Review: Aleister Crowley’s Illustrated Goetia, by Lon Milo DuQuette and Christopher S. Hyatt

By Psyche | January 30, 2004

Aleister Crowley’s Illustrated Goetia: Sexual Evocation, by Lon Milo DuQuette and Christopher S. Hyatt, illustrated by David P. Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561840483, 236 pp., 1992, 2000

‘What Goetia is – is the releasing of yourself from your won fears and illusions by direct confrontation.’1

According to tradition, the Goetia is the first book in the Lemegaton attributed to Solomon the King, though likely compiled by a host of authors. Goetic evocation deals with the summoning of the seventy-two lesser spirits and demons. In this edition, based on Crowley’s Goetia, DuQuette and Hyatt strip away all unnecessary trappings and cut through most of the ‘fooltraps’ designed to dissuade less astute practitioners.

Traditionally, Goetic evocation calls for strict observance of many details, such as the correct ritual hours, lengthy calls, and an inordinate amount of ceremonial trappings. The authors tell the reader what one can safely do away with, and what can be altered as preference dictates. However, there are some items that the authors do believe are required for the successful (and safer) evocation of the Goetic spirits, including a list of ‘must haves’ with detailed explanations and personal anecdotes as to why they are necessary. Noting ‘that there is absolutely no necessity (nor particular advantage) to blindly conforming with the Conjuration scripts of the ancient texts. The Spirits are no more impressed of you say “thee” and “thine” than they are if you say “you” and “yours”.’2

Goetic spirits ‘will work for anyone who knows how to use them. This is one of the horrors people attribute to Goetic workings. You “don’t have to be respectable” for Goetia to work for you. Unlike other magical workings there is no implication that the operator has to be “good” and “holy” to achieve results. This idea in itself violates our model of “right” and “wrong”, “just” and “unjust”. In the Goetic world like in the real world the “bad” can and do prosper. Thus our belief in the moral orders of the Universe appears violated by the simple existence of Spirits who will do the bidding of anyone.’3

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Though they will work for anyone, the authors caution that one ‘must be completely convinced that your demands are absolutely justified. (And don’t think we are invoking the great demon “morality” here. An unnecessary motive is an unworthy motive – pure and simple). When you are truly justified in your demands then you have the momentum of the entire universe behind you.’4

Further cautioning and confirming that ‘yes, they are dangerous,’ DuQuette and Hyatt explain that ‘while they remain unmastered they can surface unbidden and wreak all havoc modern psychology blames on “things hidden in the subconscious mind”.’5 As well as a few delightfully thrilling personal anecdotes.

There are a few changes, namely the elimination of lengthy calls in preference for Thelemic invocations from Liber Samech by Crowley, Enochian calls, etc. As well, ‘for the convenience of the modern reader’ the authors have translated information regarding each of the seventy-two Goetic spirits into modern understanding and Crowleyan associations, and ‘where obvious, returned certain Spirits to their original gender.’6

Sketches accompany each of the seventy-two spirits, illustrated by artist-clairvoyant David P. Wilson, a practicing Goetic magickian. ‘Over a period of 15 years, he has evoked each of the Spirits at least once…But it is very important for you to remember that, because no two people have the same visual-emotional “vocabulary”, the images of the Goetic universe will be unique to each of us.’ The authors caution the reader not to ‘think that these sketches are what you must see when evoking any particular Spirit,’ instead explaining that ‘they are intended to serve only as springboards to your imagination.’7

Though with such a short section on sex magick, I don’t know that it really deserves the ‘Sexual Evocation’ subtitle as there are really only a few pages on it at the rear of the text.

Aimed at those actually interested in actually practicing magick rather than simply reading about it, it gives unambiguous description of what tools are required and the methods of evocation and, briefly, of sexual invocation, cutting through the superfluous and get right to what is necessary. An excellent introduction to Goetic magick as Crowley practiced it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Footnotes:
  1. pg 10 []
  2. pg 45 []
  3. pg 14 []
  4. pg 37 []
  5. pg 24 []
  6. pg 43 []
  7. pg 72 []