Those who have read my Modern Goetic Grimoire understand that "Goetia" is not a single grimoire, it is a path like any other, a philosophy, an approach to magic that is its own tradition, and extends back in time a lot longer than the Golden Dawn or even traditional Kabbalistic magical systems. If I were to ditch everything else and go fully Goetic in my practices, it wouldn't be any different than devoting myself to systems like Enochian, Trithemian, or even the Golden Dawn.
The demonization of the practice of Goetia is wrong at a philosophical and fundamental level. It's not historically accurate, either. Traditional Goety includes the conjuration of the celestial and the chthonic, gods and daimons, as well as ancestors, saints, and the shades of the dead. Santeros, Paleros, and Brujos today practice a similar magic to what was historically considered "Goetic" and they suffer the same kind of intellectual harassment Goetic magicians in the time of Iamblichus suffered. The Temple Priests didn't like that the commoners were conjuring gods and spirits to help people. They didn't like the competition. It's the same thing that the Church did to Witchcraft. The priests weren't tending the daily needs of their parishoners, so they turned to people who would. The Establishment doesn't like competition, and they created doxology to demonize the practices that focused on meeting the mundane needs of the people, food, sex, shelter, and prosperity.
Any system that is complete will address not only your spiritual relationship with God, that is, your relative position to God however he manifests to you, but also your physical relationship to the world around you. Religion tends to be overly weighted towards the spiritual side of things and eternity. The Lemegeton's Goetia tends to be overly weighted towards the temporal and physical side of things. The true practice of Goety is a balance of both. Blaming Goetia for my fire is a really shallow and expedient thing to do.
Look at what happened to Voudoun when Haiti had their earthquake. It got blamed for the catastrophe. Thousands of people every year benefit from Voudoun, but is anyone trumpeting the success in the face of pointed criticism? Is anyone blaming an occult pact between Satan and Chile for the latest earthquake? How about Indonesia and their Tsunami?
Goetia is a system of magic that can be very fulfilling. You can accomplish the West's "Great Work" using Goety, no matter what Agrippa and Iamblichus said about it. It's not easy, it takes self-discipline, and a strong connection to the Source. Just like any other form of magic. It helps a lot to have the HGA around too. Just like any other form of magic.
Focusing on the terrestrial and Chthonic aspects will result in a lot of opportunities for growth, but gold and silver are refined by going through the fire, not by sitting there in the ore. Anyone attempting to focus on Goetic magic as a spiritual system of growth will need to include the celestial aspects as well, and some form of relationship with the Highest in order to make real progress, in my opinion, but there are ample opportunities in the system for that exact purpose. The same pitfalls are in Goetia that are in the Golden Dawn or Thelema or Hasidic Judaism.
Pride, fear, anger, greed, lead to the Dark Side they do.It's a HUMAN thing. The spirits of the Lemegeton's Goetia have a bad reputation. But when you really look at what's going on in the fiascoes that people say "prove" that the spirits are really "demons," you'll see a lot of blame shifting and avoidance of responsibility.
I've had too many positive results from the spirits of the Goetia to say they are inherently dangerous to work with by nature. Even the fire in the house was a success, if you judge solely on the basis of whether I got what I asked for. They are incredibly effective at what they do. They just have to be handled with care.
The same is true of any system of magic. Members of the Supernatural Assistant course went through hell to get their HGA contact. Tiphareth initiations are symbolized by the Cross because you feel like you're being fucking crucified. You really do die to yourself, and no one can understand what that means until they've been through it.
My experience with the Goetia doesn't support the idea that the system itself is corrosive. I've worked with all the ranks of the spirits, and have conjured 21 of the 72 spirits of the Lemegeton's Goetia at last count, most on more than one occasion. My house only burned down once. Yeah, it sucks, but statistically, it's not a bad record. I'm getting my basement remodeled into a single master bedroom, my kitchen upgraded to granite counter tops and steel appliances, new carpeting, all the hardwood floors refinished and sealed, and new paint in every room in the house. I got rid of 10 years worth of useless accumulated crap that I've learned I really don't need to live. I'm more responsible and mature than I've ever been in my life. Patterns of behavior have changed, and are continuing to change. I see the world differently, and my life today is better than it has ever been. I spent Sunday playing with my kids instead of crouched over a computer screen typing about my latest conjuration for lottery winnings, or a new job. I'm enjoying the wealth I already have instead of trying to go after some imagined state of existence that probably doesn't exist. I'm more aware of how wealthy I really am than I've ever seen before.
And that's all the result of my Work with the Goetia. Is that bad?
"Yeah, but your house burned down!"
Thank God! That's what it took! Shit that's been wearing me down and killing all my progress for years came to the surface where it had to be addressed. It took a house fire to teach me that. That's how stubborn and ignorant I can be. Do I now say it was evil? Hell no.
And you can't either. You don't know me, or what I think or do while I'm away from the computer, really. You don't know where I was at with my relationship to God, or the level of initiation I was at. You don't know what the spirits were putting me through in their efforts to accomplish an overall grand and good plan that was hatched in the Mind of God for my personal benefit. You don't know enough to form an accurate opinion that applies to me.
You can look at what I say, what I've been through, and form your own opinion about how you would deal with things differently or the same, but be careful not to fall into the trap of demonizing Goetia just because bad things happened to me. I already posted about Michael costing me my job and Tzadqiel getting me a job that paid less. Some day I'll write about the conjuration of the Elemental Princes, and yes, it was painful going through each of the elemental kingdoms, but yes, it was also worth it.