Ars Goetia of Abramelin

by May 12, 20140 comments

About the Ars Goetia of Abramelin and Solomon

The Ars Goetia are only known through the Abra-Melin and the Solomonic texts, but they give a fragmentary and misleading view of these spirits. Magicians claim to have ‘invoked’ the Goetia, but they offer precious little insight that can not be found in these texts. Some of what Abra-Melin and Solomon is useful, but the problem is sorting out the wheat from the chaff. First we have to realise that the origins of the Goetia are in the Middle East, and the word for Spirit in Arabic is Jinn. Goetia is supposed to mean ‘howling’, and I think it refers not to the screams of the spirits, but to the Islamic Call to Prayer as heard by medieval Westerners, who lacked any kind of comprehension and insight.

Here is your chance to see a different view on the Ars Goetia. The first section is a Western viewpoint as experienced by me. Then there is the Jinn. Finally, you can read an essay commissioned by Scarlet Imprint for Howlings, a book on the Goetia. Since there were only 333 copies printed, and they instantly sold out, you are very unlikely to come across a copy.

Much of what is written about the Goetia is wrong. Unfortunately, until more magicians and mystics are able to contact and work with the Goetia effectively and productively, things are not likely to change very quickly. These pages represent what I consider to be the useful insights about the Goetia. First off, the names may be significant, but they have no doubt been distorted, for whatever reason, to give analysis with gematria almost useless. It is possible to guess at some meanings, but that does not necessarily take us further.

Significance of Seventy-Two

The number 72 is clearly astrologically significant, so that should be our primary focus. 72 is not divisible by 10, so there is no correspondence to the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, which makes any attempt in that direction pointless. Besides, the Golden Dawn members who created those correspondences seemed not to grasp the basics of astrology. 72 is a significant number for the precession of the equinoxes, which suggests that the primary function of the Goetia is Change and transformation. 360 divided by 72 leaves 5, which has sinister connotations with Geburah on the Tree of Life, but in just about every other tradition around the world, 5 represents life.

It is quite possible that each Spirit represents one degree, starting with 0 Aries, then repeating the cycle five times. Thus, in a 24 hour period each spirit will appear on the eastern horizon for four minutes five times a day. Equally, we can see that the Sun will pass through a degree associated with a Spirit every day. The Golden Dawn chose to start the astrological year in Leo, but since we know their astrology is suspect, there is no reason not to go back to the Vernal Equinox as the starting point.

My own experience is that the Goetia can appear at any time of the day or night, and the same spirit can appear on several consecutive days, or a week or two later, so in many respects there are no real time constraints. It may be that the tattwa tides have something to do with things, but I have not investigated this aspect. In some of the descriptions of the spirits, they are supposed to materialise when the Sun is in Sagittarius, for example. but there does not seem to be an astrological correspondence.

Astrological system of the Goetia

There is no astrological system that uses 5 degree or quinances, so we do not have anything to correspond to. The closest is to divide the 36 decanates into two. This is how the Golden Dawn came up with the idea of Day or Night Goetia, fudging the system by by giving each Spirit 10°, completing the day cycle with Stolas, and starting the night cycle with Phenex.

My own experiences with Tarot and the Opening of the Key spread show to me that the Goetia respond to the correspondences to the 36 Minor Arcana cards. I take this to mean that the Goetia find it convenient to use the Tarot convention, and not any implicit rulership.

Are the Courtly titles needed?

What else is spurious? In my view, the attributions of the planets and metals is arbitrary, so they can be discarded, as well as the courtly titles of King, Prince, Duke, Earl, etc. The Goetia may well rule over legions of spirits, but the numbers have no meaning, and I have had no indication from the spirits themselves of any significance.

Since we have dropped the Tree of Life as a practical cosmological model for the Goetia, the cthonic concept of demonism and hell have no place. On a similar subject, how will we apply any kind of elemental attribution? The natural division of 5 immediately suggests the four elements plus spirit, which would give a harmonious balance. In that case it behoves the magician to be elementally balanced himself.

Abandoning the Tree of Life also means that the conjurations are in trouble – is that why the Goetia are so difficult to invoke? I think so. Since so much GD inspired magical praxis comes from the theory of the Tree of Life the usefulness of the magickal weapons, pentagon and hexagon rituals comes into question.

Goetic experience is mystical.

You might be surprised to learn that I find the traditional descriptions of the appearance of the Spirits invaluable, not for any particular insight into the nature of the Spirit in question, but purely for identification purposes. Quite simply, the Goetia choose to appear in the way we expect so we can easily name them. Personally, I also find that their name appears in my mind at the same time. This brings me to another point:

It is better to have all the 72 Spirits present, and then have one of the spirits come forward for the work to be accomplished.

