No. I don't expect anyone to believe anything. Magic is psychological art form not a belief system (unless, of course you consider the concept of 'cause and effect' to be a belief system). I am expecting, however, that you will withhold absolutejudgment about the efficacy of such exercises until such time you actually perform a Goetic evocation for yourself.
I have on numerous occasions, over the last thirty, years evoked a number of the spirits of the Goetia utilizing the basic formula outlined in the Lesser Key of Solomon. I have also taught others to do the same. If success is measured by whether or not the stated purpose of the exercise was regularly achieved, then my personal experiences (and reports from others with whom I've had personal contact) lead me to affirm categorically that this kind of magic does indeed work.
Are the spirits real or imaginary?
I can only offer my personal opinion based upon conclusions I have drawn as the result of my own experiences with this kind of exercise. There are many very knowledgeable individuals who disagree with my assumptions. Some think I've taken the "magic" out of the magic by over analyzing the process and making things too psychological. Others think my views of the art aren't agnostic enough - that my views are naive and overly mystical and romantic.
I offer no rebuttal to either of these charges other than to say, spirits are as real as the powers they personify. To quote my literary alter ego, Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford,65 "The spirits are both real and imaginary - but most of us do not realize how real our imagination is."66
For example; I don't believe in the existence of an objective, tangible entity who lives at the North Pole and flies around the world on Christmas Eve delivering gifts to every
65 Lon Milo DuQuette. The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford. (York Beach, ME: Weiser Books, Inc. 2001)
one - but I know for a fact that there is a real and magical spirit of mad generosity personified merrily in the minds of billions of people as Santa Claus. In fact, each year (during the months when this spirit is at the zenith of its power to possess people) this subjective, intangible spirit is in a very real way responsible for the manifestation of an unimaginable number of material objects and immeasurable wealth and happiness.
But beware! The same letters that spell "Santa" also spell "Satan." This spirit also has a dark and evil side. When not properly understood, evoked, and controlled he can be a cynical and destructive demon who during his icy season routinely brings gifts of family strife, suffocating debt, regret, depression, and suicide.
There are those who agree with the great twentieth-century magician, Aleister Crowley, who wrote in his introduction to Goetia, "The spirits of the Goetia are portions of the human brain."67 While I'm not sure I altogether agree, Mr. Crowley certainly provides us with food for thought. How often have we heard that humans actually use only a tiny percentage of our brains? Who knows what god-like powers we could exercise if we used more of our brains?
Imagine that we could divide that unused part of the brain into seventy-two sections (the seventy-two spirits of the Goetia) - each section a living representative of a specific and unique psychic or intellectual power we are presently not using (the attributes and powers of the spirit). We assign each of those sections a mythological name (i.e., Furfur or Orobas) and a symbol (the seal of the spirit) that we can
gaze upon during altered states of consciousness (induced by the rituals of preparation, the incense, babbling strings of incomprehensible words, etc.) whereby we isolate, activate, and employ that portion of the brain.
Instead of thinking of the spirits as portions of physical brain tissue, however, it might be more accurate (andjust as practical) to view them as portions of the subconscious mind. As the pioneers of quantum physics are suggesting and demonstrating, the influence of the mind transcends the tiny confines of the human cranium and operates on multiple dimensions unencumbered by the limits of time and space. Tinkering with the subconscious mind is in a very real way tinkering with cosmos, and since prehistoric times the people who've tinkered with their subconscious minds the most have been called magicians.
The text says that many of the spirits have very odd and archaic powers that I have absolutely no interest in. If the spirits are merely portions of my brain (or mind) why on earth would I have a section dedicated to fetching horses or attaining prelacies or lighting seeming Candles upon the Graves of the Dead?
It will become immediately obvious to the reader that the text is written in an odd and archaic style. There is a simple reason for this. It is an odd and archaic document. As I mentioned in Chapter Eleven, the original manuscripts date from 1697 and represent updated versions of far older material. Even though the world has changed a lot since then our daily lives are in essence remarkably similar to our ancestors'. We may not have the need of horses, or church honors, or the power to illuminate graves, but we still need a car, career advancement, and some of us occasionally need the wit and eloquence to write and deliver a eulogy.
Selecting the proper spirit to perform the specific task you need is a vital component of the magical operation. Some are very obvious as in the case of #10, Buer, who is said to healeth all distempers. Others are not so obvious and take a little thought and imagination. Being able to recognize your particular problem metaphorically expressed as the power to understand birds, or causing trees to bend at your will is the first step to impressing your subconscious mind with the essence of the issue you need resolved. A "bird" needn't be a crow or a canary. It could be a chattering gossip, or a biology test. The power to "bend a tree" may suggest the ability to overcome stiffresistance to your ideas or proposals.
