Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Waking up from the Goetic Sleep

Have you noticed how quick people are to blame the spirits in Goetia when things go badly? I've never seen any system so quick to get booted to the curb in spite of previous successes. Magicians can have years of good results with a spirit, but if they have one bad experience, all the spirits of the system are bad bad bad.

There are so many assumptions and prejudices surrounding these spirits that the skills required to use them effectively, consistently may never be gained, documented, and disseminated to the occult community. It's annoying as hell. If people shelved Angelic Magic, Planetary Magic, or even your average Pagan conjurations of Hekate every time they had a ritual provide results they didn't like, no one would do any magic at all.

Jake Stratton-Kent has said for years that the line between angels and demons is thin indeed. When you look at the gnostic texts, as he points out recently on the Solomonic yahoo group, it's not only the alleged "angels" that are demonized, but God himself. Yet magicians are perfectly fine working with the Angels. He points out that Cassiel, Archangel of Saturn, is listed as a demon in Barrett's The Magus, and that Uriel and various "angels" associated with Venus also have a "Dubious history."

I think the problem is that doing magic is simple, but learning to do it well takes time, practice, patience, research, and perseverance. A quickness to retreat from the system at the first sign of trouble is damaging to the magical art in general, and is a disservice to magicians of the future. The prejudice around the Lem's Spirits is largely unwarranted. Sure, they may burn your house down if you're stupid enough to say, "Do whatever it takes to get me this money, just don't hurt anyone," but stupid gets what stupid puts out. It's a Spir'tual Law.

I believe magicians have been lulled into a deep sleep when it comes to the Goetia. The idea that they're "demons" has left people with a blind spot. There's a great deal of negative expectation around it, but little actual evidence to support it. "I used Goetia, and it didn't stay forever exactly as I wanted it when things changed," or "I used Goetia for years, and then I had a bad experience so they're all evil and bad" are pretty standard. I don't get how people can just toss out their success with the system so easily.

The really funny part though? When things go well with Goetia, it's because the magicians are following the grimoire's instructions properly, or are psychically shielded, or somehow appropriately initiated, or otherwise prepared the way a good magician should be, but if things go badly, the spirits themselves are somehow corrupt, kick you when you're down, or are "corrosive."

But not everyone will agree with me, or Jake. Hell, I barely agree with Jake on some things, even though our theologies are nearly identical. Except for that whole "Jesus" thing. I know that Jason Miller is nearly correct when he says, "you would be hard pressed to find a magician that thought that you would have just as much problem with an Archangel as with a Sub Lunary Spirit." I say "nearly" because I only have to go to the mirror to find a magician who thinks this is true, and it's based on hard-won experience. I trust that mirror guy, he's seen some shit in his time.

Objectively speaking, I've had at least as many, if not more positive results that I was happy with after Working the so-called demons as I've had with alleged Angels. I've been disappointed more with the Angels, but mostly because when I want something badly enough to do magic about it, I want the results like fucking yesterday, man! Not in a couple of weeks.


Anyway, the whole "Angels are good, Demons are baaaaaa-aaaaad" bullshit has to come to an end. Wake up, magicians! See the systems without the "demonic" filters over your eyes!  Scrub that sleep-crusted snot from your eyeballs and take a good, clean, honest look at Goetia. It ain't so bad.


  1. I had a dream during my most recent Mars involution, in which I felt compelled to buy a rather gloomy building with a square, fenced courtyard. The sign afixed to the building was labeled "Goetic Retirement Home" although it wasn't clear whether it was the Spirits who had retired, or the magicians. Also on the sign was a list of men who had entered the building, never to be seen again...
    Such was my Goetia inspired sleep.

  2. "I've been disappointed more with the Angels, but mostly because when I want something badly enough to do magic about it, I want the results like fucking yesterday, man! Not in a couple of weeks."

    Emergency Magic is bad magic. i will comment once more on Goetia in my blog some point over the next couple days.

  3. Jason, I was afraid I might have jumped the shark, but I had like three drafts of this post written.

  4. Now we just need a five page paper on how people have vilified the Qliphot and you'll be headed in the right direction! *ducks*

  5. Fr. R.O. = Genius. 'Nuff said. Cheers!

  6. I think the negativity that surrounds systems like Goetia has to do with the perception that the spirits primarily are concerned with changing circumstance, rather than changing character. This is compounded by the perception that magicians who are overly interested in Goetia seem to be obsessed with obtaining things.

    To be honest, anyone who's read your blog for a while can see this in action. Is it the fault of the system? I don't know. It's at least half the fault of the magician. It's just easy to gain a perception that there is a correlation between Goetia and thing-obsessed magicians.

    To be clear, I'm not of the opinion that "real magic" is only used to "be one with God" or any other altruism that are commonly heard on the internet. I'm of the opinion that if there are aspects of our lives that we aren't happy with (and hence go asking spirits to [temporarily] fix for us), it's because there is a flaw in our character that has led to behaviors that have created those circumstances. Nothing will change with any permanency until the character flaw is addressed and corrected on a personal level.

    The fact that some people choose to ignore the correction of their character, or put it as secondary to "fixing" their circumstances, speaks to the denial that we all can very easily fall into, when supporting a certain philosophy (e.g. Goetia is great) becomes more important than becoming more effective actors in the world.

  7. The Lemegeton spirits have been good to me when I've worked with them intelligently, but when I have not, only the Enochian angels have kicked my ass harder (they also strongly prefer that the protocols be followed). Well, them and Pluto when worked with in astrological magic . . . I still haven't figured out what went wrong there. I can't recall non-Enochian angelic magic ever giving me any problems.

    When other people have sent Lemegeton spirits to influence me, the sensation was of nausea, vomiting, headache, obsession . . . I don't see an angel doing *that* to someone, unless maybe it was of the nature of Saturn, and even then I've never personally had that kind of trouble.

    I'm still willing to work with the Lemegeton spirits though, I just don't think portraying them as being similar to angels is accurate.



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