Goetia (Charm in the Greek language) refers to a practice which includes the Invocation of angels or the Evocation of demons, and usage of the term in English largely derives from the 17th century grimoire Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis, or The Lesser Key of Solomon. Also sometimes seen as Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis Regis (The Lesser Key of King Solomon), or also sometimes known as simply The Lemegeton.
The Ars Goetia
The Ars Goetia refers to the first section of King Solomon's grimoire, and contains 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. It gives instructions on constructing a similar bronze vessel, and using the proper magic formulae to safely call up those demons. The operation given is complex, and includes much detail. The Ars Goetia differs from other goetic texts in that the entities summoned are to be compelled into obedience, rather than asked for favors.
It deals with the evocation of all classes of spirits, evil, indifferent and good; its opening Rites are those of Paimon, Orias, Astaroth and the whole cohort of Infernus. The second part, or Theurgia Goëtia, deals with the spirits of the cardinal points and their inferiors. These are mixed natures, some good and some evil. Arthur Edward Waite, Book of Ceremonial Magic(page 65)
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 the Steganographia of Trithemius, circa 1500, and 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 magician Aleister Crowley, and it serves as a key component of his popular and highly influential system of magick. It has since become a relatively well-known book of magic (arguably, the most popular of the grimoires) and has even been featured in places like the graphic novel Promethea by Alan Moore or James Blish's novel Black Easter. It should be noted that it is here in the introduction to this translation that Crowley argues that the work of demonic evocation is merely a form of psychological self-exploration, as the result of any evocation would be a phenomena whose cause would be as much the human brain as any sight, sound, taste, or touch is.
The 72 Demons
The demons' names (given below) are spelled differently in different extant copies of the Ars Goetia, as is common in texts of the period. Other spellings of the names are given in the articles concerning them.
1. King Bael
26. Duke Bune
51. King Balam
- Garstin, E. J. Langford. Theurgy or The Hermetic Practice: A Treatise on Spiritual Alchemy. Berwick: Ibis Press, 2004. (Published posthumously)
- S. L. MacGregor Mathers (ed.), Samuel Liddell (trans.), The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King. York Beach, ME : Samuel Weiser (1995) ISBN 0-87728-847-X.
- The term plays a certain role in the discussion of magic in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, because it appears in an unsent letter draft (Letters, no. 155), apparently in a sense corresponding to sanwe-latya, but it was not used by Tolkien in any other known instance.
In Popular Culture
- In the Dungeons & Dragons supplemental book Tome of Magic, published by Wizards of the Coast, some of the demons in the list above are used as the basis for the vestiges of the Binder class.
- In the Brazilian role-playing game Arkanun, published by Daemon Editora, Ars Goetia is used as basis for the pantheon of demons.
- In the Anime/Manga "Hellsing", the symbols on Alucard's gloves bear a striking resemblance to Goetic seals.
- One of the main villains in the Japanese version of the PS2 game, Tales of Destiny 2, is Barbatos Goetia.
- In the PS2 RPG game, Shadow Hearts Covenant, the player has the opportunity to complete a map with demon crests. The map is called the Key of Solomon and the crests all match in design to the goetic Demon Seals as described as Solomon.
- In the role-playing game Mage: The Awakening, goetic demons are "inner demons" - embodiments of a mage's vice. Goetia is the practice of binding and controlling these demons, and thus confronting one's flaws directly.
- Several of these demons appear in Castlevania as various lesser enemies, particularly in Portrait of Ruin.
- In the popular children's TV show Yu-gi-oh, the main villains in the "Waking the Dragons" chapter use a card called "The Seal of Orichalcos", the symbols around the edge of which are goetic in origin. However, the villains claim to be Atlantean, and it is also rumored that Goetia is of Atlantean Origin.
- In the fantasy book Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright, several Goetic demons are mentioned as the familiars of the warlock Quentin Nemo, and the descriptions of their appearances and powers match those in Crowley's version.