In the first section of this book you spent a lot of time demonstrating that the Old Testament Patriarchs, David, Solomon and others were not historical characters, yet the Lesser Key of Solomon is filled with references to these characters. Are you asking us to again believe in fables?
Yes and no. Of course these Bible characters and stories are myths and fables. But myths and fables come from (and profoundly affect) the deepest strata of the human psyche. Most of us are happy to suspend our disbelief for a few hours within the dark confines of a movie theatre. That same imaginative ability is the cornerstone of magic - a powerful tool that most of us use only for sex, entertainment and diversion. If used with skill and understanding, however, it is the perfect tool to help us break out of our present narrow stream ofconsciousness.
Recall from Chapter Eleven that I asked you to view these operations not as a magical ceremony but as a psychological exercise - a psychodrama whereby we call forth and isolate previously uncontrolled potentialities within ourselves and redirect their heretofore chaotic energies. The medieval magician didn't think in psychological terms at all. He or she believed quite passionately in the Old Testament God (under a host of names), and the supernatural powers of the Biblical Patriarchs, David and Solomon.
In a way this gave the ancient practitioner a decided advantage over the modern practitioner who must either, a) like a true 'method actor' (or a participant in a roll-playing game) find a way to temporarily step out of the rational flow of consciousness into the classic magical world with its existing rules and characters; or b) somehow create a comparable magical world with a mythological hierarchy that personifies his or her understanding and beliefs.
Both categories can be equally effective. I personally know several Solomonic magicians (including the great modern master of Goetic evocation, Poke Runyon68)
68 Carroll (Poke) Runyon. The Book of Solomon's Magick. (Pasadena, CA: Church ofthe Hermetic Science, Inc., 1996).
who whole-heartedly embrace the art form of the classic Goetic workings. They operate by-the-book and, as much as humanly possible, conform with every instruction found in the text. They wear the proper attire, construct and use the proper magical tools and equipment, observe the proper hours, memorize all the conjurations and constraints -everything. It offends their sense of art (and after all, magic is an art) if the instructions in the classic text are violated. It bolsters their magical confidence to know in their hearts they are doing things just like the ancient practitioners. Doing this is thejyoga - the of their art.
Personally, I fall more easily into category b. My sense of art is not at all offended by amending or discarding portions of the classic text. While I take pains to conform to the basic formula and follow the order of ceremony of the classic system, I've customized everything else to harmonize with my own spiritual worldview. With a little thought anyone else can do the same.
Under what circumstances is it appropriate to evoke a spirit?
Ultimately, only the individual magician can determine when it is or is not appropriate to use Solomonic magic to evoke a spirit. However, my experience of what has and has not worked for me in the past leads me to make the following observations:
First, you must have a problem - a real problem. But before enlisting the aid of spirit to resolve the problem, you must have done everything in your power to take care of the matter by regular means on the physical plane. That's magic too. If your neighbor's thoughtless midnight tuba playing is ruining your sleep, your health, and your ability to stay awake at work - if you've asked him to stop - if you've called the police and they didn't help - if you've tried to enlist the help of other neighbors - if you've marched next door and punched the inconsiderate idiot in his tuba-tooting lip - if you've tried everything right here on earth - then maybe it is time to at least consider a magical remedy. However, if you haven't exhausted all other measures it would be cowardly and unwise to magically tinker with your precious subconscious mind just to force some poor spirit to do your dirty work.
Secondly, the problem you wish resolved must be a personal matter. You can't do magic for someone else. When you formally evoke a spirit you are evoking an adventure. Adventures are not always pleasant and sometimes dangerous, even deadly. At the conclusion of the adventure, however, if you survive, you'll emerge from the experience a better, wiser, braver, cooler person. No one else can take your adventure for you and you cannot take the adventure for someone else. Therefore, your reasons for evoking a spirit must be entirely personal. You wouldn't expect to reap the benefits of psychotherapy by sending someone else to replace you on the analyst's couch.
Thirdly, you must feel totallyjustified in doing what you are about to do. You must have a deep emotional involvement in the matter you wish resolved. If you aren't convinced of your motive - if you aren't reaching to the very bottom of the visceral 'hell' of your frustration - your anger, then you are not touching the level of consciousness where these beasties exist.
Furthermore, once you have evoked it into the Triangle you must be able to consider the spirit Xhe personification of your problem (for in essence that is what it is). You have every reason to be mad at it. The spirit is your problem. It's always been your problem. For the first time in your life you have isolated it and can now focus the full force of your righteous anger and indignation - not at your spouse, not at your boss, not at your kids, or your dog, or the government - but at the real source of your problem. It has to listen to you so you better know what you want to tell it. It's either going to shape up and do what you command or you are going to annihilate it.