So, rather than try to work out what Spirit to ‘invoke ‘ from the descriptions of their powers, which are not always particularly useful, it is better to simply articulate what needs to be done in the Company of the Spirits, and allow them to decide the best method. I have found that once a rapport has built up, Goetic spirits will spontaneously offer their services. Sometimes it is the Goetia themselves who need the help of the Magician!

In the table below, I have given the traditional attributions of the Minor Arcana with the concomitant connection to the decanates of day and night. This system works well, but it is also quite possible that the quinances will become useful.

No.NameQuinances of AstrologyTarot
1Bael0 to 5° of Aries2 of Wands
2Agares5 to 10° of Aries3 of Wands
3Vassago10 to 15° of Aries4 of Wands
4Gamigin15 to 20° of Aries5 of Disks
5Marbas20 to 25° of Aries6 of Disks
6Valefor25 to 30° of Aries7 of Disks
7Amon0 to 5° of Taurus8 of Swords
8Barbatos5 to 10° of Taurus9 of Swords
9Paimon10 to 15° of Taurus10 of Swords
10Buer15 to 20° of Taurus2 of Cups
11Gusion20 to 25° of Taurus3 of Cups
12Sitri25 to 30° of Taurus4 of Cups
13Beleth0 to 5° of Gemini5 of Wands
14Leraje5 to 10° of Gemini6 of Wands
15Eligos10 to 15° of Gemini7 of Wands
16Zepar15 to 20° of Gemini8 of Disks
17Botis20 to 25° of Gemini9 of Disks
18Bathin25 to 30° of Gemini10 of Disks
19Sallos0 to 5° of Cancer2 of Swords
20Purson5 to 10° of Cancer3 of Swords
21Marax10 to 15° of Cancer4 of Swords
22Ipos15 to 20° of Cancer5 of Cups
23Aim20 to 25° of Cancer6 of Cups
24Naberius25 to 30° of Cancer7 of Cups
25Glasya-Labolas0 to 5° of Leo8 of Wands
26Bune5 to 10° of Leo9 of Wands
27Ronove10 to 15° of Leo10 of Wands
28Berith15 to 20° of Leo2 of Disks
29Astaroth20 to 25° of Leo3 of Disks
30Forneus25 to 30° of Leo4 of Disks
31Foras0 to 5° of Virgo5 of Swords
32Asmoday5 to 10° of Virgo6 of Swords
33Gaap10 to 15° of Virgo7 of Swords
34Furfur15 to 20° of Virgo8 of Cups
35Marchosias20 to 25° of Virgo9 of Cups
36Stolas25 to 30° of Virgo10 of Cups
37Phenex0 to 5° of Libra2 of Wands
38Halphas5 to 10° of Libra3 of Wands
39Malphas10 to 15° of Libra4 of Wands
40Raum15 to 20° of Libra5 of Disks
41Focalor20 to 25° of Libra6 of Disks
42Vapar25 to 30° of Libra7 of Disks
43Sabnock0 to 5° of Scorpio8 of Swords
44Shax5 to 10° of Scorpio9 of Swords
45Vine10 to 15° of Scorpio10 of Swords
46Bifrons15 to 20° of Scorpio2 of Cups
47Uvall20 to 25° of Scorpio3 of Cups
48Haagenti25 to 30° of Scorpio4 of Cups
49Crocell0 to 5° of Sagittarius5 of Wands
50Furcas5 to 10° of Sagittarius6 of Wands
51Balam10 to 15° of Sagittarius7 of Wands
52Alloces15 to 20° of Sagittarius8 of Disks
53Camio20 to 25° of Sagittarius9 of Disks
54Murmur25 to 30° of Sagittarius10 of Disks
55Orobas0 to 5° of Capricorn2 of Swords
56Gremori5 to 10° of Capricorn3 of Swords
57Ose10 to 15° of Capricorn4 of Swords
58Amy15 to 20° of Capricorn5 of Cups
59Oriax20 to 25° of Capricorn6 of Cups
60Vapula25 to 30° of Capricorn7 of Cups
61Zagan0 to 5° of Aquarius8 of Wands
62Volac5 to 10° of Aquarius9 of Wands
63Andras10 to 15° of Aquarius10 of Wands
64Haures15 to 20° of Aquarius2 of Disks
65Andrealphus20 to 25° of Aquarius3 of Disks
66Cimejes25 to 30° of Aquarius4 of Disks
67Amdusias0 to 5° of Pisces5 of Swords
68Belial5 to 10° of Pisces6 of Swords
69Decarabia10 to 15° of Pisces7 of Swords
70Seere15 to 20° of Pisces8 of Cups
71Dantalion20 to 25° of Pisces9 of Cups
72Andromalius25 to 30° of Pisces10 of Cups

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