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.||Name||Quinances of Astrology||Tarot|
|1||Bael||0 to 5° of Aries||2 of Wands|
|2||Agares||5 to 10° of Aries||3 of Wands|
|3||Vassago||10 to 15° of Aries||4 of Wands|
|4||Gamigin||15 to 20° of Aries||5 of Disks|
|5||Marbas||20 to 25° of Aries||6 of Disks|
|6||Valefor||25 to 30° of Aries||7 of Disks|
|7||Amon||0 to 5° of Taurus||8 of Swords|
|8||Barbatos||5 to 10° of Taurus||9 of Swords|
|9||Paimon||10 to 15° of Taurus||10 of Swords|
|10||Buer||15 to 20° of Taurus||2 of Cups|
|11||Gusion||20 to 25° of Taurus||3 of Cups|
|12||Sitri||25 to 30° of Taurus||4 of Cups|
|13||Beleth||0 to 5° of Gemini||5 of Wands|
|14||Leraje||5 to 10° of Gemini||6 of Wands|
|15||Eligos||10 to 15° of Gemini||7 of Wands|
|16||Zepar||15 to 20° of Gemini||8 of Disks|
|17||Botis||20 to 25° of Gemini||9 of Disks|
|18||Bathin||25 to 30° of Gemini||10 of Disks|
|19||Sallos||0 to 5° of Cancer||2 of Swords|
|20||Purson||5 to 10° of Cancer||3 of Swords|
|21||Marax||10 to 15° of Cancer||4 of Swords|
|22||Ipos||15 to 20° of Cancer||5 of Cups|
|23||Aim||20 to 25° of Cancer||6 of Cups|
|24||Naberius||25 to 30° of Cancer||7 of Cups|
|25||Glasya-Labolas||0 to 5° of Leo||8 of Wands|
|26||Bune||5 to 10° of Leo||9 of Wands|
|27||Ronove||10 to 15° of Leo||10 of Wands|
|28||Berith||15 to 20° of Leo||2 of Disks|
|29||Astaroth||20 to 25° of Leo||3 of Disks|
|30||Forneus||25 to 30° of Leo||4 of Disks|
|31||Foras||0 to 5° of Virgo||5 of Swords|
|32||Asmoday||5 to 10° of Virgo||6 of Swords|
|33||Gaap||10 to 15° of Virgo||7 of Swords|
|34||Furfur||15 to 20° of Virgo||8 of Cups|
|35||Marchosias||20 to 25° of Virgo||9 of Cups|
|36||Stolas||25 to 30° of Virgo||10 of Cups|
|37||Phenex||0 to 5° of Libra||2 of Wands|
|38||Halphas||5 to 10° of Libra||3 of Wands|
|39||Malphas||10 to 15° of Libra||4 of Wands|
|40||Raum||15 to 20° of Libra||5 of Disks|
|41||Focalor||20 to 25° of Libra||6 of Disks|
|42||Vapar||25 to 30° of Libra||7 of Disks|
|43||Sabnock||0 to 5° of Scorpio||8 of Swords|
|44||Shax||5 to 10° of Scorpio||9 of Swords|
|45||Vine||10 to 15° of Scorpio||10 of Swords|
|46||Bifrons||15 to 20° of Scorpio||2 of Cups|
|47||Uvall||20 to 25° of Scorpio||3 of Cups|
|48||Haagenti||25 to 30° of Scorpio||4 of Cups|
|49||Crocell||0 to 5° of Sagittarius||5 of Wands|
|50||Furcas||5 to 10° of Sagittarius||6 of Wands|
|51||Balam||10 to 15° of Sagittarius||7 of Wands|
|52||Alloces||15 to 20° of Sagittarius||8 of Disks|
|53||Camio||20 to 25° of Sagittarius||9 of Disks|
|54||Murmur||25 to 30° of Sagittarius||10 of Disks|
|55||Orobas||0 to 5° of Capricorn||2 of Swords|
|56||Gremori||5 to 10° of Capricorn||3 of Swords|
|57||Ose||10 to 15° of Capricorn||4 of Swords|
|58||Amy||15 to 20° of Capricorn||5 of Cups|
|59||Oriax||20 to 25° of Capricorn||6 of Cups|
|60||Vapula||25 to 30° of Capricorn||7 of Cups|
|61||Zagan||0 to 5° of Aquarius||8 of Wands|
|62||Volac||5 to 10° of Aquarius||9 of Wands|
|63||Andras||10 to 15° of Aquarius||10 of Wands|
|64||Haures||15 to 20° of Aquarius||2 of Disks|
|65||Andrealphus||20 to 25° of Aquarius||3 of Disks|
|66||Cimejes||25 to 30° of Aquarius||4 of Disks|
|67||Amdusias||0 to 5° of Pisces||5 of Swords|
|68||Belial||5 to 10° of Pisces||6 of Swords|
|69||Decarabia||10 to 15° of Pisces||7 of Swords|
|70||Seere||15 to 20° of Pisces||8 of Cups|
|71||Dantalion||20 to 25° of Pisces||9 of Cups|
|72||Andromalius||25 to 30° of Pisces||10 of Cups|