My last little word of advice is: "Don't make deals with the spirit." In a very real way you've been unconsciously making deals with the spirit your whole life. That's why you have your problem. The whole ceremony is your formal way of branding your subconscious mind with the idea that you are through making deals with this tangled piece of ignorance,flawed perception,fear, vice, or addiction, (take your pick they're all demons).
Do you see the plot of this psychodrama? Do you see the method to the madness? Once you've voluntarily reprogrammed your subconscious mind with a traumatic little experience like this you become in essence a different person. Different things start happening to you when you become a different person. If all goes well one of those things will be the solution to your problem.
All these lengthy and verbose conjurations, constraints, and curses - Do I have to memorize and recite them? What purpose do they serve?
Obviously, in order to get yourself in a 'place' where the idea of talking to a spirit seems like a perfectly normal thing to do, you must 'be' in an altered state of consciousness. There are lots of ways to induce altered states including the use of psychoactive chemicals, plants, and herbs. While these substances have always had their place in the mystical life of human beings, to the disappointment of many they do not mix well with this kind of magic. The problem stems from the fact that it is very easy to induce an altered state of consciousness by ingesting drugs, it is difficult (if not impossible) to return to objective consciousness at the precise moment in the ceremony when it is vitally important that you do so. This can be a very dangerous situation in which to find oneself. The traditional methods may be less colorful and glamorous (and I mean 'glamorous' in the most magical sense of the term), but they are safer and far more predictable than drugs.
In the same way the modern devotee of Transcendental Meditation repeats a mantra in order to step out of the stream of everyday consciousness, the ancient magician (and the modern Solomonic purist) memorized and recited page upon page of conjurations filled with strings of strange sounding names and magic words. Curiously, these words don't necessarily have to mean anything - in fact, the more corrupt and meaningless the words are the more effective they are in triggering the desired effect upon the magician's consciousness. Eventually, the tedium (even the absurdity of what one is doing) causes the mind to rebel and slip into the desired "space."
In my opinion the modern magician is better served by composing his or her own customized conjuration (or conjurations). For me it is unduly distracting to engage in name dropping of Bible characters I know never existed and deities I don't worship. In either case, the most important element of the conjuration comes at the very beginning where the magician, like the legendary Solomon, affirms his or her connection with Supreme Deity. This is the moment when we consciously insert ourselves in the spiritual hierarchy of the cosmos.
In answer to question #3 you said that you conform to the basic formula and follow the order of ceremony of the classic system. Can you outline the basic formula and order of operation?
The best way for you to determine for yourself what the basic formula and order of ceremony is to first acquaint yourself with the following excerpts from the Lesser Key of Solomon. Then, if you are passionate enough to explore this kind of magic, acquaint yourself with the full text and other material currently available (see Bibliography).
Below is an outline of my basic operating procedure:
Before I begin I ask myself:
1). Do I truly have a good reason to raise the spirit?
2). Do I feel absolutelyjustified in doing so?
3). Do I have a sufficient emotional tie to the object of the operation?
4). Is it my unambiguous will to succeed in the operation?
5). Do I have the courage to plumb the depths of my subconscious 'hell' to achieve my ends?
1). In a clean, uncluttered room, I draw, tape, or otherwise create a Circle approximately nine feet in diam-eter.Just inside the perimeter of the Circle, I write (or place placards displaying) divine names sacred to me.
2). About three feet east of the circle, I draw, tape or otherwise create a Triangle, each side measuring two and a half feet. Upon the sides of the Triangle I write (or place placards displaying) words of power sacred to me.
3). Inside the Triangle, I draw, tape, or otherwise create a circle. In the center of the circle within the Triangle, I place an incense burner, incense, and a paper copy of the seal of the spirit I intend to evoke.
Preparation ofthe Magician
1). Prior to the ceremony I quietly bathe with the full intention of cleansing my body in preparation for this serious work.
2). I put on a clean magical robe or insignia representative of my initiatory grade.
3). I pin to my magical robe a cloth patch or paper bearing the image of the Hexagram of Solomon (representing my connection to the Supreme Consciousness).
4). I arm myself with my magic wand, and place around my neck a medallion displaying the spirit's seal on one side and the Pentagram of Solomon on the reverse (representing among other things my connection to the spirit). I show both sides to the spirit upon its arrival.
1). I remove my footwear and enter the Circle.
2). I ceremonially cleanse the Circle by sprinkling clean water in the east, south, west, and north.
