Sunday, November 15, 2009

A New Magickal System

I have been looking over the old grimoires lately, particularly the Lemegeton, or Lesser Key of Solomon. This examination was admittedly stimulated by my readings of the Grimoirum Verum, which shares a few common sources with the Lesser Key. Some may consider the Lesser Key to be corrupted or of questionable value, but I have found it to be a very interesting and a useful source for magickal workings that are part of the magickal system of the Order of the Gnostic Star. As in the Goetia of Dr. Rudd, I have paired the 72 Goetic demons of the first book (Goetia) with the Angels of the ha-Shem, and I have considered both sets of spirits to be part of a zodiacal system of magick, based on the 36 Decans and the 72 Quinarians (10 and 5 degree segments of the 360 degree zodiacal wheel). This system seems to work quite well and allows for a balance of angel to demon within an angelic hierarchy. This, to me, seems a much better approach to working with the Goetic demons if one is going to work with them at all. I have problems with any magickal system that doesn’t attempt to balance aligned spirits. I am also particularly against any device or mechanism that proposes that one form a “pact”, bond or spiritual alignment with demonic spirits without first removing them completely from the infernal hierarchy associated with the Judeo-Christian system. One should also consider worshiping the highest entities in this reclaimed hierarchy as pagan gods, from which they supposedly have been originally derived.

However, I have been puzzling over the second book of the Lemegeton, which is the Theurgia-Goetia. This system is mostly a list of different spirits arranged in a hierarchy, although there are conjurations (in verba ignota) that one could use to evoke them. These spirits are classified as aerial and emanate from specific directions, which requires the magician to place the triangle of evocation at that compass point on the magick circle. Thus the magick circle becomes a kind of compass round that aligns the working to a specific terrestrial direction. The directions occupy positions that are analogous to 32 directions of the winds, although not as carefully differentiated as wind directions became at a date later than this grimoire. The compass round has basically sixteen points, four for each cardinal quadrant, and the spirits fit into these divisions, more or less. (The wandering princes pose a more difficult aspect of this magickal system, since they can be aligned to more than one cardinal direction.)

So basically this magickal system uses the four cardinal directions (with orientations to the four elements), assigning to them the four spirit emperors. Associated with them are other subordinate structures or lists of spirits. The first such division are the 16 dukes (probably grand dukes, to distinguish them from the lesser servitor dukes), who by merit of their number, would most likely be classified as elemental spirits, being variations or qualifications on the four spirit emperors, who represent the pure element.

The second division consists of 48 servitors of the four emperors and the 16 grand dukes. These spirits, by dint of their number, would represent a combination of the four elements and the twelve zodiacal signs, with the ruling planet acting as the planetary intelligence. What we have here is another variation on the talismanic system of combining planets and elements, producing 28 spirits total in that system. In this system we have the signs of the zodiac being qualified by the element and ruling planet, producing a talismanic matrix of 48 cells.

The third division consists of the 11 wandering princes, who are loosely aligned to the four emperors. One could represent this group as being divided into the seven planetary spirits and the four element spirits, as an adjunct to the elemental and planetary system represented by this overall system of magick. There is an implied relationship to the ruling planets of the 48 sub-dukes as well as a relationship to the elemental system that is the principle organizing factor in this system of magick.

There are also quite a number of servitors associated with the sixteen grand dukes, and each seems to have a different number of these, thus naming only a handful out the large array of possible spirits. These entities may be used in conjunction with the grand dukes or ignored as just more divisions that might not be significant. The basic premise used by me is that each spirit belongs to a specific cell that has a correspondence to elements, zodiacal signs and planets, so the spirit can be defined by the qualification of the cell that it occupies. Lacking a structure to define spirits makes it more difficult to either conjure or work with in the structures of ritual magick that I use.

To recap: There are four distinct but related groups in the system magick found in the Theurgia Goetia.

  • 4 Ruling Emperors - corresponding to the four base Elements and cardinal directions.
  • 16 Grand Dukes - corresponding to the 16 Elementals and associated compass directions
  • 48 Dukes - corresponding to the 12 Zodiacal Signs and four Elements with ruling planet (talismanic system)
  • 11 Wandering Princes - corresponding to the Undecigram of seven planets and four elements, representing spiritual aspects found in all of the above three groups.

One other factor to consider is that some of the spirits are thought to be good and others are malefic or destructive. The malefic spirits are not to be confused with infernal spirits and the Lemegeton makes this distinction. The spirits listed in this work come from the list of demons found in the Steganographia, a work attributed to Trithemius (circa 1500 CE). It would seem to me that these spirits, some or all of which are reputed to be demons, are probably more likely to be unaligned than aligned. This is because if they were aligned, then they would be either all good or all evil, not a mixture of both. What might explain this ambiguity is that the spirits themselves are unaligned, and can therefore potentially be used to cause good or ill, particularly if the spirit represents forces in nature that are volatile or destructive. So I would classify these spirits as unaligned, making them analogous to other element based entities, such as those found in the Enochian system of magick.

What I am intending to do with this system is to build an alternative elemental magickal system that will incorporate these spirits, using them in tandem or alternately with the Elemental spirits of the Enochian system of magick. I would assume that the Enochian calls would work with them as well, since they are established in groupings analogous to the four elements, just like the Enochian system of elemental spirits. So I will need to take the seals and various conjurations and put them into a defined context, such as I have outlined above, and use variations of my existing lore to evoke them. However, with the 48 sub-dukes and the 11 wandering princes, I have discovered a completely new magickal system to incorporate into the lore the Order.

Frater Barrabbas

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