half a dozen words, and thereby turned it into an invocation of Aphrodite generally. I have published the results here – from memory I believe the words I inserted were “the knowledge of Thy divine self.”
On other occasions I have attempted to compose my own – some of which have been spectacularly successful. I have fond memories of a Mercurial ceremony I performed several years ago in which the main conjuration was an eight-line poem I had written specifically for the purpose.
Another method I have found effective is to ask an appropriate spirit-guide for assistance when composing an invocation. So, for example, weeks or months in advance of invoking Water, one might clairvoyantly go on a tattva-journey into the realm of Elemental Water and ask the beings one meets there to help compose a suitable invocation for your ceremony – likewise with other Elemental etc forces. This can be particularly effective as then one will automatically know that the invocation is linked to the forces one has already experienced psychically.
Regarding Hyms per se, I have recently been experimenting… though not in the field of ceremonial magick. At the request of the Worshipful Master of a certain Masonic lodge, who asked not to be named, I re-wrote the lyrics of the Opening & Closing Odes for their meetings, to reflect the kind of spiritual forces envisaged by Walter Wilmshurst – a masonic writer whom Israel Regardie admired. Wilmshurst is known today as a writer on the spiritual dimension of Freemasonry: although what is less well-known is that he attempted to compose variations to the Masonic ritual which would have made them comparable in efficacy to the Golden Dawn. Needless to say, because UGLE does not deal with spirituality, according to its Deputy Grand Master, I have full confidence that my attempts at lyric-writing may yet get banned – I shall report back if this happens.
Often I find that, when I am facing a new challenge, perhaps one that I find daunting for some reason, the simplest solution is to apply basic principles. This is especially true in magick. In the Golden Dawn the most important rule of thumb is referred to as “invoke the highest first,” which is a reference to one of the clauses of the Adeptus Minor obligation: “I furthermore solemnly pledge myself never to work at any important symbol without first invocating the highest Divine Names connected therewith.”
The Highest First Principle ensures that no real magick – certainly no real GD magick – can be performed without first aligning one’s will and intentions to God. Even if the spirit that is ultimately low-down on the hierarchy of such things – a supposed “goetic” (with a small “g”) spirit, the Highest First principle – invoking first the God-name qabalistically associated with such a demon – ensures that such an operation still fits in elegantly with the transcendentalist paradigm.
This incidentally is also how to tell, in grimoire magick, the difference in quality between grimoires. The Keys of Solomon both Lesser and Greater (for example) are both clear on the point that spirits are to be commanded only by first making invocations to the Almighty.
But I digress. In my experience (and this is what I mean by simple solutions) the mere act of aspiring to the Highest First is often enough to cure you of what ails you, even without having to go through the whole rigmarole of going through a full ceremonial magickal operation. For example, the Middle Pillar Ritual – especially when performed on the astral, where the currents of energy can be experienced immediately and directly. Invoking the Highest First is really an essential principle of spiritual and psychic integration in its own right.
So there I was, thinking, “What can I, Alex Sumner, the world’s greatest expert on the occult, do to help the people of London who have been affected by the riots recently? I know: I’ll evoke the demon Andromalius to get all the looters to return the property they have stolen!” So I decided to cast a Horary figure to see whether this was a good idea or not.
And what do you know? The Moon – which, in Horary astrology indicates the circumstances in which the question arises, would not form a major aspect with another planet until after it left the current sign (Capricorn). It would however form several minor aspects, i.e. be inconjunct to a retrograde Mercury, and semi-sextile to Neptune and Caput Draconis.
So here is my dilemma. According to one definition, if the Moon does not form a major aspect to another planet before it leaves the sign it is in, it is said to be “Void of Course” (VOC). If a Horary figure is drawn when the Moon is VOC, the only information it provides is that “Nothing will come of this question” (NB: not “the whole chart is meaningless” – the chart has a meaning, just not a very helpful one). So unless VOC is defined as “any aspect” instead of “any major aspect,” it would appear that the looters have been spared the wrath of Sumner by a Void of Course moon.
(If however the chart is not VOC, I would still be put off because the Lord of the Ascendant – Mercury is not only retrograde, but opposed to retrograde Neptune. Deceit, deception and illusion (retrograde Neptune) are likely to cause my project to go awry (retrograde Mercury)!)
More generally though, when looking at the chart for the day, one notices that there is a Grand Cross featuring four Malefic planets – Mars, Saturn, Pluto (r) and Uranus (r). At the height of the trouble several days ago, the Moon transitted retrograde Pluto!
This could of course be a coincidence … or it could mean that THERE WILL BE FRESH TROUBLE NEXT WEEK – when the Moon transits Uranus. There will also probably be a new development in the phone hacking scandal when it transits the Mercury-Neptune (both retrograde) opposition.