Monday, June 4, 2018

The Lesser Key of Solomon: Ars Goetia


The Goetia is part of a longer work called The Lesser Key of Solomon (also known as Clavicula Salomonis Regis or Lemegeton), which is a collection of medieval grimoires compelled in the mid-17th century. However, the materials in it date back to centuries before the book. Attributed metaphorically to King Solomon. It is divided into five books: The Ars Goetia, Ars Theurgia, Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria. 

Ars Goetia has its main focus centered around the seventy-two demons. It is an excellent source in demonology. It was an early favorite of Crowley’s and his version is still the most popular one to this day.

Etymology
The Ancient Greek word γοητεία (goēteía) means "charm, sorcery", from γόης (góēs) "sorcerer, wizard" (plural: γόητες góētes). The meaning of "sorcerer" is attested in a scholion, or commentary, referring to the Dactyli, a mythical race, stating that according to Pherecydes of Syros and Hellanicus of Lesbos, those to the left are goētes, while those to the right are deliverers from sorcery. The word may be ultimately derived from the verb γοάω "groan, bewail" (goáō). Derivative terms are γοήτευμα "a charm" (goḗteuma, plural γοητεύματα goēteúmata) and γοητεύω "to bewitch, beguile" (goēteúō).

Γοητεία was a term for the magic in the Greco-Roman world. Its Latinized form is goëtia; in the 16th century, English adopted it as goecie or goety (and the adjectival form goetic), via French goétie.


The Ars Goetia
The Ars Goetia is the first section of the Lesser Key of Solomon, containing descriptions of the seventy-two demons that Solomon is said to have evoked and confined in a bronze vessel sealed by magic symbols, and that he obliged to work for him. 

The Ars Goetia assigns a rank and a title of nobility to each member of the infernal hierarchy, and gives the demons "signs they have to pay allegiance to", or seals. 

The lists of entities in the Ars Goetia correspond (to high but varying degree, often according to edition) with those in Johann Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum an appendix appearing in later editions of his De praestigiis daemonum, of 1563.

A revised English edition of the Ars Goetia was published in 1904 by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley as The Goetia which is based on manuscripts from the British Museum, with additions by Crowley, including a Preliminary Invocation drawn from Goodwin's Fragment of a Graeco-Egyptian Work upon Magic, and the essay The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic. It is not a faithful edition of the source manuscripts but contains several innovations, including some evocations in Enochian written by Crowley. In his introduction, Crowley argues that the work of demonic evocation is merely a form of psychological self-exploration. It has since become a relatively well-known book of magic and has even been featured in places like the graphic novel Promethea by Alan Moore, James Blish's novel Black Easter, and Kevin Kauffmann's Forsaken Comedy trilogy.

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