3). I ceremonially consecrate and bless the Circle by elevating a lit candle in the east, south, west, and north.
4). I formally banish the Temple by performing a banishing ceremony with which I am familiar. (Banishing rituals can be found in any elementary work on modern magic.)69
5). I then pause and pray. That is, I quietly center myself and with willful intent make contact with the highest consciousness I am capable of imagining. I visualize myself in the presence of this Supreme Intelligence and when the visualization is strong I invoke that presence into myself so that I feel that I'm a perfect reflection of Deity. This is
69 Lon Milo DuQuette, Tarot of Ceremonial Magick. (York Beach, ME: Weiser Books, 1995). pp. 215 - 217.
Solomon's Secret, and the ceremony should not proceed until this invocation is achieved.
1). From this exalted state of mind I focus my attention on the Triangle and begin my conjuration. (My conjuration is a combination of phrases from the classic text, my own compositions, 'barbarous words of evocation' found in other material, and certain 'Calls" in the angelic tongue known as Enochian.) I repeat the conjuration as many times as necessary to achieve (what I can only describe as) an irrational state of consciousness.
2). I continue until the spirit 'appears.' (Please note that for me the spirit seldom appears to my physical eyes. Its presence is nonetheless unambiguously felt. The sensation of the spirit's presence is often so tangible that the novice often becomes stunned and looses sight of the purpose of the operation.)
3). Even though I consider the spirit to be the cause of my problem, I nonetheless remember it is also the key to the solution. I greet the spirit with cool courtesy upon its arrival.
4). I firmly, yet politely, give it a specific, well-thought-out charge, and demand a positive answer from the spirit that it agrees to perform what I demand. During the ceremony I resist any temptation to amend or otherwise compromise my original demands. (Such thoughts that arise during the ceremony are the spirit's desperate attempt to strike a compromise. The evocation is a formal statement that from now on there'll be no more of that!)
5). Before dismissing it, I remind the spirit that it is now my servant and that if it serves me well, I will see it is raised in spiritual status even as I am raised. However, if it does not serve me well, I will have not any compunction about conjuring it once again, burning its seal and utterly annihilating it.
6). I then give it license to depart, being careful to stipulate that it carry out my orders without harm to me, my loved ones, or any entity living or abstract for whom I hold affection or goodwill.
7). Finally, I banish the Temple as in the beginning, and wait until such time as I cannot feel any residue of the spirit's presence.
1). I do everything I can to 'snap out of it' and return to everyday objective consciousness. (This is why drugs are a horrible idea!) If I can't shake the 'spooky' feeling, I banish again, and again, until I do.
2). I break down the Temple and put everything back in their sacred little containers, including the spirit's seal that was in the Triangle, which I place in a special box that no one else should ever touch.
3). While the experience is still fresh in my mind, I sit down and write a detailed record of the operation in my diary.
Did it work?
The charge to the spirit should have been so worded that I know within a specified time period whether or not the spirit is doing itsjob. Failure of the spirit to perform as promised requires that I evoke it again and issue a threat. Failing again, I re-evoke and torment the spirit in the firebox. Failing again, I re-evoke for the purpose of destroying the seal and the spirit completely.
One shouldn't feel too discouraged if the operation at first appears to be a complete failure. Maybe you don't get your sweetheart - maybe you don't win the lottery. The hell you put yourself through as you wrestle and curse and torture the spirit to comply with your orders is a spiritual adventure par excellent and will teach you things about yourself you never knew before - things you might not be comfortable knowing - things you might want to change - and you will have done it all in the privacy of your own home, without having to abuse, traumatize, or destroy anything more sensitive than a scrap of paper.
Critics of Goetia warn that this kind of magic brings out the worst us. They are absolutely correct - but that's exactly what it is supposed to do - bring out the worst in us so we, like Solomon, may either make it better or expunge it from our lives. I hope that by familiarizing yourself with how the ancient magician went about this work you will understand how to apply the formula of Solomon's Key to your own spiritual quest.
The Demon Belial before King Solomon, (by Jacobus de Teramo)
And ofthe speech ofthe beasts and the birds there was nothing hidden from him, [Solomon] andheforced the devils to obey him by his wisdom.And he did everything by means ofthe skill which Godgave him when he made supplication to Him.
~ Excerpt from The Kebra Nagast Ethiopian Holy BooA;
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It's important to learn about awakening out of the egoic brain and living in the here and now. This book is intended to assist you do just that. The chapters are reminders that may be read in any order. We all need reminders to be more present in our lives to our true experience and brush aside what is damaging and takes away from real happiness, which is the chattering of the egoic mind.