Brief History of The Goetia

Occult Book With Inverted Pentacle or Pentagram On Cover

Solomon’s Key was written in the mid-17th century, mostly from centuries-old material. In 1904, Aleister Crowley edited and published King Solomon’s Book of Goetia by King Solomon. This section was later translated by Samuel Liddell McGregor Mathers and published in 1904 as The Book of Goetia by Aleister Crowley. Aleister Crowley plays with readers by ironically positioning Goetia as a mental exercise. Crowley added several additional spells previously unrelated to the Little Key of Solomon (including some from the Book of Enoch), as well as articles describing the rituals as psychological studies rather than to perform works of demonic summons.

The descriptions of the 72 demons in The Lesser Key of Solomon are taken from Ars Goetia, which differs in number and rank from Weyer’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum. The demons Vassago, Syre, Dantalion, and Andromalius are new additions to the Lesser Key of Solomon that are not present in the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, one of the infamous grimoires on which it is based. The Latin term goetia refers to the summoning of demons or evil spirits.

Though in my modern occult experience the energy of the goetic spirits cannot be simply categorized into “good” or “evil,” because these are flawed human perspectives. How can one categorize or understand a being that is beyond ability of the human to comprehend said energy. This is akin to a 2D drawing attempting to comprehend and understand a 3D object. Many of the “demons” found in Goetia were first published in the 16th century by Johann Wier.

The Ars Theurgia Goetia is derived mainly from Trithemiuss Steganographia, although the seals and the order of the spirits differ due to a garbled transmission through the manuscript. Indeed, Ars Goetia seems to depend more on the Scottish translation of Johannes Weyers than on Weyers’ work itself.

Ars Goetia, the first of the five books that make up the Lemegeton, is one of the most infamous grimoires of modern occult studies. For some reason, the later parts of the Lesser Key, such as Ars Theurgia Goetia (invoking the neutral wind spirits) and Ars Paulina (invoking the lesser angels of the zodiac and the hours of the day), take much less time. It is important to distinguish goetic magic or sorcery from psychic magic or contact with the gods. You can travel around the world of Goetia as much as you like, and if you get stuck, return and explore another area. 

Want to work with the Goetic Spirits?

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