My thoughts on the Goetia

The Goetia is a subject that, to my surprise, has gone under the radar on my blog, despite my personal interest in demons. One would think the subject of Goetia and whether or not it has any relevance to Satanic practice (at least as I see it) would be a very good subject of discussion on my blog sooner rather than later.

A Goetic circle

The basic idea behind Goetic magic is to conjure demons to the bidding of the magician. This involves invoking the names of Jehovah or his angels to keep the demon from leaving the circle or to keep the demon bound to the will of the magician.

I personally do not care about the Goetia very much. To me, it’s about binding demons to your will and making them obey your will in the name of Jehovah, which I feel would be very out of place in Satanic ritual practice if you choose to work with demons, even if you don’t believe in demons as literal or external beings. Since Satanism would imply a positive attitude towards Satan, wouldn’t it make sense that it might also imply a positive attitude towards the devils and demons traditionally associated with Satan? Therefore, seeking to make demons obey you like a master seems not merely out of place, but it kind of makes you the asshole in whatever relationship you might try to build with them. In fact, many theistic Satanists and demonolaters are likely to view the Goetia as disrespectful towards the spirits they endeavor to summon because the aim for Goetic magic is to make a demon do your bidding, and I think I can agree with that. Ultimately it evokes the prejudices and ideas present in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which aren’t exactly helpful.

The notion of binding demons to do your bidding is very much in keeping the Testament of Solomon’s story of King Solomon binding demons to his will in order to build the temple in Jerusalem. Solomon conjured demons and made them obey his commands by means of a magic ring given to him by the archangel Michael, and the demons supposedly tell Solomon the angels who exist to counter them. The Testament might offer a fantastic story depending on your point of view, and it certainly gives me more demons to draw in my spare time, but ultimately the narrative is not useful for those who have a positive attitude towards the demonic. I can’t help but wonder if, when Solomon died, all the demons he bound to his will attacked him in the afterlife for enslaving them with that ring of his.

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11 responses to “My thoughts on the Goetia

  1. I’ve just started reading it too. I think the main problem is that we will never really know what the true text is, as its been added and amended to over the centuries.

  2. I’m reading the Testament of Solomon and Crowleys Gotiea. But I can’t help but raise a wry smile at the thought of the good king being harried through eternity by hacked off demons!

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