Defining the magical practitioner in antiquity.
Jake Stratton-Kent on goetia.
If language is power, what’s in a name?
A compiled list of resources on pre-Hellenistic magick up until the late 1700s.
The title LeMulgeton combines the titles of two older books, Lemegeton and MUL.APIN. Written in the 17th century, Lemegeton, otherwise known as The Lesser Key of Solomon, contains a list of 72 demons with sigils and instructions for how to summon them, how each of them appears and their relative strengths. MUL.APIN, on the other hand, is the name of a Babylonian compendium on astronomy and astrology that dates back three thousand years.
When LeMulGeton arrived in my home and I unpacked it, I immediately noticed both its small size and beautiful presentation. It comes in a black card box showing the stars of the constellation of Orion in silver and a red wax seal. Inside we find a plain black paperback book with the full title, LEMULGETON: Goetia and the Stellar Tradition written simply on the cover in a bright silvery grey. Simple, but stylish. The box with wax seal adds a touch of unique style. Continue reading
Alan Chapman and Duncan Barford of The Baptist’s Head and Open Enlightenment were kind enough to answer several questions I put to them.
Did you formulate the Core Practice techniques immediately after attaining the Knowledge & Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel [K&C], or did it follow your successful crossing of the Abyss?
ALAN: I attained the K&C using a free-form ritual technique, but I came to develop a simpler method based on Father Thomas Keating’s centred prayer as I persisted in invoking the HGA through the years.
The bare-bones Core Practice described in Alan’s essay bears a strong resemblance to vipassana meditation, and Duncan has mentioned a long-standing interest in Buddhism. In your work, each of you pay homage to Daniel Ingram and his fantastic work. At what point did you pick up the links between wisdom traditions and decide to adopt vipassana into your regular practice? Continue reading
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.’
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”.’
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.’
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.’
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”.’ 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.’
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.’
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.